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.