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Are FreeSync TVs On The Way?

The Radeon Technologies group celebrated its one-year anniversary by hosting a conference call to tout its freshman accomplishments, including increased market share; strides in immersive computing and machine intelligence; and its investment in the GPU Open, DirectX 12, and Vulkan communities. However, after a mostly uneventful birthday party, the subject of FreeSync-capable TVs was briefly discussed, with company representatives all but confirming that the variable refresh rate technology would soon be making its way to the living room.

That raised the question: Are consoles about to get FreeSync?

FreeSync is an open-source variable refresh rate technology that matches the refresh rate of the GPU to the display, eliminating screen tearing and other artifacts, making the experience smoother at framerates that would otherwise be considered unenjoyable. The feature is particularly useful with less-powerful GPUs, and it's already available on over 100 different PC displays. However, the current FreeSync screens on the market aren’t sized to be the centerpiece of the living room.

When asked if the company was doing anything specific to get TV manufacturers interested in launching FreeSync-enabled TVs, Sr. Vice President and Chief Architect Raja Koduri gave a mixed-bag reaction that essentially confirms the existence and development of FreeSync TVs:

“We are definitely working with the entire display community on getting FreeSync to more places,” said Koduri, who seemed to hesitate before continuing. “I think this is something we should follow up...on what we can share at this point on FreeSync TVs.”

As the call shifted back to rank-and-file orders of business, our collective spider senses were tingling with the sensation that something big was just mistakenly revealed, so we followed up by reaching out to Radeon. The company has yet to respond.

If this slip of the tongue has any truth to it, FreeSync-enabled televisions could very well be on the way to market in the near future. The inclusion of the variable refresh rate technology in a display suited for the living room could cement AMD as the go-to company for gaming console GPUs, a market in which the company already holds the majority share. The visual benefits of FreeSync could reinvent the typical console experience with smoother gameplay, and it plays into the notion that consoles are quickly becoming more like their PC overlords.

  • radon_antila
    "Are consoles about to get FreeSync?"

    I wouldn't be surprised.

    With AMD locking down this console generation, next year's Xbox Scorpio (which is touted to be essentially a console with VR-ready gaming PC specs at a gaming PC price) would likely NEED a FreeSync TV in order to give both mainstream and VR console gamers the experience of gaming PC framerates their machines have otherwise been unable to achieve thus far.

    Now, while the market that awaits home-console VR (and thus, resolutions of 2K and up) might be small, there is a sizable population of console gamers that just want 1080p at 60fps, which is an experience an Xbox Scorpio paired with a FreeSync TV might actually be able to give them.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    Since FreeSync is nothing more than AMD's marketing name for "certified compatible" Adaptive Sync displays, I suspect that a growing number of display manufacturers will be skipping any mention of FreeSync or AMD from new displays to cut out licensing costs.

    With Adaptive Sync being standard in scalers intended for use with DP1.3 or newer, it won't be distinctive enough to be worth mentioning for much longer, especially on displays/TVs that aren't targeted specifically at gamers.
    Reply
  • patrick_102
    @INVALIDERROR what licensing costs inst freesync free thus the name.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    Since the average TV owner doesn't give a shit about framerate, I doubt it. Console users are only a small subset of all TV owners, and console users that understand or care about framerate are an even smaller subset of that.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    18595560 said:
    @INVALIDERROR what licensing costs inst freesync free thus the name.
    Adaptive Sync (the essential functional part of FreeSync) and DisplayPort are as 'free' as VESA membership is and that is the only thing display manufacturers need to implement.

    Those who want to use AMD's FreeSync brand have to put up with AMD's branding requirements on top of the regular VESA fees.

    Reply
  • rush21hit
    @everyone above:
    And then there's people like me that consider the thought of buying some big screen TV for occasional PC display if necessary or kinda want to or just because. And hoping for as cheap as it gets coz I'm a poorfag.
    Reply
  • none12345
    I just want adaptive sync to be standard in all monitors/tvs. I hate the gsync/freesync split that plagues the current market. Since freesync just uses the adaptive sync standard and it doesnt require another 100 worth of hardware, just use it already, drop gsync and be done with it.

    I really dont care if even gynsc becomes the standard, if nvidia makes it open, so we dont have to jack up the cost of monitors to use the tech. Or if they were to combine the best of gsync into the vesa standard adaptive sync, call it whatever, and just make that the standard.

    I just want a standard! And im looking at you nvidia, time to embrace the rest of the industry and stop trying to make adpative sync a cash cow.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    18596585 said:
    I just want adaptive sync to be standard in all monitors/tvs.
    It already is, as far as DP1.3 and above are concerned.

    With Nvidia commanding an ~80% market share in aftermarket GPUs with no shortage high-end enthusiast fans, it can afford to dictate what its customers can and cannot do.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    18596419 said:
    18595560 said:
    @INVALIDERROR what licensing costs inst freesync free thus the name.
    Adaptive Sync (the essential functional part of FreeSync) and DisplayPort are as 'free' as VESA membership is and that is the only thing display manufacturers need to implement.

    Those who want to use AMD's FreeSync brand have to put up with AMD's branding requirements on top of the regular VESA fees.
    AMD explicitly stated that there are no royalties or licensing costs associated with Freesync.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    18596738 said:
    AMD explicitly stated that there are no royalties or licensing costs associated with Freesync.
    On the hardware side, AMD has no authority to charge anything for Adaptive Sync since that is part of VESA's DP standard.

    On the marketing side, I doubt that use of the FreeSync brand is completely free of obligations, monetary or otherwise - otherwise there would be no point in confusing people with "FreeSync" instead of promoting the generic Adaptive Sync standard.
    Reply