Samsung and LG have embraced cloud gaming this winter with support for Google Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce Now in their television sets — but neither brand of TV will include Nvidia’s best quality streams for now. Nvidia cloud gaming boss Phil Eisler confirmed to The Verge that TVs will start at 1080p, and it sounds like the company’s 4K HDR streams will stay exclusive to the company’s own Nvidia Shield TV set-top through the first half of 2022.
But afterward, that may change — depending on your TV’s processor.
“The TVs use many different SOCs with different performance levels capable of decoding our streams at 60 FPS, so we’re focused on 1080p first,” Eisler explains. “We’ve rolled that out with LG first in December and with Samsung models in the first half of 2022, and will increase resolutions in the second half of 2022 as we continue to optimize for those decoding applications,” he adds.
Google confirmed to The Verge yesterday that its own Stadia cloud gaming service will offer 4K streams on both LG and Samsung TVs (Samsung had not previously made that clear), though it’s probably good to note that Stadia’s definition of “4K” has been a little bit suspect ever since the service launched. It often refers to the resolution of Stadia’s stream itself, rather than the internal render resolution of its games. The “4K” version of Destiny 2 on Stadia is actually upsampled 1080p, for example. GeForce Now has had its own weaknesses, though, as I explained in my hands-on with Nvidia’s RTX 3080 tier.
During Nvidia’s CES 2022 press conference today, it said that cloud gaming in general is expected to grow to 100 million subscribers by 2024 and announced that AT&T 5G customers can get a free six-month membership of its GeForce Now “Priority” tier. That’s the 1080p one that runs on the cloud equivalent of RTX 2080 (not 3080) video cards.