4K Tvs Will Let You Game With the Best Picture Quality Possible
A few years ago 4K TVs were an incredibly exorbitant expense while there was little in the way of Ultra HD content to actually make them worthwhile. However, now that the PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, and capable gaming PCs, have made 4K HDR gaming commonplace, there are plenty of reasons look into the best 4K TVs for gaming.Now is an especially good time to look into the best 4K TVs for gaming now that they’ve become relatively affordable and many sets push the best image quality ever seen. 4K TVs aren’t just a huge leap in resolution over your 1080p display, they also can offer a much brighter picture with colors that pop and inky blacks. If you’re set on getting the best 4K TV for gaming I’ll put you on the right path with my suggestions below.
TL;DR – These are the Best 4K TVs for Gaming:
1. Vizio P659-G1 Quantum
Best 4K TV for Gaming
Vizio P659-G1 Quantum
Screen size: 65″ ● Resolution: 4K ● Panel type: Full Array LED ● HDR Compatibility: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG ● Peak Brightness: 1,100cd/m2 ● Local Dimming Zones: 200 ● Refresh Rate: 240Hz ● Inputs: 5 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x Component, 1 x RF
Vizio’s 65-inch P-Series Quantum is the very best value can get out of a 4K TV right now. Priced at a reasonable $1,400, you get a lot of screen equipped with 200 local dimming zones and and a peak brightness of 1,100 nits, which allows this panel to display searing bright sunlight right next to the complete darkness without any off-putting bloom effects.
The 4K TV also features a built-in Google Chromecast and supports AirPlay 2, allowing it to seamless connection with your Android phone or Apple devices. You can even command the TV with your voice using Google Assistant or Alexa if that over the included remote controller.
2. TCL 55R617
Best Budget 4K TV for Gaming
Screen size: 55″ ● Resolution: 4K ● Panel Type: Full Array LED ● HDR Compatibility: Dolby Vision, HDR10 ● Peak Brightness: 1,200cd/m2 ● Local Dimming Zones: 96 ● Refresh Rate: 60Hz ● Inputs: 3 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x Composite, 1 x RF
The latest model TCL 4K TVs are great for gaming, and the TCL 55R617 (read our review) also happens to be the best low-cost 4K TV around right now, period. It’s Roku-enabled, which means its preloaded with the most popular streaming apps (such as HBO Now and Netflix).
Throw in the fact this 55-inch 4K TV set offers a great HDR picture while costing much less than other comparable sets, and the TCL 55R617 one of the best TV for gaming without a doubt.
3. Hisense 55H8F
Best Ultra Cheap 4K Gaming TV
Screen size: 55″ ● Resolution: 4K ● Panel type: Full-Array LED ● HDR Compatibility: Dolby Vision, HDR10 ● Peak Brightness: 700cd/m2 ● Local Dimming Zones: 60 ● Refresh Rate: 240Hz ● Inputs: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 2 x HDMI 1.4, 1 x Composite, 1 x RF
The Hisense 55H8F is pretty much the most affordable 4K HDR TV for gaming you can buy. It comes at one helluva bargain at just $480 for a 55-inch set that supports Dolby Vision and HDR 10.
Though with only 60 local dimming zones and a peak brightness of 700 nits, it’s not going to be the world’s most mind-blowing television. However, if you’re on a tight budget like a college student just looking for some dorm room essentials, this could be the TV for you.
4. LG C9 OLED
Best High-End OLED 4K TV
LG C9 OLED
Screen size: 55″ ● Resolution: 4K ● Panel Type: OLED ● HDR Compatibility: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG ● Peak Brightness: 850cd/m2 ● Refresh Rate: 120Hz ● Inputs: 4 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x Composite, 1 x RF
OLED (or Organic Light-Emitting Diode) TVs were practically made for gaming. With their extremely short response times and fast refresh rates, you really can’t ask for a better panel designed for gaming and the best among them is the LG C9 OLED.
The LG C9 OLED produces an outstanding image with inky blacks with extremely low motion blur, Thanks to its nearly-instantaneous response time, you’ll also hardly experience any lag between hitting your gaming mouse or controller and seeing the action unfold on the screen. The only thing holding back the LG C9 OLED is its high price, which is why I chose the Vizio P659-G1 Quantum as the best 4K TV for gaming.
5. Samsung Q90R (QN65Q90RAFXZA)
Best QLED 4K TV for Gaming
Samsung Q90R (QN65Q90RAFXZA)
Screen size: 64.5″ ● Resolution: 4K ● Panel Type: Full-Array LED ● HDR Compatibility: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG ● Peak Brightness: 1,300cd/m2 ● Local Dimming Zones: 480 ● Refresh Rate: 240Hz ● Inputs: 4 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x RF
The Samsung Q90R is the company’s latest and highest-end 4K TV featuring QLED technology. Thanks to its quantum dot laced pixels, this 4K TV hits the highest peak brightness out of this list and that not only helps it reproduce the searingly bright sun, but also render a greater range of contrast. This is especially true when paired with its 480 local dimming zones, which allows the TV to display blinding whites right next to inky blacks.
The Samsung Q90R was also made to game with FreeSync support built right into the TV to give couch gamers a variable refresh experience, given that they’re plugging in an Xbox One S, Xbox One X, or AMD-powered gaming PC.
6. Sony X950G (XBR-65X950G)
The more affordable LED option
Screen size: 65″ ● Resolution: 4K ● Panel type: Full Array LED ● HDR Compatibility: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG ● Peak Brightness: 1,250cd/m2 ● Local Dimming Zones: 60 ● Refresh Rate: 120Hz ● Inputs: 4 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x Composite, 1 x RF
The Sony X950G (read our review) is the latest version of Sony’s long line of excellent 4K LED TVs designed for gaming. it’s available in many sizes from a pedestrian 55-inches to an obscenely enormous 85-inches, but I’ve picked out the more middle of the road 65-inch version that will set you back about $1,800 upon purchase.
The Sony X950G is a big step up over its predecessor, the X900F by offering 12 more local dimming zones and an additional 250-nits when it comes to peak brightness. This TV also comes loaded with a clean version of Android TV that feels nice and snappy, but if you prefer to use voice search to do all the work for you, it also supports both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. HDR support on this includes DolbyVision, HDR10, and HLG, and, of course, it produces a big, beautiful picture.
7. Samsung NU800
Best 4K TV for Gaming with Freesync Support
Screen size: 55″ ● Resolution: 4K ● Panel Type: Edge-lit LCD ● HDR Compatibility: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG ● Peak Brightness: 800cd/m2 ● Refresh Rate: 120Hz ● Inputs: 4 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x RF
Gaming monitors aren’t the only displays that can reap the tear-free benefits of AMD’s FreeSync technology as the Samsung NU800 series is one of the few to also include this feature. When connected to an AMD-powered gaming PC or Xbox One X, you’ll be able to play games in a perfectly smooth and tear-free experience.
The Samsung NU800 also happens to offer the lowest input lag you’ll find—consistently clocking in below 20ms. Light output is more than sufficient for HDR gaming but not as high as our best or high-end picks.
8. LG C8 OLED
Best OLED 4K TV for Gaming
LG C8 OLED
The LG C8 OLED might be over a year old at this point, but its still a fantastic 4K TV even next to its LG C9 successor. You can expect excellent light output that almost approaches 1,000cd/m2 and HDR highlights that really pop from this excellent 4K TV. For gaming specifically, the LG C8 offers an extremely low response time and input lag.
The main appeal of the C8 over the C9 is this older LG 4K TV is slightly cheaper. The only things you’ll won’t get from the latest LG C9 model are the newer HDMI 2.1 inputs, so you won’t miss too much by choosing this older 4K TV for gaming.
9. LG B8 OLED
Best Budget OLED 4K TV for Gaming
LG B8 OLED
OLED TVs typically cost an arm and a leg, but the 55-inch LG B8 OLED is the best OLED 4K TV for gaming you’re going to find for under $1,500. It’s not just more affordable than most OLED 4K sets, it’s also one of the best for gaming with nearly instantaneous response time and blur-free motion. As you might expect from an OLED TV, the LG B8 OLED also produces splendid colors, perfect blacks, and wide viewing angles.
10. HP Omen X Emperium 65
Best 4K Gaming Monitor TV
HP Omen X Emperium 65
On Best Buy
Screen size: 64.5″ ● Resolution: 4K ● Panel Type: IPS G-Sync HDR ● HDR Compatibility: HDR10 ● Peak Brightness: 1,000cd/m2 ● Refresh Rate: 144Hz ● Inputs: 3 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4 ● Weight: 71.43 pounds ● Size: 57″ x 36.8 x 13.4″
Although the HP Omen X Emperium 65 (read our review) is technically an oversized gaming monitor, it’s big enough and pretty enough to replace your living room TV. It’s also specced to the gills with a 64-inch 4K screen that hits a 1,000-nit peak brightness and 144Hz refresh rate. Unlike a TV, the HP Omen X Emperium 65 skips over a lot of image processing steps, to give you a much more responsive gaming experience and the screen itself is rated for a 4ms response time.
The HP Omen X Emperium 65 also features an integrated Nvidia Shield, allowing it to function as a SmartTV and can stream games with Nvidia’s GeForce Now service. The 65-inch monitor also comes with a massive stereo soundbar that can simulate the wide dynamic range of a multi-speaker sound system.
What’s Next for 4K TVs for Gaming
Just like any bit of technology, there’s always something better coming around the bend. With that in mind, we’re going quickly go over what we expect—with both rumors and real news—will enter the world of 4K TV for gaming soon.
TCL recently revealed its complete 2019 line-up with 6 series TVs and a completely new premium 8 series. First up TCL’s high-end 8-series introduces a 75-inch TV with 25,000 mini-LEDs to power its 1,000 local dimming zones—basically making it an honorary OLED TV. Unfortunately, the price of the TV is going to be rather high at $3000 when it releases in October 2019.
Of course, TCL also had updates for its ever-popular 6 series and this year it has been given an injection of quantum dots, making them QLED screens. TCL has also given its mid-range sets some extra local dimming zones, which together should help improve HDR color.
OnePlus finally unveiled it’s first TV, but don’t get your hopes on seeing it stateside any time soon as it has launched first in India. However, even from a far we can tall you the TV sports a 4K QLED Panel that supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. OnePlus’ first TV also comes with a built in Chromecast so it comes preloaded with Netflix and other popular streaming apps.
Now that we’re entering into the fall months, we’re practically hurtling our way to CES 2020, which of course you can expect will be jam-packed with a ton of next-generation TVs announcements. The new 6-series is slated to release later this September with a 55-inch and 65-inch set going for $600 and $100 respectively.
What to Look for in a 4K TV for Gaming
There are many qualities to consider in choosing the best 4K TV for gaming: Color accuracy, contrast, color gamut, viewing angles, power utilization, screen reflections, smart TV features, and more.
However, since we’re all primarily concerned about gaming here, a built-in “gaming mode” with low input latency (ideally, 35ms or less) is crucial here. Without it, you’re guaranteed to have your head in your hands wondering why you can’t pull off Scorpion’s spear move in Mortal Kombat 11 or track targets in Apex Legends.
Input lag is a critical spec to pay attention to when considering a 4K TV for gaming, and RTings has a very detailed chart showing the results of its input lag testing on all the best 4K TVs in various modes.
OLED vs LED (or QLED)
In your search for the best 4K TV for gaming, you’ll come across two primary types of TVs: OLED and LED. While they might be very similar in name, they are worlds apart as separate panel technologies.
OLED TVs are categorized as an emissive screen technology, which means the pixels generate their own light by using an electric current to excite its compounds. As the pixels on an OLED TV generate both the picture and produce their own light, they can achieve true black simply by running zero current through them. No energy, no light.
In contrast, LCD/LED displays have separate image generating and backlight layers that produce the final picture you see. In this relationship, the backlight (LED) illuminates the pixels (LCD), which generate the actual images you see. To achieve the same level of true black with LED/LCD sets, TV manufacturers have implemented fully array backlighting systems, which split the backlighting layer into zones known as “local dimming zones.” When you run across this specification, know that the more local dimming zones a TV has the better it is.
Samsung brands its TVs with the company’s proprietary QLED (or quantum dot LED TV) technology. These QLED TVs essentially contain an extra layer of quantum dots that enhances the brightness and color spectrum of traditional LED panels.
In this way, quantum dots essentially act as an enhancement filter to produce brighter and purer light than LEDs can. This is exactly why Samsung TVs can hit peak brightnesses that are often a thousand or several thousand nits brighter thank OLED panels.
Ultimately you get a largely identical image from either display, but there are some unique drawbacks and advantages to each panel type.
LCD displays can produce much higher peak brightness levels, but they can suffer from narrower viewing angles and muddier blacks as the display can’t fully turn off its backlight like an OLED pixel can just go to black.
OLED displays, on the other hand, are often dimmer than LCDs and can suffer from potential image retention (also called burn-in) problems. This issue occurs when static elements, such as a network logo or health bar, on the screen become temporarily or permanently imprinted onto the screen.
The good news is television manufacturers are constantly improving their respective display technologies. In the last year, LCD/LED technology have been squeezing more and more local dimming zones into their displays, meanwhile, OLED displays continue to get brighter every year.
Making sense of HDR
High-Dynamic-Range is a technology that greatly increases the range of brightness levels your TV can display, making a bigger difference between the brightest bright areas and darkest dark areas than non-HDR technology. It’s a huge upgrade in visual quality, and one of the best things about 4K TV sets. But it’s also a little complicated.
There are two major HDR standards supported by TVs today: HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Most 4K TVs that support HDR have support for HDR10, with a select few of the higher-end sets supporting Dolby Vision. When it comes to gaming, HDR10 is all you need, as that is what is output by the PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X.
A TV that supports Dolby Vision would only be useful if you have a standalone 4K Blu-Ray player or a streaming media box with Dolby Vision support; it will not give you HDR gaming with your console.
Except for a couple of hard to find Sony TVs, all HDR-capable HDTVs are 4K TVs. For all practical purposes, there are no 1080p HDR TVs. So if you want to buy an HDR-capable TV set to play PC, PS4 or Xbox One games at 1080p, you’ll be buying a 4K TV.
Hey, it’s good to be future-proof anyway, right?
It’s also important that the peak brightness of an HDR TV will be quite high in order to produce a big difference between dark and light areas in HDR mode. If a TV supports HDR but isn’t very bright, you won’t really see much of an improvement in image quality. For my own suggestions, I’ve ensured that every 4K TV in this guide supports HDR10, and has a sufficiently high peak brightness to make it look good.
Getting the most out of your 4K TV
Outside of playing games on 4K capable gaming PCs and consoles (the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X), 4K and HDR content lives primarily on these services below.
- Cable and Satellite: Providers are slowly rolling out more 4K and HDR content using HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) HDR as opposed to HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, or Advanced HDR. Some newer TVs have HLG support and some older can support it after a firmware update (be sure to check your specific model).
- Netflix: Most new Netflix original series and movies, (outside of animation and kids stuff) are in 4K, some with HDR as well.
- Amazon Prime: Many Amazon Prime Originals are also in 4K, again with HDR in some cases.
- YouTube: The biggest repository of cat videos also has a surprisingly large amount of 4K content, too.
- Mixer: Microsoft’s game streaming service Mixer can stream in 4K, too.
Streaming in 4K requires a pretty good internet connection and one of the best routers. For example, Netflix recommends users should be able to support at least 25Mbps of throughput on their home network. If all that is a bit confusing, I’ve posted a summary of them all right here for you.
To take advantage of 4K content you need a streaming box or console capable of streaming in 4K, or you can use the integrated smart TV app. The Xbox One S and Xbox One X support 4K streaming apps, as does the PS4 Pro, but the last time I checked the YouTube app on the Xbox platform still needs an update to enable it.
You can also use streaming boxes like the Roku (Roku Premiere only does 4K but not HDR, while Premiere+ and Ultra do both), a 4K-capable Android TV box (like the Nvidia Shield TV), the Apple TV 4K, or the Chromecast Ultra.
Of course, if you don’t want to stream, you can buy 4K UHD Blu-ray discs. This is the costliest option, but provides the best picture and sound quality. The Xbox One S and Xbox One X support the format, while the PS4 Pro does not.
A quick note on HDMI: You’ll need HDMI 2.0 compatible ports (on your console, receiver/switch, and TV) to take advantage of 4K 60fps HDR goodness. You may see cables labeled as “4K certified” or something like that, but that’s nonsense.
There are only two real types of HDMI cables: Standard Speed (with and without Ethernet) and High Speed (with and without Ethernet). As long as you have a High-Speed cable, you should be good to go. That doesn’t mean all cables are the same, but you shouldn’t pay a lot more for a bunch of marketing.
If you’re in the market for something more affordable, check out my guide to the best cheap TVs for gaming. I also have guides to help your PC get into shape for the new era of 4K gaming, including the best 4K gaming monitors and the best graphics cards.
Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam
John Higgins has been writing and testing all manner of audio, video, computer, and gaming gear since the early ’00s. He has written for print and online publications including Home Theater, Wirecutter, Sound & Vision, SoundStage!, and Channel Guide. He is also a post audio editor, composer, and musician in Los Angeles.
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4K Tvs Will Let You Game With the Best Picture Quality Possible