The BFGD, or Big Format Gaming Display (whatever your wicked first interpretations might be), was Nvidia’s star for PC gamers’ eyes at CES 2018. Huge panels supporting G-Sync and 4K HDR, the BFGDs were to be the ultimate gaming screens for the lottery winners and idle-rich esport-sters of the world. We had been waiting for them all through ’18, and it looks like the first of ’em will drop with the turn of the calendar: HP’s first out of the gate with this brute, equipped with a gigantic soundbar to boot. Let’s take a look.
Meet the HP Omen Emperium 65 Display
This monster, ahem, “monitor” (the screen measures 64.5 inches on the diagonal) checks all of the circa-2019 premium features for a gaming display of any size: 4K native resolution (that’s 3,840 by 2,160 pixels), HDR support, G-Sync adaptive sync (to reduce tearing and artifacts when used with an Nvidia GeForce video card), and a high-end refresh rate (up to 144Hz, overclocked). Given the 65-inch-class screen, in the same league as top-size HDTVs, you’re looking at a replacement for a living room TV or the centerpiece for a den or gaming cave.
Indeed, the sheer bulk of this thing takes on almost any den-size panel you’d find at your local Best Buy or Fry’s. HP says it will list for $ 4,999 and be on the market in February. That’s a far cry from a basic 65-inch-class HDTV, but it will include a few bonuses that will please gamers, streamers, and basically anyone with eyes.
A Great Big Soundbar
For one, you get a custom-designed soundbar that fits just right under the panel. It is rated for 120 watts, packs three amps, and sounded great in our brief initial ears-on time with the unit at a pre-CES demo. The TV’s audio system can shift between gaming- and entertainment-optimized modes.
What’s nice: The bar shares the same angles and Omen design, complementing the panel right out of the box. No soundbar-to-TV mix-and-match necessary.
A Special-Purpose Remote
That doesn’t look like the remote you’ll get with most HDTVs. This one’s directional pad, voice-input activation button, and little else indicate that this is not designed for channel surfing first and foremost. It’s a Shield Remote, and HP will be bundling it with the Emperium 65 for a limited time.
The Shield's the Thing…
What it’s for: controlling the integrated Nvidia Shield tech. Instead of attaching a separate Shield console, it’s all inside, in the same style as the Roku guts in a Roku HDTV. You can use the Shield as a front end for accessing services like Netflix and Hulu (in glorious 4K, and with HDR), as well as playing Shield games online through the related store. You’ll also be able to use the Shield’s long-running game-streaming functionality to push a gaming experience “casted” from a PC that may be located elsewhere in the house (or in the cloud), should you want to do that.
The Emperium Rear View
HP notes that the Emperium is VESA-mountable, and it features mood lighting around the rim you see here.
The panel itself is rated for up to 1,000 nits of peak luminance and 95 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut. The gray-to-gray response time is rated for 4ms. The offside viewing angles, as you’d expect from any panel of this size, were great. It’s a VA panel (technically, AMVA, for Advance VA) with an antiglare surfacing that worked well in the demo space we observed it in.
Ports on the Right Side…
USB ports on this side allow for charging and device connectivity. The manual controls for the onscreen display (OSD) menus comprise the directional joystick that you see here at the bottom, outlined in a red ring, along with a quartet of programmable OSD function buttons.
…and on the Left
This port panel has a neat trick: If you wave a hand nearby, it lights up the port area temporarily. That way, you can plug in game-console cables and the like in the murk of your den without holding a flashlight in your teeth. For video input, the Emperium 65 has three HDMI 2.0 ports and a DisplayPort. For the audio connections, you get a line-out, as well as optical S/PDIF and an HDMI ARC-compatible port.
Stay tuned for a full review of the Emperium 65 in the coming months. We can’t wait to get more time in with this screen.
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