Sony's PlayStation 5 supports 4K120 via HDMI 2.1 at launch while VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) will be enabled with a future software update. Sony also acknowledged current 4K120 challenges.
PS5 VRR support
In an update to its official PlayStation 5 FAQ, Sony confirmed that HDMI 2.1 VRR will require a system software update that will be released later. The company did not provide a timeline.
- "PS5 hardware supports Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) through HDMI 2.1. After a future system software update, PS5 owners will be able to use the VRR feature of compatible TVs when playing games that support VRR," said Sony.
VRR, or Variable Refresh Rate, lets the TV/display synchronize its refresh rate in real-time to the frame rate output from the game console; for smoother, tear-free gameplay without judder and reduced input lag.
Sony's choice of wording may suggest that PS5 will only support VRR over HDMI 2.1. However, this is not confirmed. Microsoft's Xbox One X and Xbox Series X support VRR over both HDMI 2.1 (up to 4K120) and HDMI 2.0 (up to 4K60).
Also read: (Mis)understanding HDMI 2.1
Before great VRR comes 4K120 support. 4K120 output via HDMI 2.1 is already enabled on PlayStation 5 for PS5 games that support 120fps. PS4 games will not be able to take advantage of 120fps without the studio creating a full PS5 port of the PS4 game, according to game developers.
Sony will also enable 8K output over HDMI 2.1 with a future system update for PlayStation 5.
PS5's HDMI 2.1 is currently awaiting firmware updates to enable VRR and 8K HDMI modes
4K120 challenges with PS5
In the FAQ, Sony also acknowledged that some players may experience challenges with 4K120 from PS5. It pointed to factors such as intermediate devices (receivers/soundbars) and TV firmwares.
- "Sony Interactive Entertainment is working with TV companies to find and solve problems during this transition period, but for the time being, players may experience some issues with 4K 120Hz," said Sony.
Some early PS5 games with 120fps support have also been patched as they were forcing 4K TVs with 120fps support for 1080p only (over HDMI 2.0) to switch into 1080p120 rather than stay in 4K60.
Also read: List: 4K TVs and 8K TVs with HDMI 2.1
Currently, PS5 is outputting HDMI 2.1 signals in 32 Gbps mode. Future updates for PS5 that enable VRR and 8K output may change that. At this time, no amount of HDMI diagnostics will reveal the PS5 hardware's maximum capabilities.
Sony has publishing a 'PS5 4K 120Hz troubleshooting' document that we have included below in full form.
Sony: PS5 4K 120Hz troubleshooting
In Sony's own words:
If you encounter a situation where there is nothing displayed on your TV when the PS5 console is expected to be outputting a 4K 120Hz signal, or the signal is displayed as 1080p 120Hz, please consider the following:
- Does the TV claim to support 4K 120Hz?
- Is the TV using its latest firmware?
- Are you using the cable included with the PS5 console or an Ultra High-Speed Cable that is rated for 4K 120Hz output?
- Is the PS5 console directly connected to the TV by HDMI, or to a receiver or other piece of intermediary equipment that could be affecting the signal?
- Is the PS5 console connected to an appropriate HDMI port (2.1) on the TV? Check the TV manual for more information. HDMI 2.1 support may require that you change settings via the TV.
- Is the PS5 Screen and Video > Video Output > Resolution set to Auto or 2160p?
- Is the PS5 Screen and Video > Video Output > 4K Video Transfer Rate set to Auto?