While the PlayStation 5 features HDMI 2.1, Sony haven’t enabled some of the key gaming-oriented features that the enhanced standard offers, leaving the console playing a little bit of catch up when compared to the Xbox Series X.
Thankfully, Sony seem to be on the ball and have amended their ‘The Ultimate FAQ‘ article on the PS Blog to read:
PS5 hardware supports Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) through HDMI 2.1. After a future system software update, PS5 owners will be able to use the VRR feature of compatible TVs when playing games that support VRR.
That’s great for those who have picked up high-end TVs to go with their consoles. VRR is a technology that essentially lets the TV cede control over the timing of a screen refresh to the device, instead of sticking rigidly to 60Hz or 120Hz. This means that, should a game’s frame rate drop to around 50fps, the TV will simply wait and display each of those frames as and when it’s ready, instead of resulting in torn frames as part of the image is updated and other parts are not. This is particularly useful for games like Dirt 5 and DMC5 Special Edition that target 120Hz – another key part of the HDMI 2.1 spec – as the challenge of holding to a solid 120fps is much greater than 60fps.
The Xbox Series X is already able to use VRR for games, which helps effectively resolve some of the screentearing issues that have been resurgent across AC Valhalla, Dirt 5 and other games, but the PS5 is lagging behind at launch.
Even when VRR is possible on the console side of things, it will also have to have support from and for the TV or monitor. It sounds like Sony will only enable VRR over HDMI 2.1, while there’s many PC monitors and even some TVs out there that support VRR via Freesync or G-Sync. Xbox One X and Xbox Series X|S support VRR via Freesync on HDMI 2.0, meaning they can work with older screens. They also support 1440p, which the PS5 does not.
Additionally, there’s some HDMI 2.1 TVs that are having issues with VRR at the moment. LG acknowledged issues with some of their OLED TVs, the C9 and CX range, where the TV shifts the gamma of the display in VRR mode, leading to a washed out image and a kind of flickering. Then there’s Sony’s own TVs, such as the “PS5 Ready” X900H, which needed a software in October to enable some elements HDMI 2.1 feature set on its ports for 120Hz gaming, and is still waiting for VRR to be enabled.
Source: PS Blog