Freesync over HDMI prototype running!

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Freesync over HDMI prototype running!

Postby RLBURNSIDE » 19 Oct 2015, 11:55

http://www.anandtech.com/show/9337/amd- ... putex-2015

AMD's demonstration and the big revelation from the company is that they now have a prototype implementation of FreeSync-over-HDMI up and running. Powered by an R9 200 series card (we'd wager 290X), AMD's demonstration involved running their windmill FreeSync demo against the prototype FreeSync-enabled HDMI monitor to showcase the viability of FreeSync-over-HDMI.

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Either AMD came to the conclusion that Freesync would be better off if it could work over HDMI which is what most electronics use, or they my constant prodding to AMD achieved something. Either way, this is great news, as it means that not only will Freesync eventually show up on gaming TVs and projectors, it could even be added to Xbox One and PS4 too, which would be BIG news for the game industry.

No more 30fps locked console games! (as long as they detect a compatible TV). This is awesome, from my perspective both as a dev and as a gamer too.
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Re: Freesync over HDMI prototype running!

Postby Glide » 19 Oct 2015, 16:40

This is FreeSync running over an HDMI cable.
It is not using the standard HDMI protocol to communicate with the display, so it's not likely to become a part of the HDMI spec the way that Adaptive-Sync is now a part of the DisplayPort spec, and both the source and receiver need to support this special FreeSync mode.

Since the consoles all have AMD GPUs in them, it's possible that they might be able to support this FreeSync-over-HDMI protocol, but without it being a part of the HDMI spec, I have my doubts that TV manufacturers would implement it.

I hope that they do though.
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Re: Freesync over HDMI prototype running!

Postby lexlazootin » 23 Oct 2015, 22:35

Omg, Consoles and tvs both having freesync would be amazing.
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Re: Freesync over HDMI prototype running!

Postby RLBURNSIDE » 27 Oct 2015, 07:25

Glide wrote:This is FreeSync running over an HDMI cable.
It is not using the standard HDMI protocol to communicate with the display, so it's not likely to become a part of the HDMI spec the way that Adaptive-Sync is now a part of the DisplayPort spec, and both the source and receiver need to support this special FreeSync mode.

Since the consoles all have AMD GPUs in them, it's possible that they might be able to support this FreeSync-over-HDMI protocol, but without it being a part of the HDMI spec, I have my doubts that TV manufacturers would implement it.

I hope that they do though.


I've been petitioning the HDMI standards body over at AVS forum, writing emails, talking to AMD engineers directly about it, and also petitioning the SuperMHL consortium about it.

My theory is that MHL is a much more likely target, being the current underdog-that's rapidly gaining support vs the underdog that seems to be going nowhere, like DisplayPort is. As much as I love the idea of DisplayPort, it's pretty clear that most TVs, AVRs, projectors, etc, are not going to bother adding DP 1.2a or 1.3 support for the foreseeable future, because everything is HDMI 2.0 for now.

But I see no reason the HDMI standard can't add support for this VRR protocol in HDMI 2.0c, then bring it back to HDMI 1.4c in the form of a firmware update.

As we've seen with NVidia Kepler, it's possible to send signals out of spec using software updates only. For example, did you know that 420 chroma subsampling wasn't supported in the HDMI spec until HDMI 2.0? Seriously, it's crazy. Bluray players had to upscale the 420 content to 422 (or 444 or RGB) just to send it over the wire, then the display upscales the chroma to 444 in a two-step process. Talk about ridiculous, right? Why not just send the raw encrypted 420 data over the HDMI cable instead of forcing that extra upscale step?

So NVidia, having some smart engineers there, decided, hey, we can easily send 420 chroma over HDMI 1.4 with a driver update, because, hey, why not, and it worked. Bam, suddenly support for 2160p / 60hz was possible on older hardware, albeit using 420 chroma compression which is fine if you're sitting a few feet away from your TV and playing an action game. It's not like most UHD TVs don't have lower than 1080p motion resolution anyway, right? So as soon as things are in motion, you literally can't benefit from UHD anyway until the camera stops again. Anyway, my point is, it's possible for HDMI to update their older standards officially, and I think the likelihood would go up if MHL / SuperMHL supports VRR / Adaptive Sync as well, because competition will force their hand. And AMD, having made the PS4 and Xbox One GPUs, told me those chips can support Freesync internally just have no current way to output it since the HDMI ports don't do it. However I could see a similar "hack" being applied as a proof of concept. In fact, I will ask AMD for the source code or if they've tried it on PS4.

Imagine buying an HDMI 2.0a compatible OLED TV or projector with VRR and support for 30-120hz at 2160p. That would be insane, right? I mean, don't forget, the official specs for HDMI 2.0 don't currently "allow" 120hz at 2160p, but it's well within the technical specifications of an 18gbps chip to allow 120hz using 420 chroma compression.

Or, even better, 30-96hz at 10-bit color depth including wide color gamut and HDR. That's entirely possible now, with commercially available hardware and AVRs. I will ask AMD what would happen to their HDMI / Freesync demo here if they put a non-VRR-aware AVR in the signal path between the videocard and the Freesync monitor, and what monitor they used, and what firmware they used.

If any hacked HDMI firmware is released into the wild to support VRR, I'm sure people will try it. And if it starts working, then it's a mad rush for gamers to buy those TVs or projectors that can be hacked.

Of course the ideal is if HDMI people just say "yeah, that's pretty awesome, let's go ahead and add it as an optional protocol". There's already plenty of precedent for HDMI presenting a list of optional features and the manufacturers implement whichever ones they want / can into their products. Like HDR, for instance.

I'll post more info here as becomes available.
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