The latest firmware enables the promised FreeSync feature on Samsung’s 2018 “QLED” LCD TVs as well as the NU8 models. Together with a PC, Xbox One S or Xbox One X, this will allow for smoother gaming.
For smoother gaming
As reported by FlatpanelsHD earlier, Samsung will this year offer support for adaptive frame rate systems in its TVs. The firmware update (version 1103.4) to enable FreeSync over HDMI is now rolling up out in the US to the Q9FN, Q8FN, Q7FN, Q7CN, Q6FN, and NU8000 TV ranges. The firmware is not yet available in Europe – we are chasing details.
Adaptive frame rate systems such as FreeSync ensure that the graphics card and screen remain in perfect synchronization in real time for smoother gaming without tearing artefacts. It also reduces input lag; in Samsung’s case to “less than 7 ms”, according to details provided to FlatpanelsHD in April.
The FreeSync option has been added to the TV’s game mode menu and allows users to set the range to either ‘Ultimate’ (48-120Hz) or ‘Basic’ (90-120Hz), according to Digitaltrends.
Samsung has yet to officially announce the update but has promised to also make the same 2018 TVs compatible with HDMI VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), which is part of the HDMI 2.1 specification. Certain HDMI 2.1 features can be added to HDMI 2.0 devices such as Samsung’s 2018 TVs. It is not clear whether this update also enables HDMI VRR.
To enjoy the benefits of FreeSync, your PC or game console must also support it. Currently, FreeSync is supported by newer AMD graphics cards as well as Xbox One S and One X. Sony’s PlayStation does not support FreeSync
Resolution & brightness limitations
As FlatpanelsHD reported in April, Samsung’s implementation in the 2018 TVs is limited to Full HD (1080p) resolution and a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz.
In addition, Samsung is warning users that enabling FreeSync mode can affect brightness due to frequency variation, according to the report by Digitaltrends.
This is an important first step for adaptive frame rate technology in TVs but these limitations mean that you may want to wait a bit longer. As soon as true HDMI 2.1 enabled TVs become available on the market (likely in late 2018 or 2019), we should start seeing support for 4K resolution, improved compatibility, and more.