They’re smart AF, and Nvidia’s monstrous BFGD monitors are a BFD

Nvidia BFGD
Matt Smith/Digital Trends
What if the TV tuner was removed from your television? Technically, it would no longer be a TV. But would you notice? Even if you did notice, would you care?

Probably not. Millions of people have cut the cord from their cable service, instead relying on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video for entertainment. Game consoles have also stepped into the void left by old-fashioned, scheduled programming. There are more gamers than ever, playing longer than ever.

In short, the way people use televisions has changed. Maybe it’s time for the TV too change, too. Nvidia’s Big Format G-Sync Displays (BFGD), which debuted on the show floor at CES 2018, show one possible future for the TV, a future that focuses on gaming, streaming video, and smooth delivery of any content thrown at it.

Just don’t call it a monitor

It would be tempting to dismiss the BFGDs as 65-inch monitors. They’re designed to connect over DisplayPort 1.4, instead of HDMI (though HDMI is present for audio), and the early marketing positions them as the ultimate accessory for a PC-gaming den.

That sells the BFGDs short. Yeah, they’re targeting the PC, but they also have an Nvidia Shield built in. The Shield, if you’re not familiar, is a cross between a Roku and a bare-bones Android game console. It can handle all the online streaming apps you’d expect from an entertainment box, as well as play games – both Android titles, and games available through Nvidia’s GeForce Now subscription streaming service.

Think of it as a smart TV without a TV tuner. A very smart TV. It’s not embroiled in any stupid competition between streaming services’ corporate overlords. It can play popular games without any additional hardware. And it’ll receive all the same updates as the Shield console, which should mean a steady stream of new features over the years.

A different approach to image quality

The smart features that’ll come bundled in every BFGD are far more modern than the hodgepodge interfaces that ship with many televisions, but that’s less than half of what makes them great. The real secret sauce can be found in the BFGDs’ radically different approach to image quality.

Think of it as a smart TV without a TV tuner. A very smart TV.

A typical, top-tier television from LG, Samsung, or Vizio is built to deliver maximum visual punch. It seeks to maximize contrast, serve a wide color gamut, and minimize artifacts. The results are undeniably spectacular, but there’s a downside. Modern televisions have high latency and confusing image quality settings, and can suffer unusual frame pacing problems when they’re not fed ideal content.

BFGDs are different. They do have HDR, 4K resolution and, according to Nvidia, are built with a panel that uses a technique similar to Samsung’s Quantum Dots. Yet they’re also fast and fluid. Every BFGD will offer at least a 120Hz refresh rate. Latency numbers aren’t being quoted yet, but Nvidia told us that even 16 milliseconds would be considered “really quite high.” LG and Samsung’s best displays can’t dip below 20 milliseconds, even when turned to game mode.

Then there’s Nvidia’s not-so-secret weapon: G-Sync. It synchronizes the refresh rate of a BFGD with the input framerate of whatever G-Sync-capable device it’s connected to, including the built-in Shield. That synchronization can occur with any content, including video. It doesn’t matter if a video was shot at 24, 60, 120, or 29.997 frames per second – it will always display smoothly, without any added stutter or lag caused by the display.

BFGDs could be a BFD

Acer, Asus, and HP are lined up to build the first BFGDs, all of them 65-inchers using the same panel. I doubt they’ll sell anywhere near the volume of modern televisions. At least, not at first. But if Nvidia and its partners can deliver on the BFGD’s promise, it won’t just be PC gamers who take notice.

You can expect to see the first BFGDs in the second half of 2018. Pricing hasn’t been announced.

News

LG’s SnowWhite is a Keurig for lovers of homemade ice cream

LG's SnowWhite conceptual countertop appliance, on display at this year's South by Southwest, is like a Keurig machine for ice cream lovers that produces your favorite frozen desserts from nothing but a little pod.
Computing

Here are the best affordable monitors for your budget desktop

Looking for the best budget monitors? These monitors are affordable, but still provide the features you need for gaming, work, home or other plans! Take a look at the displays and your wallet will thank you.
Mobile

Sony's Xperia 10 smartphone boasts a 6-inch screen and is now available

Sony took the wraps off of three new phones at Mobile World Congress 2019, including the new Xperia 1, which is the company's new flagship phone and the first with a 4K OLED display with a 21:9 aspect ratio.
Computing

Need more from your conference white board? The Surface Hub 2 should have it

The Surface Hub 2 could be the most expensive whiteboard ever made, but it should be a powerful and capable one. With the ability to connect several of the 50-inch displays together, the picture at least, should be gorgeous.
Computing

Intel Command Center lays foundation for next year’s ‘Arctic Sound’ GPU

Intel revealed its new Command Center driver software at GDC 2019. The updated interface will control current Intel integrated graphics and also lays the groundwork for next year's Intel video card.
Web

How much!? British Airways glitch results in $4.2M quote for family vacation

Website errors sometimes cause flight prices to display at way below the correct price. But British Airways recently experienced the opposite issue when it tried to charge a family more than $4 million for a vacation in Mexico.
Product Review

Acer Predator Triton 500 review

Nvidia’s new RTX 2080 Max-Q is the fastest GPU you’ll find in any laptop, but it usually comes at a steep price. Acer’s Predator Triton 500, starting at $2,500, makes it a little more affordable. But what must you sacrifice in the…
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Computing

G-Sync and FreeSync can make your games look better, but which is best?

There are some subtle differences between the two adaptive refresh technology offerings, and they affect cost, performance, and compatibility. Nvidia may have released it's feature first, but in recent years AMD has stepped up to the plate…
Computing

Problems with installing or updating Windows 10? Here's how to fix them

Upgrading to the newest version of Windows 10 is usually a breeze, but sometimes you run into issues. Never fear though. Our guide will help you isolate the issue at hand and solve it in a timely manner.
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Computing

Get the Surface Pro 6, with keyboard included, for $1,000 at Microsoft

Thinking of buying a Surface Pro 6? Microsoft is currently running a deal on its latest Windows 2-in-1, letting you bring one home for $1,000 with the keyboard included in the price.
Computing

T-Mobile goes after big cable companies, pilots wireless home internet service

In a shot at big cable companies, T-Mobile is launching a new pilot program to bring an unlimited wireless LTE home internet service to up to 50,000 homes across the United States by the end of 2019.
Mobile

Type away on the best iPad keyboard cases, from the Mini to the Pro

Whether you're looking to replace your laptop with a tablet or merely want to increase your typing speed, a physical iPad keyboard is the perfect companion to the iPad. Check out our top picks for every available iPad model.