Here's what to look for when buying a TV for gaming
Here's what to look for when buying a TV for gaming
11:56

Here's what to look for when buying a TV for gaming

TVs
Right here is LGs a C 10 or cx OLED TV, and it's pretty much regarded as the best gaming TV you can buy right now. It's also one of the most expensive But you don't need to spend a ton of money to get a great gaming TV. The LG CX is a TV that can handle color contrast, and HDR better. Pretty much any television out there. OLED is the display technology. And that's one of the things you need to consider getting a TV specifically for gaming. But here's the thing, getting a TV that's good for gaming is also probably gonna be good for pretty much anything else you wanna watch on it. So it's fair to take this buying advice as a general rule for any reason that you might be buying a new television. [MUSIC] Now, because I specialize in video games, I don't necessarily have the last word, when it comes to TVs. So for help on this, I decided to hit up my good friend David katzmaier, who's seen as expert television reviewer, and probably one of the most important people in that industry. In the entire world. [MUSIC] Let's tear it out here. So, tier one, tier two tier three start at the base. That's like your standard LCD TV right like a TCL four series, something in like the 500 $600 range for 65 inch size. Even cheaper for the smaller sizes. Those are the TVs I would say without a feature called full array local dimming. So that's kind of the baseline feature that you wanna be looking for in a good TV for gaming. So that middle tier TV is gonna have full array local dimming. That's like a TCL six series Vizio M series. 7 $800 $900 for that 65 inch size right so again a few $100 more but you get a markedly better picture quality experience because of full array local dimming which you know long story short makes it so you can localize the backlight so you can have like a bright light on the screen look a lot brighter and make the rest To the screen, not come up and brightness look washed out that sort of thing. It controls that locality of the backlight on the LCD. The top tier, as you might guess, is OLED. [MUSIC] OLED is very different from LCD display. So led LCD including full array local dimming that I just mentioned. They all have a backlight behind the screen that shines through this panel on a 4k TV. That's 8 million pixels on that panel. The light all comes from that LED backlight so no matter how many pixels are, you're limited by the locality of the light itself. With an OLED TV, though every single pixel creates its own light. It's called an emissive display technology compared to transmissive on the LCD side, so since every little pixel just picture 8 million tiny little light bulbs that can have different colors. That creates Precision that you just can't get and it also allows the pixel to turn off completely. So you have that perfect black level. So the combination of really precise illumination when the pixels are on and perfect black level gets you to that contrast and you can see, you know as soon as you turn it up you go wow You know, this is an OLED. The black levels are perfect. You know there's no blooming around any of the highlights on the screen. It really is, you know a step above visually compared to an LCD TV. So OLED TVs pretty much all handle the latest. This generation input features they all have pretty much what you want. So if you're gonna spend that money on an OLED TV, you're gonna get 4k 120 hertz input capability right off the bat if you buy a 2020 or 2021, OLED TV, the Sony TVs all have that as well that 4k 120 hertz input. So that's basically that's that smoothness you can have 120 frames per second come in at 4k resolution. Most games now that do that Have actually dumbed down the resolution to 1440 or even less, 1080p coming in, so that's an issue. But future games are gonna really take advantage of that. They might update some current games to take advantage of that. So you get that, again, really high frame rate plus that awesome resolution, which is great. The TV has to handle it. The mid range TVs won't. So you get a TV that's less expensive, it won't be able to handle 120 frames per second input. It won't be able to handle you know, a 4k at 120. So you got to look kind of carefully unfortunately at the features there but the good news is it was really high end TVs and then the higher end led LCD TVs, especially the upcoming 2021 models. Are gonna be much more supportive of that. Another flag here is that it's not an every inputs. You got to make sure to plug your thing into the right input. So some TVs only have one or two inputs that support all this stuff. You have a bunch of devices, for example You can't handle all that. So that's the second most important thing that 4k 120 120 frames per second input. The most important though, is just what we were talking about is that backlight technology on OLED. It's that it's the display technology itself. Third on the list, probably VR support Okay? So you do need that 120 Hertz refresh rate to be able to handle things like 120 frames per second. Now, what if your source material fluctuates? But if that varies in terms of frame rates, Bump and you need something called variable refresh rate compatibility and some TV support it some don't do is Dave to explain what it all mean. Well, actually he's the 20/20 Vizio m-series of a mid-range TV that I really like for the money about 700 bucks as kind of the midpoint for that. That's EDI supports VRR variable refresh rate. The TV can dynamically adjust its refresh rate, depending on what the game sends it. So if there's a really tough boss battle or something like that bunch of frames flying around, it can go up or down and cut down the refresh rate to make the image look smoother to prevent tearing artifacts like that. That would happen. If you know the refresh rate was fixed, typically the refresh rate is fixed at 60 frames per second, so that Vizio TV can't handle 4k 120 it can't go up beyond 60 frames per second. So it's still does vrr so it can go down it can go down to 48. So you get that benefit. If a really difficult scene comes up The flip side is most TVs that will do you know, VR will also do 4k 120. So those two kind of go hand in hand with especially with the 2021 models that are coming out, and you can't really talk about new televisions without mentioning the obvious HDR compatibility. I'm sure a lot of TVs have that built in. It's sort of standard at this point in 2021. But each HDR implementation and the technology that it's up uses varies from set to set. Here's what Dave thinks you need to know. Not every HDR is created the same so again the TVs like the LG OLED the TVs have really good full array local dimming those can really make HDR pop and let me take a step back here. HDR is the thing that makes games look really good if you have a game that handled HDR well A TV that can do HDR Well, you know, I was just playing goes to Tsushima and I was like, you know the HDR and that is really kind of crazy the way they do it. And if you have a calibrated right, it could look spectacular. You have a cheap TV sometimes it looked better with SDR or conversely a game that can't handle HDR when cyberpunk first came out It's HDR was pretty broken, they've done some updates and made it better since then. But it's not, it really varies per game, and then you have to calibrate like I mentioned before you have to get the adjustments right. So there's calibration settings on the consoles, on the games themselves. All the nomenclature is all over the place. It's really hard to tell whether you're doing something right. 4k 120 vr AR these are all pieces of technology that rely on something called HDMI 2.1 which is a newer protocol for the HDMI standard. Now a lot of televisions sold even right now. Maybe only have one port that can do 2.1 0r none of them do and they're still stuck on 2.0. Right now a lot of the inexpensive TVs have HDMI 2.0, which does not have the bandwidth to handle, you know, 4K120, let alone 8k or any of that stuff they're talking about in the future. And it's not set up to handle the RR. So you need HDMI 2.1 compatible inputs, you know, at least one for your new next generation console at least on that TV if you want to take advantage of those features So often TV manufacturers don't push it HDMI 2.1 it's not on the spec sheet. They'll talk about 4k 120 support. They'll talk about VR support, but they won't actually spell out HDMI two dot one And some TVs that claim HDMI 2.1 aren't fully compatible, especially with 4k 120 which uses the most bandwidth. The good news is that in 2021, this year, the TVs that are coming out throughout this year, especially in the mid to high end, are gonna have a lot more HDMI 2.1 support. You're gonna be able to get A little more reassurance and also pay a little bit less money to have that support than you would have last year. [MUSIC] This is a lot of information to digest, I realized that so I asked Dave, if he could just give us three tiers of advice, right, at entry level advice, the mid range, and of course, what is the TV you would get Having to worry about how much it costs. The cheapest CD that I recommend that's really good for gaming is that Vizio M series because it's the entry level really right now for full array local dimming, and it has VR support so you get that kind of bonus of having a little bit of that next generation gaming capability [UNKNOWN] Really does make a difference. Stepping up from there is gonna be like a mid range, like a Sony X 900 H, this is a 2020 version. The 2021 version is the X9 J. So those TVs are Ghanian, really good. Gaining support. They is one of the least expensive TVs that supports 4k 120, VRR support is coming. So Sony does a good job with that. They also, I tested that TV with Last of Us Part II when it came out. And that, it looks really good. They have a good game mode that brings up the shadow detail and doesn't make it look too washed out. You | can see the zombies in the shadows, that sort of thing. So that was really cool. And then kind of the top of the line at least in 2020 is the LG OLED and then also the C1 coming out in 2021. I haven't reviewed that TV obviously, it's not in the market yet, but those have been the goals And so they're also they will stand up for connectivity. And they're adding some new stuff for 2021 where you can see whether these features are active. They say there's a mode that will adjust automatically depending on the genre of game that you're playing. So you're playing an FPS will flip into FPS mode, sort of like movie mode, and sports. Mode on a television for those types of content. So we'll see how that works. But LG has really been on the cutting edge of making sure that TVs support games and for updating when there's issues which is a huge deal keeping that firmware up to date on the TV supporting those. So that would be the gold standard again for gaming and for pretty much everything else. You You're watching. So there you have it. buying a new TV for gaming doesn't have to be this confusing mess. There are just a few sort of bullet points you need to pay attention to. And sure new TVs are going to come out. But if you look at the baseline of specs on a TV that you're buying this year, your next purchase, it should give you a solid baseline, at least for the next couple years. Now that the new consoles are out, sort of know where the tech is going for the immediate future, so I hope this buying guide was helpful for you. Of course, you can check out our entire list of recommended TVs over@cnet.com. I'm Jeff Bakalar, and thanks for watching.

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