Those massive, fully loaded Nvidia G-Sync HDR “BFG” displays might be mostly missing in action—HP’s $5,000 Omen X Emperium aside—but that doesn’t mean the dream of silky-smooth living room gaming is dead. On Tuesday, LG announced that it’s adding Nvidia’s G-Sync Compatible technology to five of its 2019 OLED televisions.
LG’s 55- and 65-inch E9 televisions will get the capability, as well as the 55-, 65-, and 77-inch C9 series. The exact rollout date is unclear, with LG simply saying that the firmware update “will become available in select markets via a firmware upgrade in the weeks to follow.”
Note that LG’s OLED TVs will be “G-Sync Compatible,” which doesn’t mean they’re magically going to become proper G-Sync panels after receiving the new firmware. True G-Sync panels include dedicated hardware designed by Nvidia to optimize the core adaptive sync experience. Non-G-Sync displays lack those modules but can tap the VESA adaptive sync standard (or AMD’s FreeSync) to support variable refresh rates without the full suite of G-Sync features. “G-Sync Compatible” is Nvidia’s marketing term for adaptive sync panels that it’s validated to meet a minimal level of quality.
Of the 400 FreeSync monitors tested during Nvidia’s initial validation run, only 12 met the company’s quality standards, though the G-Sync Compatible ranks have been swelling ever since. And now, it’s coming to televisions.
Transforming OLED TVs into smooth gaming displays requires different technology than you’ll find in BFG displays like the Omen X Emperium. While the 65-inch BFGs may look like TVs, they’re essentially just big-ass G-Sync HDR monitors, meaning that they include a crucial DisplayPort to power adaptive sync visuals. Televisions don’t pack DisplayPorts very often though, including these LG models. To coax adaptive sync into working on TVs, Nvidia has added support for HDMI Variable Refresh Rate to its GeForce RTX 20-series graphics cards—a feature invented by AMD and previously limited to Radeon GPUs.
So you’ll need a cutting-edge 2019 LG OLED TV and a cutting-edge GeForce RTX 20-series GPU to achieve buttery-smooth, tearing-free PC gaming on a television today, but if you can check those boxes, LG luxurious sets should provide an outstanding gaming experience. You’ll probably want to pair it with a power GeForce RTX 2080 Super or RTX 2080 Ti if you want to push fine frame rates on LG’s 4K screens, however.
If you don’t meet those requirements, you can always pick up the Omen X Emperium right now, or if wait until September 30 to pick up Dell’s 55-inch Alienware OLED display, which (like the Omen) runs well north of 100Hz despite its beefy 4K resolution.
Between LG’s TVs activating G-Sync Compatibility and the sudden explosion of TV-sized gaming monitors, couch PC gaming is picking up serious steam—but fingers crossed that Nvidia’s G-Sync Compatible technology comes to more modestly priced screens sooner rather than later.