How I Find The Best TVs
If the above smart TVs didn’t work out, I recommend you read below to help yourself find a good deal. I’ve organized some quick info on how I determine the best televisions for any kind of criteria. I go over features, prices, prices histories, some frequently asked questions and even share the most recent changes to my top 5 TVs for video games.
4K TV Input Lag
The most important factor when looking for the best TV for video games is its input lag.
In short, this is the amount of time the TV takes until it registers on-screen the input you’ve selected. There are countless ways to control a smart TV’s input lag, but the most common way is the ‘Game Mode’ option in the menu and settings of a television. This essentially gives the TV more processing power to more quickly acquire, process, and then produce the changes you’re making in real-time. The drawback is that this often will desaturate the colors in the TV, but usually not by too much. Below is a nice chart that shows the number of smart TVs that I’ve tested over the years and their respective input lags.
One thing to take note is that there are three little jumps. The first being the nearly impossible range of input lags. I consider this the “Impossible Zone” because these top TVs are usually very expensive or are a monitor posing as a television. Though, I will recommend this range of smart TVs if your budget if large enough and if you are comfortable knowing it will be a video game only TV as it likely won’t have many other options to choose from.
The second jump is what I consider “The Holy Grail”. This is working closer to real-time response times in the TV input lags and these will offer the best TV for video games because they are usually much cheaper as well. You’ll also be reasonable in expecting a good picture in addition to a strong handle over motion. This is because many of these top TV options need the processing power to lower the input lag which leads to a better picture in the end.
The last jump is the “Acceptable” range. This margin will offer good smart TVs at a lower cost, and an ACCEPTABLE input lag, hence the name. Granted, you’re working yourself away from real-time reactions, but the differences shouldn’t be noticeable. I recommend these types of televisions when some one is tight on a budget and isn’t actually looking for the best TV for video games. For a full dive into input lags and how they work I’ve provided an article that you can find here.
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Smart TV Refresh Rates
Another crucial factor for fining the best TV for video games, if the refresh rate.
These rates are control by the panel inside of the smart TV. The most common being 60 Hz (Hertz) panels, and the most sought after being 120 Hz panels. You can see this information in the below chart of tested TVs.
Now how does the refresh rate help?
To be honest it is just a bit of math, but it also drastically depends on the type of video game you are playing, but you’ll find 120 Hz is the safest bet every time.
See, video games run on frames or frames-per-second. The most common (frames-per-second) that video games are sourced at will be 24, 30, 60, and 120 FPS. This is where the refresh rate comes into play. 60 Hz refresh rates basically mean you’ll be given 60 frames to work with or interpolate. With some math you can see an issue with both 24 and 120 FPS. You cannot even divide those numbers into 60 which means you’ll be losing information down the pipeline.
In reality this makes an appearance as judder or tears in the screen sometimes. It’ll look like two images coming together and just out right ruin the immersion of a video games sometimes. Though, the saving grace here is 120 Hz. All common FPS divide even into 120. This means you won’t lose information and the picture will stay nice and clear throughout gameplay.
So with that in mind, you’ll notice my best TV for video games has a 120 Hz panel. Check them all compared to one another here.
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Do Resolutions Matter?
Oh yes the resolutions matter. One quick look at the image below and the answer will reveal itself.
These 4K smart TV will have available 8,294,400 pixels to assign information to. Then when compared to the 1080p (1920x1080p) standard that was before it, those televisions only have 2,072,600 pixels to assign information to. You’re literally being given four times the amount of content to process to produce a better picture which is quite insane. Though, the one downfall is that with this much incoming information you will need more processing power. This leads to a bit of a larger cost to you as a user. So I recommend you choose wisely before over spending on the best TV for video games.
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What TV Size Is Best?
There is no right or wrong answer here, but 55 inch TVs are the most common. This also means they are likely to teeter around as over-priced or under-priced depending on the time of the year. On the other hand 60 inch models make the best TV for video games because you can sit father back and enjoy the same viewing experience without neck strain or needing to get close to the screen. The trade-off here is that there are less of them which makes them a tad pricier, but also that their price is easier to estimate as it isn’t likely to fluctuate as often.
There is also a number of formulas that can help you find what you’re looking for if you’re unsure where to begin. Below are those methods.
- TV Diagonal Length x 2.5 : You take the diagonal length of the TV you’re viewing and multiply by 2.5. The resulting number is the distance you should be viewing the TV at.
- TV Diagonal Length x 1.6: This method is meant for when the display occupies a 30-degree field of view. You take the diagonal length and multiply by 1.6. The resulting number is the optimal viewing distance.
- TV Diagonal Length x 1.2: Take your TV’s diagonal length and multiply by 1.2. The resulting number is your optimal viewing distance. This is for when the TV occupies ~40 degrees of your FOV. THX popularized this method as their “best-seat-to-screen distance”.
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It depends on the video game you’re interested in playing I recommend research what type of video game you are playing and seeing the FPS it is sourced at. That will help narrow down some options, but remember that 120 Hz is the safest bet.
Though this relies on the setup you have at home, you may need to relocate the TV either up or down depending on which direction you’re looking. The most common is that a smart TV is placed too high and then it puts a small strain on your neck. Your head should not to look up more than ~15 degrees. This should place your head around the middle or bottom of the television.
Yes, but they can be quite expensive or ignored entirely. The next most important would the response time of the TV meant for video games. This is also known as motion blur and is the time it takes for the TV to recognize color have changed, and then switch them on-screen. Most TV options average around 13-18 ms and are average cost. Though, the best TVs for video games will have the lowest response time and are also quite expensive as well. Another good metric would be the color gamut. This isn’t as large as an issue and can ignored, but a well saturated picture helps pull you deeper into the video game which is always nice.
If your budget seems a bit too small, then I’d recommend switching from a niche oriented TV hunt, into a budget guided hunt. You’ll find tons of good options that give a real bang for your buck when thinking of a budget instead of a preferred usage. First try the best under 500 dollars
or 1000 dollars.