The next generation of gaming consoles are here with incredibly impressive specs, and with such specs naturally comes the compulsion to upgrade your TV. Both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 offer some impressive features only newer TVs fully support, so let’s see what they need and which TVs can handle the task.
What to Look for in Your New TV
These are the features next-gen consoles need to look and perform their best.
- Resolution: One of the biggest draws of this generation is the promise of more consistent 4K resolution in games. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 target 4K in most games, so having a TV capable of taking advantage of that is a good idea. They can also support 8K technically, but it’s extremely limited and not worth chasing for most people.
- Refresh Rate: Another major setup from the previous generation is higher frame rates, often time reaching up to 120 FPS—although sometimes at the cost of decreased resolution or graphical settings. Refresh rate (measured in “Hertz”) represents the max FPS a TV can display—so a120Hz TV will display up to 120 FPS. There are many TVs that will fake high refresh rates with terms like “motion rate,” but in this case, we’re looking for the real deal.
- HDMI 2.1: This is the newest format of HDMI available and is what makes 4K and 120 Hz possible to use at the same time—TVs with HDMI 2.0 may require you to pick and choose between 1440p 120Hz and 4K 60Hz. On top of that, HDMI 2.1 also has some other nice features like the automatic gaming mode (which kicks in when a console is turned on for lower input lag) and variable refresh rate (which basically just makes the display look smoother during games). All of the TVs on this list except the budget pick, the TCL Series 6, have HDMI 2.1—but we’ll talk about that one more when we get to it. How many HDMI 2.1 ports each TV has is also important, especially if you’re looking to plug in other 4K devices, so we’ll be mentioning that in each TV’s section.
- HDR Formats: HDR is an important feature for a 4K TVs—it’s a core part of why they look so great. But it’s not as simple as just getting a TV with 4K HDR, there are multiple HDR formats out there that different manufacturers will use. The main two we’ll be looking out for is HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Out of the two, Dolby Vision is typically considered superior (HDR10 is still very good though), but that doesn’t mean you just immediately purchase a Dolby Vision TV. While the Xbox Series X and S support both Dolby Vision and HDR10, the PlayStation 5 only supports HDR10. Because of that, we’ve included options for both formats and will be listing which ones each TV supports in their respective sections.
- Smart Features: Chances are, you won’t be solely using this TV for gaming. Being able to view other media from standard cable to apps like Netflix and Hulu is important. And in the price range we’re looking at, you can safely expect to see smart TVs crop up with their own operating systems (OS) and means of browsing content.
Best Overall: LG NanoCell 90 Series
Regardless of which console you have, the 90 series from LG will make it live up to its potential. The special “NanoCell” display is a step up from standard LED screens in terms of color accuracy, both Dolby Vision and HDR10 are supported, and it features a 4K resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. You can also connect the TV to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit for some smart features, along with using webOS for your general media needs. You’ll find four HDMI ports on the side of the TV, two of which are HDMI 2.1.
Best QLED: SAMSUNG Q70T Series
If you’re a fan of Samsung’s line of QLED TVs, then look no further than the Q70T series. While QLED displays come with their pros and cons when it comes to image display—as they are based on standard LED displays—they provide impressive imaging nonetheless. Besides that, the TV displays at 4K and 120Hz along with supporting HDR10. No Dolby Vision though, so if you’re on Xbox that is a downside. You also get to use the SmartTV OS for your general media browsing needs. There are four HDMI ports on this TV but only one is HDMI 2.1.
A Higher End Option: LG OLED65CXPUA
When it comes to vibrant colors and deep black levels, OLED TVs are hard to beat. With a slick modern design, this LG CX OLED TV will grant deep blacks and accurate colors all at 4K, 120 FPS. But besides that, this TV is designed to be used for gaming; it has the natural advantages of its four HDMI 2.1 ports like variable refresh rates, along with having ultra-low input delay and a one ms response time. And you’re covered regardless of your console because it still supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10.
Smart features are also covered well with ThinQ AI acting as your voice assistant along with compatibility for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. webOS is also featured for media browsing as well.
Best Budget Option: TCL 6-Series
While you’re not going to find a cheap TV with the features we’re after, the 6 Series from TCL is, at least, less expensive. Using a Mini-LED screen, you’re still getting a good-looking display with support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. While the TV is 4K and has a max refresh rate of 120Hz, it can only do 1440p at 120Hz or 60Hz at 4K—basically, you have to choose between high resolution or high frame rate. That’s not a huge deal (especially if you’re on an Xbox Series S as it’s typically limited to display 1440p in most games) as there will be many games that force that decision on you anyway, but something important to note all the same.
It’s a solid display for the money, and the 55-inch model is an especially impressive value. It only has HDMI 2.0 (of which it has four ports), but it still delivers on some of the benefits of HDMI 2.1 like variable refresh rates and an automatic gaming mode for lower input lag. You also get RokuTV included out of the box to enjoy when you’re not playing on your console.
Best Budget Option
The Overkill: LG NanoCell 99 Series
Both the Series X and PlayStation 5 are technically capable of displaying 8K—it’s just extremely limited. For most games, it’s just not possible to run them at such a high resolution, but it is an option occasionally. And if we happen to get mid-generation updates akin to the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X again, 8K will likely become more common at that point. So if you want to be prepared for 8K becoming the new norm, the 99 series from LG is your best bet.
The 99 Series sees the return of the NanoCell display for better color accuracy, can display 8K, 120 Hz, and supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. This TV will put out the highest quality image on this list, but you are paying a matchingly high price for it. You can also expect to see ThinQ AI and webOS installed for when you’re not gaming along with four HDMI 2.1 ports.
Bonus Pick: Optoma HD39HDR Projector
To end off this list, let’s talk a bit about projectors. While these are typically far more limited in terms of resolution and refresh rate than TVs, models like the HD39HDR from Optoma still manage impressive results. If you want to cover an entire wall with your gameplay of Spiderman: Miles Morales, then this projector is able to do so at 1080p, 120 FPS.
If you want true 4K, then Optoma can deliver with the more expensive Optoma UHD50X projector, which can display native 4K and 60 FPS at the same time along with HDR10—120 FPS is still limited to 1080p though.
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