As regular readers of my Forbes feed will know, the PlayStation Pro has been plagued with TV connection problems from launch. The issues have affected a wide range of TVs from multiple brands, and have ranged from people only getting a blank screen when connecting their PS4 Pro to their TV to the PS4 Pro refusing to correctly identify the capabilities of the TVs they’re connected to.
I’ve approached many of the affected brands for comment, and have already published responses from LG (here) and PlayStation (here). Now it’s the turn of Samsung and Vizio.
Let’s start with Samsung. Samsung’s engineers have informed me that they’ve tested the PS4 Pro and Uncharted 4 on pretty much all of their 2016 UHD/HDR TVs and suffered seemingly no problems - provided the HDMI input the PS4 Pro is connected to has had HDMI UHD Color switched on in the TV’s menus. (For more detail on this, check out this feature: PS4 Pro Not Working With Your TV? Here Are 8 Things To Try.)
The Samsung QA Labs I have been dealing with are based in the UK, so the model numbers they have sent to me as tested successfully are European ones. However, in the list below I’ve added in brackets the equivalent US model where possible:
KS9500 Europe (KS9800 US), KS9000 Europe (KS9500 US), KS8000 Europe (KS9000 US), KS7000 Europe (KS8000 US) and KU6500 Europe (which seems similar but not identical to the KU7500 in the US).
Samsung states in its response, too, that it tested the above-listed TVs using both the manually selectable 2160p RGB and 2160p YUV420 options now available in the PS4 Pro’s Video Output settings (in the Sound and Screen menu section) under the Resolution tab.
Playing Uncharted 4 with the Resolution set to 2160p RGB sees the game actually deliver a color format of YUV422, which you can confirm by checking the Video Output Information area under Video Output Settings on the PS4 Pro after you’ve booted Uncharted 4 up and it’s pushed the TV into HDR mode.
Play Uncharted 4 with 2160p YUV420 selected in the PS4 Pro’s Resolution menu and it runs at 2160p YUV420.
In the case of both these HDR output options, Samsung reports that the PS4 Pro correctly identified that its 2016 TVs were capable of supporting HDR at 2K or 4K, and that they were all capable of handling the crucial HDCP 2.2 anti-piracy protocols.
It occurs to me from this that if you have one of Samsung’s KS or KU 4K HDR TVs and you are having PS4 Pro connection issues, it may be worth trying manually selecting 2160p YUV420 in the PS4 Pro’s Resolution menu, rather than leaving it set to Automatic as it is by default.
Samsung has not, it seems, run tests on its 2015 SUHD models (which have JS in their names). Nor has it sent any clarification on the issue I’ve seen myself whereby if I run the PS4 Pro through a Samsung K950 sound bar, the PS4 Pro gets a different reading for the capabilities of my Ks9800 TV than it gets if I connect the console directly to my TV – even though the K950 HDMI passthrough is supposed to be completely neutral.
If any of you have KS, KU or JS models that are having issues with the PS4 Pro and you’ve already set HDMI UHD Color On for the correct TV HDMI and tried the manual Resolution output suggestion earlier, feel free to send me a note via my twitter feed at the bottom of this article and I’ll feed it back to Samsung.
Now for Vizio, where the news is rather less reassuring. Here’s the response in full:
“VIZIO SmartCast Home Theater Displays are compatible with UHD or HDR-enabled games and movies on PS4. For consumers with UHD-enabled VIZIO Internet Apps Plus TVs, PS4 requires the user choose the HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 input, which for most UHD-enabled VIZIO Internet Apps Plus TVs is input 5. From there, users should consult with Sony about how they can access PS4 “Safe Mode,” allowing them to adjust the video output to “yuv420” to match the TV’s capabilities.”
Let’s try and unpack exactly what this means. First, it shows undeniably that there is a technical issue to do with either some of Vizio’s TVs or the PS4 Pro. So the connection problems are not just down to a lack of knowledge on the part of the consumer, as Sony seemed to suggest in its rather terse official response on the issue reported here.
Second, it suggests that only some 2016 Vizio ranges are affected by the problem. The SmartCast Home Theater Displays that should work fine are the P Series, the M series (except, possibly, the M60-C3), and the E Series. The Internet Apps Plus models that may well have a problem are the ‘Reference’ RS series (oops), and the D Series.
For owners of potentially affected Vizio TVs, the situation as described by Vizio’s statement is far from ideal.
Having to make sure you’re using an HDCP2.2-compatible input isn’t too onerous (although it backs up my belief that the idea of only making one or two of a TV’s HDMIs fully compatible with HDCP2.2 and HDR is stupid and bound to cause unnecessary confusion).
Having to run your PS4 Pro in safe mode, though, is a faff that no end user should really find themselves having to do just because of the limitations of a particular range of TVs and/or issues with the PS4 Pro. Especially when Sony feels the need to accompany its description of how to run the PS4 Pro in Safe mode with these words:
“Some Safe Mode options could result in loss of data. We do not recommend using Safe Mode unless you are experiencing issues with your PS4 and one of our support articles has directed you to perform a step in Safe Mode.”
Anyway, if you’re still up for it, here’s how to put your PS4 Pro into Safe Mode:
1. Turn off the PlayStation 4 by pressing the power button on the front panel. The power indicator will blink for a few moments before turning off.
2. Once the PlayStation 4 is off, press and hold the power button. Release it after you’ve heard two beeps: one when you first press, and another seven seconds later.
3. Connect the DualShock 4 controller with the USB cable and press the PS button on the controller.
Once you’ve done all that you can select YUV420 as the console’s output, and hopefully all will now be well with your PS4 Pro and your Vizio TV.
It’s worth noting that you can now select 2160p YUV420 from the PS4 Pro’s Resolution menu when the console is running in normal mode, as mentioned in the Samsung section of this article. However, the Safe Mode solution should help out people who are currently just getting black screens from their PS4 Pros.
The big question Vizio’s response fails to answer is whether it’s working internally or with Sony to develop a more satisfactory firmware fix – to be rolled out either to Vizio TVs or to PS4 Pro consoles – that doesn’t require so much effort on the part of the end user. I asked Vizio for clarification on this when I received their initial response on Wednesday, but have heard nothing back yet. Naturally if I do hear more, I will update this story.
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PS4 Pro Connection Problems: Sony Responds – And You Probably Won’t Like It
PS4 Pro Not Working With Your TV? Here Are 8 Things To Try