How I Find The Best TVs
If you find yourself asking “What is the best TV for PC gaming?” then you are in luck. If the list didn’t cut it I have also put together some criteria I follow to find the best TV sets. The list constantly is changing so be on the look out and enjoy.
Low Input Lag
To start with the best TVs for PC gaming, you will need a low input lag. This is the most crucial for the most important reason above all: you need to be in control of the video game! A low input lag allows for just that. It shortens the time between your initial input and on-screen action, but the real question is how do you know when you’ve gotten a smart TV with a low enough input lag? Below is a quick overview of tested input lags to give a good idea.
My general recommendation is anything under 30 ms, but for PC gaming I’d recommend anything under 20 ms as I find the majority of PC gamers play competitive shooters or some type MMOG (massively multi-player online game). Some for my choices as the best TVs for PC gaming you will have most around 20 and even one at 15 ms to guarantee there to be no issues while online.
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Chroma Subsamspling 101
The second most important thing for the best PC gaming TV will be the support of more common PC resolutions or also known as chroma subsampling. Depending on the refresh rate of the smart TV you just cannot have support for some resolutions. For instance and TV set with a 60 Hz refresh rate shouldn’t support 1080p @ 120 Hz. This is good to know because different resolutions are best for scrolling text or static banner on the screen such as menus in PC games. Though, knowing that this is needed is only half of the battle, let’s dive in and see how it works.
The information your TV is sent happens to be broken in to three parts and also help measure if the content has been compressed. These three parts all play a role with the quality of your PC games, but the rule of thumb is that 4:4:4 is the best sine no compression occurred leaving you with the most ideal content quality. They are described as:
The Source: This is the first number in each series you see in the image above. Imagine this as the original way a scene or list of content was recorded and then distributed. There are no adjustments made here and are used as reference so we can see how content has been changed by a smart TV.
The Compression: This is both the second and third number in the sequences you see above. This can be 0, 2, or 4. The first of the two references the horizontal compression it will take into account (if any at all). The second of the two numbers takes in amount of vertical compression it will account for which can again be 0, 2, or 4. So in the case of 4:4:4, no compression will occur. In another example, 4:2:2 has half the chroma of 4:4:4, and 4:2:0 has a quarter of the same information available. This is important for a variety of reasons which I’ll touch on next.
End Result: By definition Chroma subsampling is the encoding images by allowing less resolution for chroma information than for luma information. This takes advantage of the human visual system’s lower acuity for color differences than for luminance. So in essence we are tricking our eyes into perceiving a clearer and more crisp picture even though (digitally) it has been altered. This, of course, is not an issue for smart TVs that support 4:4:4 sampling.
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Pixel Motion Blur
Another necessary thing for PC games is a quick response time, but what does it do? Well, a response time is measurement of how long it takes for one individual pixel to change from its initial color to another. Ideally it would be to a different color, but often times it can be measured accurately with a G-to-G rating which stands for gray to gray.
Now how does it make a TV the best for PC gaming? See, by lessening the time needed for pixels to switch colors you shorten the actual blur of the picture. This limited the “smeared image” effect and gives you a more crisp picture for fast, action packed PC games especially. In addition to this, since the picture itself it literally held together better, it helps prevent eye-tracking which is annoying for any one. Think of watching a forest pass by as you drive in car. Ever notice how your eyes jump around? This is the same for eye tracking on smart TV. Thank goodness its nearly been removed from most TV sets.
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Variable Refresh Rates
This is a minor feature in my opinion as not many of the best TVs have it available. Though, its performance is amazing and an absolute life-saver from time to time. What a variable refresh rate does it ‘sync up’ the TVs refresh rate with the incoming rate of the inputs source such as a Xbox One, Playstation 4 or PC. This is important for a variety of reasons, but the most important is that it maintains a clear picture by preventing screen tears, artifacts, or studdering, but why the best PC gaming TVs?
See most PC gaming rigs can play most games without worry or concern, but they cannot maintain a steady level of frame-rates. They often fluctuate which is exactly what a variable refresh rate is meant for! Companies have different names for this type of features and even some different standards, but their common names are: AMD FreeSync, Nvidia G-Sync, VESA Adaptive-Sync, HDMI 2.1 VRR, and Apple ProMotion.
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I actually have a good article over refurbished smart TVs
with their pros and cons. In short: I do not recommend these types of televisions too often, but they can potentially save you money depending on the situation.
This is actually quite simple once you know what you’re looking for. You should not be looking down towards your smart TV nor be looking more than 15 degrees up towards it either. I cover this topic more thoroughly inside of my TV Viewing Distance
You’ll want to look for a good series of native contrast ratios, low response times, 4K support, and the ability to prevent reflections or glare when hunting for a good television. This is especially true when you have a small budget as with the top smart TVs under 500 dollars.
The only thing you will want in addition to what I’ve mentioned above are a wonderful contrast ratio, and incredibly wide color gamut so the gaming TV can produce deep blacks while realistically saturating its colors.
This is actually a tough question as most of the best TVs for PC gaming handle about the same, but if the list wasn’t for you, I’d recommend you avoid TVs with poor uniformity or and “bleed” of colors. This is because the inconsistent colors of the pixel rows and columns can have your eyes wandering around the screen when you should be focusing on the action.