Variable Refresh Rate Displays Have a New Open Standard

Two, actually, with one focused on media and the other on gaming

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has revealed a pair of new public standards for the performance of Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) displays.

A lot of displays support VRR, which is primarily used to deter unwanted visual issues like flickering or creating what looks like tears on the screen. It's a fairly common feature these days, but up until now, it hasn't had an industry-standard number to aim for—unlike, say, screen resolutions. What VESA is doing is providing that standard by way of a series of tests it's calling "Adaptive-Sync Display Compliance Test Specification" (Adaptive-Sync Display CTS).

A girl laying down on a living room carpet and playing an online video game on a laptop computer while communicating using a headset with microphone

Marcus Lindstrom / Getty Images

More precisely, VESA has two different standards for display manufacturers to use going forward: one that focuses on media and one for video games. And it's created special logos for each, with the idea that consumers can look at a box to figure out the VRR rating and how it fits the new standards more easily.

The emphasis is being placed on higher refresh rates and lower latency for video games, while the media playback tests look for an absence of screen flickering and jittering.

VESA's new Adaptive-Sync logos

Video Electronics Standards Association

Ratings for video games will use the "VESA Certified AdaptiveSync Display" logo and a numerical value for the maximum Adaptive-Sync frame rate (144, 360, etc.). Conversely, the "VESA Certified MediaSync Display" logo doesn't include numbers since its sole focus is to indicate a lack of visual anomalies. In either case, the goal is for you to be able to look at a box and know the VRR display inside won't distort your picture and/or what its maximum frame rate will be with Adaptive-Sync.

VESA's new VRR standards are available now for all electronics companies that manufacture applicable hardware to utilize. That being said, it might be a little while before you see the new logos on everything, as companies have to submit their products for testing in order to use them.

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