Insomniac Games pulled quite a interesting move for those that can output 120hz to their display from a PS5. Recently for Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, they enabled a “Fidelity” (no FX, no FSR. In fact Insomniac already beat Intel with a better proprietary XeSS implementation than what Intel is currently working on.) 40fps mode for 120hz displays.
I’m like… wait a second… This is awfully close to The Hobbit’s 48fps.
Guess what’s the same ratio just at 144hz? 48fps.
48fps may be HATED by cinema snobs, but it would be a gamechanger in the console gaming industry.
Unfortunately, to reach 144hz at 4K, the consoles need DisplayPort. Full size DisplayPort is something the consoles would never implement, but guess what? USB-C supports DP alt mode.
Bingo. This could give us 4K 144hz DSC with DP 1.4 over USB-C. As a bonus, this could open up VR headset support for consoles too.
Licensing be damned, this is the most plausible way I see it ever being implemented.
I can tell the difference between 40 and 48fps. It is pretty noticeable that the 48fps mode would get you most of the way there to smooth motion like 60fps. (which is why The Hobbit moviegoers hated it, but it totally makes sense for gaming.) 40fps is a compromise at the low end of some Freesync/adaptive sync thresholds, but also because of the 120hz limit.
So, what’s stopping them?
psst, it’s a little cable called HDMI
Edit: Oh, another potential way the current consoles can do this over HDMI is if the consoles output 4K at 96hz. 96 is 4x 24 and 2x 48.
This is a custom resolution though if set at a max of 96hz and it would require a converter to DP 1.4 to make it Freesync over DP at 144hz max refresh in the EDID instead run at a fixed 96hz in it’s timings.
TVs would have to firmware update to support the new mode (if the timing was a maximum of 96hz) and thus you see why nobody wants to go through this hassle. It’s better if it’s raw DP protocol, then better HDMI 2.1 DSC supporting chips can be used in DP to HDMI converters.
Given R&D time, I doubt there are DP to HDMI 2.1 DSC capable converter chips yet for the PS5 Pro and “Next Scarlett”. USB-C would be native DisplayPort anyways and would require a converter, but this offloads the HDMI conversion task to third parties. Given how many RDNA 2 features didn’t make the cut on the PS5, it may be a safer bet to just go USB-C in DP alt mode.
Using VRR to bring down 120hz maximum to 96hz VRR using a frame rate cap is less consistent than using 144hz or 96hz fixed refresh with Vsync at 48fps, and VRR defeats the point if the framerate wildly varies. You can see why Insomniac went fixed refresh instead of VRR for exactly this reason.