The best gaming TV on the market – a 2016 buyer’s guide
Researching what TV you should buy is serious business. No, seriously, we’re not messing around. Wars have been waged and fought over which TV has the best image quality and response time, or which TV is the best for gaming. OK, maybe not wars, but buying a TV is a major thing. You want something that will make you say “Wow!” when you play games on it, and yet also something that makes your friends say “Wow!” when they walk into your gaming area and see it.
Luckily, most recent televisions offer at least decent image quality, and every device on the market has either 1080p or 4K resolution. That’s great, right? That means the only difficult decision you have to make is the screen size, right?
What exactly makes a good TV for gaming?
Well ideally, you’d want the best possible image quality and a low input lag for a smooth and fluent experience. Yet we’ve been bombarded with a slew of new features and possibilities within the last few years alone. There are vast differences between many of the current television options – some of which have major effects on gaming. It’s pretty hard to keep track of all technological progressions/iterations, so let’s take a look at some of the major developments in the TV market and see how they might impact your gameplay.
4K television sets are becoming increasingly popular due to the fact that both the Xbox One S and the PlayStation 4 family offer full support for HDR (High Dynamic Lightning), a feature that is exclusive to 4K TVs. Aside from HDR, the faster PlayStation 4 Pro console allows for most games to render at a higher-than-Full HD resolution. Some games, such as The Last of Us: Remastered and Skyrim, even render in native 4K.
Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox Scorpio console will also support 4K gaming, and most gaming PC’s are perfectly capable of handling games in a much sharper resolution than Full HD. In other words, the days of 1080p displays are numbered. Nonetheless – if you’re not interested in a 4K display, we have a few great recommendations for 1080p displays as well.
So, what’s all the fuzz about – and more importantly – what difference does it make in gaming? The 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) offers a four times higher image quality than the previous standard Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). With over ten million pixels shown, games have never looked this good.
As we’ve mentioned above, HDR is another major selling point for some 4K TVs. High Dynamic Range allows for a much more realistic contrast and brightness values. It’s incredibly hard to stress the importance of HDR – especially because you can’t view the difference on a non-HDR device.
It’s best compared this way: instead of looking at a picture of the sun; with HDR enabled, it feels like you’re actually looking at the sun. It’s worth noting that not all 4K TV’s support HDR and some will be able to deliver a much more convincing HDR image than others. Many consider the jump from non-HDR to HDR content larger than the jump in resolution from Full HD to 4K, so it definitely shouldn’t be an afterthought when purchasing a new device.
Images are much more realistic and smaller details and much more noticeable. A real-life example is Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, where it is possible to actually see grains of the sand on islands and distinctive, more realistic clouds.
A feature that often goes hand in hand with top HDR-displays is a 10-bit color panel. Regular TVs are equipped with an 8-bit panel. It doesn’t sound like a huge difference but the impact is remarkable. 8-bit TV’s are capable of displaying 255 values for Red, Green and Blue subpixels.
With a 10-bit display, that number increases to 1024 different values which amounts to an incredible difference. 16 million colors can be formed with an 8-bit panel, but 10-bit TV’s can produce a whopping 1 billion different colors. Having more colors results in a more realistic experience and an amazing image.
All that talk about image quality is great of course, but let’s face it – a pretty image is useless if you can’t game properly on it. In other words, input lag matters. For gamers with high reflexes or demanding users, the input lag has to be as low as possible.
Does screen size matter?
Generally speaking, televisions of the same type and model will have the exact specifications and characteristics across all available screen sizes. There are some exceptions, but we’ll be sure to mention them. Which screen size you should get highly depends on personal preference and the viewing distance. If you game very closely to your television it wouldn’t be wise to purchase a large TV as the pixel density is lower compared to a more modest screen size. 55″ is to be considered the most popular screen size.
Do I need a 4K television?
Most newer models are only released with the new 4K resolution standard. Older television sets which are Full HD are still very capable of providing a smooth gaming experience with excellent image quality. It’s also worth noting that not all games will support 4K resolution and the new features such as HDR on consoles – older games will look just as good on an HDTV.
If you’re on a budget, you’ll still be able to buy a great Full HD TV for gaming. However, the market is slowly but surely shifting towards 4K so you should definitely consider a 4K television set to make sure you are future-proof. Features such as a 10-bit color panel and HDR will only be available on 4K televisions.
What about Ultra HD Premium, HDR10, and Dolby Vision?
Ultra HD Premium is a ‘seal of quality’ certificate that’s awarded to high-end 4K television sets by the official Ultra HD Alliance. Aside from 4K resolution and a 10-bit color depth, an Ultra HD Premium certificate also requires a wider BT.2020 color representation game and peak brightness of over 1000 nits for the best possible HDR experience. In other words: if you see an Ultra HD Premium seal, you know you’re getting one of the best available TV’s on the market.
Most HDR TV’s use the open HDR10 standard, the ‘10’ stands for the 10-bit color depth that’s being used. There is another HDR standard however from Dolby, called Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision supports TV’s up to 10,000 nits (which aren’t on the market yet, but the support is there) and it also has metadata that can improve picture quality, primarily in movies. Because Dolby Vision is closed-source and requires a licensed chip, most manufacturers choose HDR10. Sets that support Dolby Vision however also offer full support for the HDR10 standard.
The only standard that has been confirmed to work with gaming so far is HDR10. Xbox One Scorpio and PlayStation 4 Pro use HDR10 as the main standard, as will graphics cards for PC’s in the future.
If we had to pick a number of favorites, we’d definitely go with the Samsung KS8000 series and LG’s 4K OLED displays. Both of these offer a fantastic image quality that makes your games absolutely shine, and it currently reigns champion as our Best TV for Gaming of 2016. But wait, there’s more…
The best Full HD 1080p TVs for gaming
Best budget TV for gaming: Samsung J6200 series
Available screen sizes: 40”, 48”, 50”, 55”, 60”, and 65”
The Samsung J6200 is a Smart TV series that was released in 2015 and uses a LED-backlight. Despite its introduction in 2015, the J6200 televisions hold up well in terms of image quality and fast-moving input which makes it great for gaming on a budget.
In terms of general specifications, the J6200 offers Full HD resolution in a variety of screen sizes. It doesn’t stand out in any particular field, but offers a pretty good all-round performance.
The design of these TVs remains fairly simple and Samsung has used plastic for much of the exterior. The stand does feel a little bit wobbly but will get the job done. The bezels measure at 0.83 inches which can be considered on the larger side. In short, build quality isn’t excellent but it’s not terrible either: it’s perfectly in line with what you can expect for a TV in this price range.
The J6200 manages to deliver a very decent contrast ratio of around 3200:1 – blacks are quite deep and the uniformity in particular is great on this device. This means images where bright and dark are right next to each other won’t compromise each other. Color reproduction and balance is also great, resulting in a clean image.
Maximum brightness is on the lower side however, with measurements of 190 candelas per square meter. An average value for brightness is around 250 cd/m², so definitely keep that in mind if your television is placed in a brightly lit area.
Samsung uses their own VA-panels in the J6200 TVs, which offers decent image quality and contrast, but viewing angles are rather poor. Color shifting (albeit very slightly) starts to occur at a 17° angle, so it’s not great from every viewpoint. If you’re always going to be looking at this TV straight on, you won’t experience any color shifting issues at all.
How does the J6200 score regarding input lag? The maximum latency of these televisions (either in PC or Game Mode) measures at 44.5 milliseconds. That’s not great – but it won’t bother casual gamers either. Motion blur is beautifully implemented and motion response time is quite low at 7.8ms. Objects in motion look great on this TV.
The speakers of the J6200 are somewhat an afterthought and aren’t particularly good – the noise can distort a bit, and the maximum volume isn’t very high to begin with. In terms of smart functionality, the display runs on an older version of Samsung’s Tizen OS which offers wide app support including Netflix and Plex. The interface and Smart TV elements are definitely handy but the interface won’t break any speed records.
A small caveat of the J6200 is the fact that there are only two available HDMI connectors. A caveat that can easily be resolved with a switch, but a caveat nonetheless.
In short, the J6200 series is a great choice if you’re looking for an affordable 1080p gaming TV with decent image quality, good contrast, acceptable input lag and great motion blur.
- Low price point
- Lots of available apps for Tizen OS
- Above average image quality
- Great contrast and black uniformity
- Motion blur works extremely well
- Mediocre image quality
- Speakers aren’t great
- Limited ideal viewing angles
- Only two HDMI-ports
- Below-average maximum brightness
Available screen sizes on Amazon: 32”, 40”, 43” (VA), 43” (IPS), 48”, 50”, 55”, 60”, 65”, 70”
The affordable D Series by Vizio with Full HD resolution offers decent image quality and a fast panel with low input lag, which makes it ideal for gaming. It uses a LED-backlight and also offers Smart TV functionalities.
The Vizio D Series TVs have a decent and high-quality design with two plastic stands on both sides of the device. The border size (also referred to as the bezels) are 0.55 inch which is average. It’s a good-looking design and certainly doesn’t look cheap.
Let’s start with the contrast ratio of the Vizio D series – with a contrast of 5594:1 these TV sets have excellent and deep black levels, along with great black uniformity. As a result, dark images are certainly well represented.
Maximum or peak brightness is slightly above average with a peak of 362 candelas per square meter, although there are some fluctuations starting from 245 cd/m². In most environments, this will definitely suffice. You should only expect to see issues in very brightly lit areas.
Vizio has used VA-panels for its D Series of displays, with the exception of the D43-D1 with a 43” diagonal. This 43” model uses an IPS-panel instead of the VA-panels in all other screen sizes. IPS provides a slightly worse contrast and black uniformity, but makes up for it in viewing angles. Speaking of viewing angles, color shifting starts to occur from a 10-degree angle which is definitely below average. Unless you go for the 43-inch IPS model, it’s recommended that you sit directly in front of the television.
Input lag is great, with a maximum latency of only 26.5 milliseconds in Game Mode. This is a great result for highly sensitive gamers. Similarly, response time is also very decent at 11.9ms. A low response time ensures less disturbing motion blur.
Sound quality is fairly decent with a good response in all frequencies, but maximum volume could be tad higher. Distortion is acceptable at higher volumes. Overall, the sound solution is decent. There are three available HDMI-inputs on the television.
Vizio uses its own operating system for the smart functionalities of the device. It’s not particularly striking, fast or good-looking, but it has most major apps such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. In short, it’s fairly straightforward and it gets the job done.
- Great design
- Excellent contrast
- Remarkable price-quality ratio
- Low input lag and response time
- Decent smart functionalities
- Brightness levels are good
- Below average viewing angles on VA-models
- Speakers don’t go very loud
Best 1080p gaming TV: LG EG9100
Available screen size: 55”
If you’re looking for a premium Full HD TV with the absolute best image quality, the LG EG9100 is the only logical choice. The reason? Quite simple. The EG9100 uses a beautiful OLED panel which ensures perfect blacks and infinite contrast, fantastic viewing angles and superior image quality. The LG EG9100 is the new benchmark for 1080p devices.
The exterior of LG’s Full HD top model is excellent with small 0.35” bezels, a thickness of only 2.8 inches and a unique, yet striking design. Build quality is excellent and it’s also worth noting that the back of the TV is white. The LGE9100 only comes in one size: 55 inch. Luckily, the stand is positioned fairly in the middle so you won’t have any issues placing this display on most TV tables.
There’s not much to say about this TV’s contrast, because it’s literally infinite. Black is truly black, because the pixels all behave independently on an OLED display. If the image is black or dark, the pixel will shut itself off entirely – resulting in a flawless contrast. As you might expect, black uniformity is quite excellent as well. Perfection is a word that comes in mind.
Color reproduction is extremely vivid and lifelike resulting in an excellent picture quality.
Brightness levels range from 81 candelas per square meter to around 336 cd/m². At a first glance, 81 candelas as extremely low – but luckily, the measurements for OLED display can’t be compared with other, regular TV-panels. The luminosity changes depending on the image displayed because each pixel can turn itself entirely off. In other words, you don’t have to worry about the brightness levels that much. It can’t go extremely bright, but the LG EG9100 is a perfectly fine television nonetheless.
Another major OLED benefit is the fact that the viewing angles are truly great. Color shifting starts to occur at a whopping 84 degrees – colors of other displays tend to shift starting from ten degrees and upwards. No matter where your viewpoint is – this TV looks great from every angle.
Let’s talk about speed because alongside image quality, this is the most important factor for gaming. With game mode enabled, input lag measures at 29.6 milliseconds. Be sure to install a firmware update however, as the out-of-the-box firmware is a tad slower. Response time is virtually non-existent at 0.1 milliseconds. We’ve used the word a lot before, but it’s well-deserved: a perfect score.
While the sound quality is decent and definitely above average, it’s not in line with the rest of the display. There’s very little distortion but the bass isn’t represented enough and maximum volume is also an issue.
Another benefit this TV has above all the other recommended 1080p displays and most 4K displays, is the support for passive 3D functionality. Less important for gaming, but great if you’re also going to watch 3D content.
In terms of Smart TV features, LG has made a fantastic platform with WebOS. It’s fast, snappy, easy-to-use and supports all the major apps. The remote is perfectly integrated with the software and can even work as a mouse pointer.
Is it pricey? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. With a recommended retail price that’s higher than most 4K TV’s, this TV is aimed at people who want to stick to 1080p at the time being. If you’re one of those, the EG9100 is an excellent choice.
- Extremely good image quality
- Infinite contrast
- Excellent viewing angles
- Low input lag and perfect response time
- Great design and build quality
- WebOS is a pleasure to use
- Support for Passive 3D
- Pricier than most 4K TV’s
- Has troubles keeping up with a higher brightness
- Lacking bass in sound system
The best 4K TV for gaming
Available screen sizes on Amazon: 50”, 55”
If you’re looking to get the best possible performance and image quality for the price, the Hisense H8C series is extremely hard to beat. The 4K televisions are quite inexpensive but offer an impressive number of features. Hisense proves 4K and HDR gaming on a budget is possible with the H8C.
Next to offering the sharp 4K resolution, the television has 10-bit color depth as well as support for HDR. Let’s talk about the effectiveness of HDR on this television, as HDR experiences greatly differ from device to device. Local dimming is a technique that dims parts of the backlight where it’s not necessary and divides it in several zones.
The Hisense H8C doesn’t have too many zones however, which doesn’t make the local dimming very effective. Maximum brightness of the H8C measures at around 440 cd/m² – higher than most 1080p televisions, but slightly below average for HDR-devices. In short, you’ll get an entry-level HDR experience that isn’t ideal, but still is better than non-HDR TVs.
The design of the H8C is quite basic and the majority of the build in in plastic. For a budget TV, borders are quite thin at 0.51 inches and thickness is very acceptable as well at exactly 3 inches. There are 4 available HDMI-ports, ideal for connecting multiple consoles.
Contrast readings are pretty good with an overall ratio of 4152:1. Dark scenes look fine on this television and uniformity of blacks is excellent. Because of the 10-bit display colors look good vibrant. However, Wide Color Gamut isn’t supported.
In line with most of the more affordable TVs, Hisense has used a VA-panel for its H8C TVs. Picture quality is pretty good, but the same can’t be said for the viewing angles of the device. The colors start to shift and degrade starting from a 10° angle and upwards, making the only ideal seating position directly in front of the TV.
Motion performance is above average for Ultra HD displays with a maximum response time of 13 milliseconds. Similarly, input lag is decent – but not great. There’s an input lag of 32.1 milliseconds for 1080p content. 4K and HDR enabled results in a latency of 53.5ms. Not the best results, but good for casual gamers. If you are sensitive to a higher input lag, it may be best to choose a faster television.
Average is the word that comes in mind for the sound quality of these sets – but for the price you’re paying, it’s hard to complain. Frequency response is pretty good but just like many TV’s, maximum loudness isn’t great. Distortion-levels are pretty low however, which is a good thing.
Smart TV functionalities are being handled by the relatively unknown Opera TV operating system. It’s pretty fluent and fast, but can be prone to some bugs which require a TV restart. You’ll find the most important apps, but it’s not as great as some alternative platforms.
The Hisense H8C is a budget-focused series of TVs that doesn’t disappoint. Image quality and contrast are very decent; response time isn’t great but still is manageable and you’ll be able to get a taste of HDR gaming.
- Offers entry-level HDR experience
- Good contrast
- Decent image quality
- Four available HDMI-ports
- Good design
- Low response time
- 10-bit color panel
- Bad viewing angles
- Buggy Smart TV functionalities
- 4K input lag is on the higher side
- No support for Wide Color Gamut
The best low input lag 4k TV for gaming: Vizio D Series 4K
Available screen sizes on Amazon: 40”, 50”, 55”, 58”, 65”
You might’ve noticed the Vizio D Series in the list for 1080p devices above. Vizio has decided to re-use the design of the D Series for television with a 4K panel. In terms of design and Smart TV functionality, these TV sets are identical to the 1080p versions, so let’s take a look at where they differ.
Of course, the 4K displays of the Vizio D Series use a completely new panel and support higher resolutions. It’s also being driven by a LED backlight and a VA-panel across all screen sizes. This results in an above average picture quality, but viewing angles could definitely be better.
It’s not as bad as most other TV sets however, as the picture starts to deteriorate starting from 15 degrees. Not ideal for multiple viewpoints, but great if you’re sitting directly in front of the screen.
Contrast is excellent with a measurement of 4356:1 which provides very deep and realistic blacks. This also translates into a great black uniformity; light bleeding isn’t an issue on this TV at all.
In terms of brightness, the Vizio D Series somewhat disappoints. Local dimming doesn’t work too well because the separate backlight zones are quite large. Peak brightness is 302 candelas per square meter, which is a good result for regular 1080p and 4K content. It’s insufficient for HDR however: unfortunately, it’s not supported on this device.
The Vizio D television sets are among the most inexpensive 4K sets on the market, but that means some concessions have been made. Color depth is limited to 8-bit and Wide Color Gamut also isn’t possible on the D Series.
Input lag results are great – truly exceptional for a low-priced television. In Game Mode, response time in both 1080p and 4K is limited to only 13.4 milliseconds, the best result in this list. You do need to use the dedicated ‘Game’ HDMI-port however, the regular HDMI-ports have an input lag of 42.2ms. Speaking of HDMI connectors, you’ll have plenty of space with five possible inputs. Response time is very good 12.3 milliseconds.
The sound quality is pretty good with a very nice balance between low, mid and higher tones. Unfortunately, bass is represented at all and the sound distorts quite a bit at higher volumes.
- Excellent input lag
- Decent response time
- Great image quality
- Impressive contrast
- Five available HDMI inputs
- Very affordable price point
- Mediocre viewing angles
- Lack of bass
- No support for any form of HDR
- No Wide Color Gamut
- 8-bit display
A good gaming TV with a splash of Android: Sony X800D
Available screen sizes: 43”, 49”
The Sony X800C devices offer a great performance and image quality and carry a mid-range price tag.
Design-wise, the X800C is pretty good with a unique exterior and solid build quality. It’s not as great as some of the higher priced TV’s on this list – but still very decent nonetheless with a remarkable metallic stand. Bezels measure at 0.39 inch which is excellent, and the TV is also quite thin at 1.73”.
There are only two smaller sizes of the X800C available: a 43 and a 49-inch variant. The smaller model uses a VA-panel with better contrasts and worse viewing angles, while the larger 49” model uses an IPS-panel with the opposite characteristics: you switch contrast quality in favor of better viewing angles. Colors pop right off the screen.
Picture quality on these Sony TVs is excellent thanks to the excellent color reproduction, support for Wide Color Gamut and the 10-bit panel. Contrast for the VA-version is 3877:1 which is excellent and ensures fairly deep blacks. It is less impressive on the IPS X800C, but the screen still manages to perform well with dark images.
Viewing angles are quite decent for the VA-panel, the color stars shifting at 21° degrees and upwards while most other displays already start to deteriorate starting from 10 degrees. The IPS-panel will look great from every angle.
Brightness is quite important for viewing content in HDR. The average and peak brightness is around 375 cd/m², which is slightly above average. It’s also very consistent and the same can’t be said for most other HDR sets. You’ll be able to view HDR content and see a noticeable difference over Standard Dynamic Range, but it’s not top of the line performance.
Input lag is definitely above average with a maximum of 33.2 milliseconds for 1080, 4K and HDR content. A good result and ideal for most gamers. Response time is also very decent at 13.2ms which results in a great motion performance.
As is the case with most other TV sets, sound quality is rather average. At higher volume settings distortion becomes more and more apparent.
Instead of building their own Smart TV operating system, Sony has decided to use the Android TV platform. There are a bunch of apps available, including some Android games. It’s fast, fluent and works very well. Support for Google Cast comes right out-of-the-box.
- Great image quality
- VA-panel offers above average viewing angles and excellent contrast
- IPS-panel can be viewed from any viewpoint and still look good
- 10-bit color depth
- Decent design
- Support for Wide Color Gamut
- Suitable for entry-level HDR
- Low input lag and response time
- Android TV
- Only available in two smaller screen sizes
- Sound has distortion issues
- Can’t get very bright
Available screen sizes: 40”, 43”, 50”, 55”, 60”, 65”, 70”
The Samsung KU6300 serves as a good alternative to the Sony X800D we discussed above and offers a slightly brighter image and is also available in more (and larger) screen sizes.
The design of the KU6300 Series is fairly simple and straightforward, with a nice stand. It does have a rather large footprint, so keep that in mind if you have limited room on your TV table. Borders measure at 0.63”.
Overall, the KU6300 has a pretty good picture quality. Unfortunately, Samsung has used a 10-bit panel which ensures flawless gradients, but there’s no support for Wide Color Gamut. Quality is definitely above average. The contrast in particular is great at 5411:1 alongside an almost perfect black uniformity.
Brightness is where this TV quite literally shines, as it has the highest brightness for TVs in this prince range. With 425 cd/m², it’s still not sufficient to display HDR in its full glory but there’s a noticeable difference over no HDR at all.
Viewing angles are rather mediocre, although better than what you’d might expect for a VA-panel. Colors start to shift at around 20 degrees and contrast will be lost as well. Color depth is excellent thanks to the 10-bit display panel.
These TVs are quite fast. In 1080p, maximum input lag is around 19.8 milliseconds. It’s slightly higher for 4K HDR images at 20.4ms, which is still an excellent result. Response time is a bit less impressive however at 18.7 milliseconds. That ensures a good motion blur, but it isn’t great either.
Just like on many televisions, the sound system seems to have been an afterthought. While the frequency balance is decent, distortion of sound is very noticeable at higher volumes. For Smart TV capabilities, Samsung has used its 2016 version of Tizen OS: fast, fluent and plenty of available apps.
- Good price point
- Great image quality
- 10-bit color depth
- Suitable for entry-level HDR
- Extremely low input lag
- Tizen OS works really well
- No Wide Color Gamut
- VA-panel doesn’t offer wide viewing angles
- Slightly higher response time
- Sound distortion
Available screen sizes on Amazon: 49”, 55”, 60”, 65”
Everything about the Samsung KS8000 Series screams high-end. A great design, excellent picture quality thanks to the Quantum Dot technology, an Ultra HD Premium certificate and great input lag results. This is one of the best televisions money can buy – and the price isn’t even that high.
Let’s start with the design: Samsung uses two chrome feet that you can place under each side of the television. Luckily, you can also reduce the TVs footprint as there is also a ‘middle stand’ option. Borders have a metallic touch and are very small at 0.28”. Thickness is also a non-issue with the KS8000 at a maximum of 1.5 inch.
In order to compete with the magnificent OLED displays by LG in terms of picture quality, Samsung uses a technique called Quantum dot to improve clarity and overall image. It looks absolutely great and it’s considered to be the best choice for LCD TVs.
Contrast is excellent at 6906 with very deep blacks and an almost perfect uniformity. These TVs also support Wide Color Gamut, full HDR, and are fitted with a 10-bit panel. Average brightness of the KS8000 is around 500 candelas per square meter, a great result. It can peak to well above 1400 cd/m² which is great for HDR content and also earns this TV the Ultra HD Premium certificate. Local dimming isn’t that impressive, but the high brightness makes up for it.
Despite the excellent image quality and high-end display type, it’s still a VA-panel which means non-ideal viewing angles. Colors start to shift at 20°, but it’s less noticeable than other VA-panels. You’ll lose some saturation and contrast when viewed at an angle larger than 20 degrees, but viewing angles are great for VA-standards.
Let’s talk about speed. For all available high-end 4K displays, the KS8000 TVs (and upwards) offer a great result in input lag. 1080p gaming is very manageable at 20.9ms and 4K and HDR enabled only bumps it up to 21.1 ms. Response time is a tad higher at 18 milliseconds, but most users won’t be bothered by this at all. In short, this TV is very fast and quite the perfect choice for gamers that are sensitive to input lag.
Samsung uses a One Connect Box to get rid of all cable inputs on the TV itself. It also serves as a method to future-proof your TV when new HDMI standards are released. Instead of buying a new TV set, you can just buy a new One Connect Box to ‘upgrade’ your television. Smart TV is being handled by Tizen OS which is very responsive, fast and offers support for most major apps.
Sound quality isn’t great with quite some distortion present, but the balance in tones is quite good.
Note: Samsung uses confusing names across continents and the KS8000 Series is known as the Samsung KS7000 Series outside of North America. A curved version of the KS8000 is also available with the exact same specifications: The KS8500 Series.
- Fantastic picture quality
- Great contrast
- 10-bit color depth
- Support for Wide Color Gamut
- Excellent input lag results
- Viewing angles are good for a VA-panel
- Maximum brightness ensures a premium HDR experience
- UHD Premium Certified
- One Connect Box
- No support for Dolby Vision
- Motion blur isn’t great
Available screen sizes: 65”, 78”
The absolute best LCD TV you can buy is without a single doubt, the Samsung KS9800 Series. The panel itself is practically identical to those used in the KS8000 Series so we’ll focus on the differences between these two models. But rest assured: the KS9800 has excellent image quality, viewing angles, color reproduction, input lag and HDR capabilities.
So, what’s different about the KS9800? First of all, it’s only available in a curved variant, which may or may not be a pro – it’s purely a design difference. The major difference here lies in a technique called FALD: Full-Array Local Dimming. This ensures an even better HDR presentation as the TV is able to dim parts of the backlight for better contrast values. The picture that’s displayed on the screen is truly breathtaking.
If you’re in the market for a large LCD TV with excellent input lag, you don’t have to worry about the price and you like curved screens, the KS9800 is definitely a top contender.
The best OLED TV of 2016: LG B6 OLED
Available screen sizes: 55”, 65”
We’ve mentioned it before in the 1080p section, but we’ll be glad to mention it again. It terms of picture quality, contrast and viewing angles: nothing can beat an OLED display. The pixels of an OLED display can all shut off entirely and independently, resulting in an infinite and perfect contrast – literally.
OLED displays do have the small caveat: some temporary image retention may occur if you display static images for a longer time – but for regular use (movies, cable and gaming) this won’t be an issue at all.
The design of LG’s B6 series is very eye-catching with it’s extremely thin display and small 0.43” borders. The stand also stands out (see what I did there?) thanks to the glass and metallic finish.
Image quality is absolutely phenomenal. The TV supports 10-bit color, is fully HDR-capable and offers support for Wide Color Gamut. The B6 also looks fantastic from every angle: the maximum viewing angle is a whopping 84 degrees. You’ll only notice a slight change in tint if you view the TV directly from the side.
As we’ve mentioned before, brightness in OLED TVs can’t be compared one-on-one with traditional LCD displays. The peak brightness is nonetheless quite impressive at 745 cd/m². Despite not having peak values of over 1000 cd/m², HDR content is absolutely fantastic on this display because of OLED’s nature.
Response time is excellent and deserves a perfect rating at only 0.1 millisecond. Motion-blur is non-existent, as is flickering. Input lag is slightly higher however – and this is where LCD displays have the slight advantage. In 1080p, input lag is 44.4 milliseconds and it’s lower in 4K and HDR at 38.2ms. These results aren’t ideal and the input lag also fluctuates which may be experienced as annoying. Casual gamers will prefer image quality over input lag however, but keep this in mind if you like an extremely fast input in games.
As with all other TV sets LG has released this year, it uses WebOS 2.0 for Smart TV features. WebOS works very fluently, is fast and has all the applications you can think of. You can also use the included remote as pointer for easier navigation.
If there’s one thing that’s sub-par about this display, it’s the sound-quality at higher volumes. Frequency response is excellent and movies and games sound great, but the TV has trouble keeping up in louder situations due to the distortion. On the other hand, if you can afford an OLED display such as this one, you probably already have a dedicated sound setup.
Dolby Vision is fully supported.
If you don’t mind the slightly higher input lag and want the best possible image quality, the LG B6 OLED is the way to go. Otherwise, take a look at the OLED TV below.
- Absolutely stunning picture quality
- Perfect contrast
- Excellent viewing angles
- WebOS works really well
- HDR is sublime
- Wide Color Gamut and 10-bit
- Dolby Vision support
- Great design
- Slightly higher input lag
- Temporary image retention with static images
Great OLED TV for gaming: LG E6 OLED
Available screen sizes: 55”, 65”
The LG E6 Series is identical to the slightly lower priced B6 Series, but gets rid of its most important caveats for a truly no-compromise experience. We won’t discuss this TV in full detail as image quality, contrast and features can be seen above but we’ll take a close look at the differences and what makes this TV truly flawless.
First of all, the E6 supports passive 3D, which is something that’s less and less common on displays. Not particularly useful for gaming, but a great feature to have if you’re into 3D Blu-Rays. You’ll also notice the soundbar right underneath the display. It won’t match the sound quality of a dedicated sound system, but it’s the best sound any television on the market has to offer.
Another small caveat of the B6 OLED Series was the slightly high input lag. That has been mostly resolved with the E6. In game mode, maximum input lag is 34.1 milliseconds. Unfortunately, HDR images are limited to ‘Movie Mode’ which also results in a higher input lag of 67.5ms. HDR Gaming can feel a bit sluggish to sensitive gamers. There is a chance LG may address this issue in a firmware update, as it’s widely requested by owners of the E6.
There’s a huge variety of television on the market, some of which are more suitable for gaming than others. The 4K revolution has never been this big with bunch of new features such as deeper colors, a wider color gamut and HDR content. For gaming, it’s not only the jump to four times the resolution compared to Full HD that counts: the upgrade from non-HDR to HDR is substantial.
All of the televisions we’ve covered above are great choices for gaming (and regular viewing too, of course). Although the best TV for you will primarily depend on personal preference (available screen sizes, curved or non-curved, input lag over image quality or vice versa…) and budget, we do have a couple of favorites: The Sony X800D is a fantastic device in the mid-range market, and in the high-end displays we can whole-heartedly recommend the Samsung KS8000 and both LG OLED displays.
What are your thoughts on these gaming TVs and 4K gaming in general? Are you excited to explore the new worlds of 4K and HDR with your gaming PC or gaming consoles? Or perhaps you have a TV recommendation of your own? As always, shoot us your thoughts and questions in the comments below.