If you’re buying a TV for gaming, you’re going to have a different set of priorities than you would if you were looking for a TV strictly for watching movies or sitcoms. A few years ago you might have had to really dig into the features of the latest TVs to find what you’re looking for, but with the release of high-end gaming consoles brands like Sony, LG, and Samsung have taken notice. Now you can find TVs that cater specifically to gaming, and one even has a built-in game bar to give you one-tap access to the best settings.
What is a gaming TV and why do you need one?
If you’ve brought home a PS5 or Xbox Series X over the past few months, you know having a TV designed to showcase your new console is just as important as the console itself. After all, if you’re trying to play and your game lags or it’s all fragmented, you can’t really get into the game.
Game developers put a lot of time into world-building, so you want a TV that puts you in the center of that world and doesn’t pull you out until you’re ready to leave. Specifiically, they focus on the following features for gamers.
HDR Support and Low Input Lag
HDR support and low input lag are two features that are must-haves when you are gaming on your TV. High Dynamic Range ensures your game comes across as realistic and lifelike. HDR enhances contrast, brightens colours, and darkens shadows. It also enhances details in dark environments, so graphics will stand out without you having to adjust the brightness levels of your TV.
Along with HDR, the other must-have feature for gaming is low input lag. Lag is measured in milliseconds, and it’s the time it takes your TV to display your commands. If your TV is constantly lagging, especially in situations where you’re playing MMO games, you might as well hang up your controller. Some of the latest gaming TVs have sub-1ms input lag, meaning it’s so seamless your TV won’t hesitate unless you do.
4k @ 120Hz games
The latest gaming consoles can deliver 4K gaming at 120Hz. 120Hz refers to refresh rate of your TV while gaming, and it’s a number of how often your screen refreshes the data displayed per second. 4K, or 60fps, refers to the frame rate the video game is created in. The more frames, the smoother your game will appear.
A gaming TV that runs 4K games at 120Hz will have minimal to non-existent screen flickering and motion blur. If you have a console that can deliver on that level but your TV doesn’t match up, you’re going to miss out.
Auto low latency mode
Some gaming TVs have auto low latency mode. This feature may show up as ‘game mode’ on many of the latest displays, and it takes the signal sent by your console and automatically switches to a low-log, low-latency mode for the smoothest possible gaming experience.
To get the most out of your Xbox Series X or PS5, you’ll need to plug it into your TV via HDMI 2.1. Most older TVs have HDMI 2.0b, and if you can only plug into your display that way you’ll miss out on the highest resolution and frame rate your console can provide. Many of the latest TVs also have four or more HDMI ports so you can plug in multiple consoles.
Aspect ratio for super-wide gaming
A few of the latest gaming TVs have one-tap changes for aspect ratio, so if you’d like to game in super-wide 32:9 you can easily adjust your settings to do so.
The best gaming TVs of the year
If you’re looking for a TV designed for blazing-fast gameplay, look no further than the big three; Sony, Samsung, and LG all have features built in to give you the most immersive gaming possible. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can choose from OLED, 8K QLED, 4K Ultra HD.
Sony gaming TVs
For colour, clarity, and precise detail, you can’t go wrong with a Sony TV. The latest Sony BRAVIA TVs are designed for gaming with features like HDR, XR Motion Clarity and 120Hz refresh rate so you can play 4K games at max refresh, and XR 4K Upscaling so even your older console games look rich and detailed.
While you can get Sony BRAVIA XR features on LED TVs, if you’re looking for the best colour reproduction for everything you play, you can’t go wrong with a Sony BRAVIA OLED. With 4K HDR, XR Triluminos Pro, and OLED technology, you get the deepest, richest blacks and billions of colours.
Samsung gaming TVs
If you want proof that Samsung takes gaming seriously, take a look at two of the latest Samsung TVs. Samsung QLEDs promise to give gamers an experience they’ll never forget, and you get your choice of 4K or 8K with all the benefits of Quantum Matrix Technology.
Samsung QLEDs have Quantum HDR 32X and HDR10+ for intense colour and contrast, Quantum Dot technology for max colour volume, and high-level gaming features you’ll have to test out to believe. Samsung’s Game bar gives you easy access to game set up, and it will show everything from input lag to frames per second in real-time. There are also features like Motion Xcelerator Turbo+ with 4K 120Hz refresh rate, Adaptive FreeSync Premium Protechnology to prevent stuttering and compensate for low frame rate, and Auto Low Latency Mode to optimize gameplay.
LG gaming TVs
If you’d like a ringing endorsement for LG gaming TVs, Best Buy blog’s editor Jon swears by the LG OLED for blistering fast gaming on all types of consoles. The latest LG gaming TVs have high refresh rates, low lag times, and ultra-fast response for every game you play. LG NanoCell even has features designed for gaming including 360-degree VR play, HDR Dynamic Tone Mapping, and built-in video presets to seamlessly switch from gaming to movies.
Whether you’re a pro gamer with the PS5 or Xbox Series X on your bookshelf or you’re a casual gamer who loves to play Nintendo Switch with the family, the latest gaming TVs will elevate your experience like nothing else can. You can find the perfect gaming TV for you at Best Buy.