Nvidia's Big Format Gaming Displays (henceforth BFGDs) proved to be among the biggest news for PC gamers at CES, both figuratively and literally. I got to see both HP and Asus' takes on the idea while bouncing among the various booths and press events at the show, and from my limited time with both companies' products, I think Nvidia and its partners are primed to succeed in their mission to push high-refresh-rate and variable-refresh-rate gaming out of the bedroom or basement and onto the biggest screen in the house.
HP's Omen BFGD
What's most disarming about and perhaps the greatest success of BFGDs is that they look and feel exactly like the high-refresh-rate G-Sync monitors we know and love, just scaled up. Once I got my hands on the controls, running around in Destiny 2 felt just as responsive and fluid as it does on the gaming monitors we have in the TR labs. Folks who have battled smeary LCDs with high input lag for HTPC gaming in the living room will be smitten with BFGDs, and the benefits of high-refresh-rate panels and low input lag should be evident even with consoles, too.
Asus' ROG BFGD
Because of the trade-show surroundings, neither the Asus nor the HP displays I got to examine were set up in an optimal environment. The mouse and keyboard available for both demos was just inches away from the screen itself, and I probably could have counted pixels on the BFGDs had I squinted. That's not a great way to behold a 65" display, and I'd really have to use one in a living room before passing full judgment on the BFGD idea. Both of the screens I looked at were pre-production models, but even so, folks hoping for OLED-like slimness from these screens should temper their expectations on that front, too. Both BFGDs were quite thick front to back, although both had thin bezels that shouldn't distract in a typical living-room environment.
Whether living-room gamers will bite on the BFGD concept ultimately depends on the prices Acer, Asus, and HP slap on their screens. Nobody was talking numbers at CES, but none of my fellow media expected these screens to land anywhere near the price of even a premium LCD or OLED TV of similar size when we threw out our guesses. We'll have to see how those forecasts play out when BFGDs land on the market later this year. For the pickiest living-room gamers, it may not be easy to go home without a BFGD at any price once they've laid eyes on one of these beastly screens—and that may be the entire point.