Before you buy a brand new TV, it’s important that you properly assess what you’re going to be predominately using it for. If you’re mostly going to be using this brand new screen to game, your needs will be a little different than if you’re just buying one to watch TV or movies with.
It goes without saying that picking up a new television can be a big investment. Before you drop a few hundred or thousands of dollars on a fancy new screen, you need to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need. There are a few specific features that should be at the top of your checklist. With the new generation of consoles here, you’ll definitely want something that can match their graphical hardware.
Here’s what you need to consider before picking up a new gaming TV, along with a few suggestions.
This article has been updated since its original publication.
What you need to know
- Low latency: The speed at which a TV can render images is far more important for games than it is for regular video delivery. Most TVs that sell themselves as “gaming” TVs will already have low latency as a key feature, but for many others it’s a more mixed matter. Look for a TV that offers 30ms of latency or lower.
- High refresh rates: As a gamer, you’re probably already across this, and if you’ve used any 120Hz or greater TV for gaming you’ll appreciate how much of a benefit those higher refresh rates are. There’s a tradeoff here for many TVs – and especially most OLEDs to date – between visual fidelity and refresh rates that you’ll have to juggle depending on your gaming styles of choice and preference. However, if you own a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S, it makes sense to make the most of its capabilities both now and into the future.
- HDMI 2.1: Want to make the most out of Sony and Microsoft’s new consoles? Then look for a TV with support for HDMI 2.1. It’s the current latest revision of the HDMI specification, with support for resolutions up to 8K, 120Hz and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) – which is of course a bit of a must for any gamer worth their salt. Not every HDMI 2.1 TV will support every gaming-centric feature, but it’s a good place to start. So far, not every TV in the local market are HDMI 2.1-ready. So what happens if you do end up with a TV lacking HDMI 2.1? It’s largely a question of lower scale feature sets due to the lower bandwidth of the older HDMI standards. So for example, while HDMI 2.0b can handle 4K, it can’t push data fast enough to manage it above 60fps. If you can afford an HDMI 2.1-ready TV, though, you’re going to be set for some time to come.
- Connector options: Chances are pretty good that you won’t only be connecting up your shiny new games console to your TV unless you live alone, and even then it’s a good idea to get a TV with multiple HDMI inputs, support for standards such as eARC and even possibly some older connectors depending on what else you might want to plug into it in the future.
- Game Mode: Having a TV with Game Mode enabled is a huge game-changer, especially if you play a lot of fast-paced games. This feature will make it so your TV is using the lowest possible latency, giving you smooth, lag-free images. Just make sure it’s actually turned on, as not every TV will automatically activate it.
Our recommended gaming TVs
Mini-LED is an emerging tech in the TV space, but one you should definitely be looking out for. The TCL X925 TV is Google-powered, with HDR 10+-enhanced colour, contrast and clarity, resulting in some fantastic picture quality.
Thanks to its HDMI 2.1-enable Auto Low Latency Mode, along with its Variable Refresh Rate feature (VRR) – which can reach refresh rates of up to 120Hz – this TV will help enhance your gaming sessions with buttery smooth on-screen motion. Unlike OLED TVs, you won’t have to worry about picture burn-in with a mini-LED, which gives this TCL TV a longer shelf life.
If you’re looking to pick up an OLED TV, prepare your wallet because they don’t come cheap. While the LG C1 has a premium price tag, its cinema-quality picture is well worth the money. It’s also a particularly strong pick for a gaming TV, as it comes bundled with features like AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync, along with the HDMI 2.1-enabled ALLM, which will all help optimise its performance.
If you’re on a more modest budget than an OLED TV, TCL’s 65″ C725 TV might be a solid compromise. This QLED TV is 4K ready with HDR10+ enhanced contrast and colours, HDMI 2.1 ports and supports Dolby Vision and Atmos. It also has a dedicated game mode that promises (as they usually do) reduced input lag and fast motion control when enabled.
The story here is 8K support, and while you will pay a premium for 8K right now, that should mean you’re able to jump into the very best visual fidelity on your new gaming console from day one.
For non-8K content, the Samsung QN900A offers 8K upscaling, and when you’re not watching TV on it, Samsung’s Advanced Game Mode claims to optimise for lower input lag and picture quality for game-specific content.
Sony is one of the most well-respected tech brands around, so it’s probably not a surprise that its OLED TVs are worth your time. The Sony A80J has a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz (via HDMI 2.1), 4K upscaling, HDR 10 enhanced picture, and low input lag with its Game Mode.
If you’re also lacking a soundbar or home audio setup, the speakers on this TV manage to pack a decent punch too.
Editor’s note: Descriptions and features are as taken from manufacturer/seller claims.
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