I’m glad to announce that the next version of firmware has passed its required testing and will be made available on our website soon. It is an excellent time to recap our team’s progress on firmware and shed some light on the behind-the-scenes testing as well as our plans for the future.
Each firmware build we release to our customers needs to pack the correct changes and be safe to update. Therefore, we have four-phase testing in place for meeting this goal.
- Through internal checks by our team, we validate that the release candidate (RC) firmware correctly delivers on our intent ranging from new features to localization of the on-screen display (OSD).
- The quality and reliability engineering (QRE) testing puts updated monitors through prolonged use to verify that the changes in this update are persistent and do not introduce unexpected behaviors.
- Cross-check from electrical engineers verifies the integrity of changes typically unreachable by internal and QRE tests, such as those made to the extended display identification data (EDID),
- The printed circuit board (PCB) factory green-lights the RC firmware to be suitable for deployment in the continuation of mass production.
While the RC firmware is in testing, we shift our focus to changes of the next version to efficiently use our resources.
Since the mass production commenced, we have been hard at work on the firmware front and added new crosshair styles and colors with the previous release. Today, we are ready to bring two more new features to ES07D03 with version 104.
When it comes to user-defined backlight strobing, we previously opened up adjustment of the pulse width to allow a flexible trade-off between brightness and motion clarity. 104 takes it to the next level by unlocking the full-range adjustment of the pulse phase and overdrive gain. Although our presets are excellent for typical use cases, panel variation and room condition may affect the strobing experience of the discerning eyes. Strobing experts among our customers can customize the strobing experience of their ES07D03 to perfection with these additional settings.
104 brings the ability to rotate the OSD in 90 degrees intervals. We made sure to map the joystick direction accordingly to make OSD adjustment a piece of cake in portrait and flipped landscape positions.
Aside from the new features, we made smoother the experience of some ES07D03 use cases.
We collaborated with the Xbox team to enable global HDR calibration on Xbox Series X|S by default. YCbCr 4:2:0 format over HDMI is the choice for Microsoft’s latest consoles in HDR by default because it has the best compatibility among monitors and TVs. By adding YCbCr 4:2:0 support in 4K at 60Hz and 120Hz, 104 improved the default HDR experience of ES07D03 on these devices. Regardless, we recommend checking Allow YCC 4:2:2 under General Video modes in the settings of the Xbox to allow Spectrum to take advantage of the additional chroma information.
104 removed the HDR high-frequency noise. Alternating adjacent light tube behavior in HDR results in a reduction of the current load on the PCB, which eliminates the high-frequency noise.
Click (tap) here to view the rest of improvements and fixes.
- (Improved) Faster signal display for PCs and laptops thanks to the faster high-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP) support status detection. It does not apply to consoles because they utilize HDCP, unlike PCs which only detect the support status.
- (Fixed) Turn on HDR in Xbox Series X|S may trigger a screen black-out. The symptom is that although both the Xbox and monitor can pass through the signal correctly, a completely black screen hides both the image and the OSD menu.
- (Fixed) Backlight may behave abnormally after exiting HDR mode in Xbox Series X|S.
- (Fixed) Switching from 4K to FHD in Xbox Series X|S may not work.
- (Fixed) Nvidia RTX 3090 and 3060 image blinks when toggling HDR On/Off in Windows Settings.
- (Fixed) Nvidia RTX 3090 may not work when 24, 25, or 30Hz is selected in 4K.
- (Fixed) Low-latency mode status not being reset when load factory defaults.
- (Fixed) 640 × 480 DisplayPort monitor scaling does not work.
- (Fixed) Pop noise in the 3.5mm headphone jack when turning off the monitor via the power button.
Since we initiated the Spectrum Community Lounge, there have been many great discussions about firmware improvements. A couple of recent examples include automatic off mode and color-coded crosshair customization. The user-upgradeable firmware allows us to continue seeking meaningful changes that make ES07D03 even better. That being said, sometimes, the scaler hardware supports limited functionality when compared with the unlimited brainpower of the team and community. In those cases, certain discussed features will not be possible for ES07D03, such as HDR hardware brightness adjustment and non-upscaled OSD menu. However, these good ideas will not simply go off the table. When we kick off a new monitor project, they’ll be considered the initial requirement for evaluation besides the existing ES07D03 functions.
We will continue to look into your feedback in conjunction with the new features we’ve planned. Some most exciting features involve continuing working with @BlurBusters to improve high-speed performance, a split-screen mode that displays video from two sources at the same time, and Type-C display stream compression that allows the bottom Type-C port to take full advantage of ES07D03 without chroma subsampling. Together, let’s push Spectrum’s premium experience even further!