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Xbox will soon get a VRR match function

29 Sep 2022 | Rasmus Larsen |

The new match function can keep VRR engaged for games but off for video playback to avoid raised blacks on zone dimming LCD TVs and keep more of your TV's picture systems active.

VRR, or variable refresh rate, lets you enjoy tear-free gaming with smoother motion and lower input lag. However, VRR can compromise other aspects of picture quality on TVs, such as black levels, contrast and image stability, as it prevents the display from doing much picture processing. VRR also prevents many picture enhancement systems in TVs from working.

Since adding VRR in 2018, Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles have offered it as a crude on/off system switch that does not take into account whether the content actually benefits from being rendered in VRR mode. Microsoft has now acknowledged the situation with a VRR match function, currently in beta.

- "Xbox Insiders in Alpha Skip Ahead and Alpha we enabled a new feature for the builds you have from yesterday - just reboot - VRR for gaming!," said Brad Rossetti, Xbox Insider Program Lead. "You can now specify when Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) is enabled by choosing between Always On, Gaming Only, or Off."

Unlike Sony's more adaptive approach to VRR in PlayStation 5, Xbox's VRR match function set to 'Gaming Only' still forces VRR in all games regardless of whether the game has an unlocked frame rate or not, but it remains off for video playback, system menus, and other applications.

VRR can theoretically also be useful for video playback to match the video's frame rate and for this purpose the HDMI organization has developed HDMI 2.1 QMS (Quick Media Switching) as a sub-function under VRR. At this time, no TVs support QMS.

The VRR match function can for beta testers be found under Settings –> TV & Display, and is expected to roll out to all compatible Xbox consoles later.

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