With the Xbox One and PS4 next-gen consoles arriving later this year, retailers are expecting a spike in TV sales.

"With the arrival of the Xbox One and PS4 providing potential for true innovation in console gameplay and style, consumers will undoubtedly want the whole experience to be as immersive as possible," John Kempner, head Vision Buyer at John Lewis, tells TechRadar.

  • Read our updated PS4 review
  • We also updated our Xbox One review!

"The further innovations in each console's overall entertainment package provides even more of a reason to experience everything each console has to offer through a quality display, from games to movies and further interactive content."

Many people, it seems, are planning to marry their new console with a new screen, so what exactly should you be looking for in a good gaming TV?

Input lag

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Probably the most significant factor for determining the performance of a gaming TV is input lag. This is the amount of time it takes a TV to actually render an image after receiving an input from its HDMI source. As you can imagine, TVs that take longer to actually produce their images can severely damage gaming performance with certain types of timing-related games, such as Call of Duty and Guitar Hero.

It's easy to imagine the scenario, we've all been there: you encounter an enemy, you swivel and manage to get off a couple of rounds but the other guy is just too quick, and you're dead. If you've hooked your console up to a cheap TV you picked up at the supermarket for 60 shekels last Christmas, you might find this happening to you rather a lot – and it probably isn't your fault. Or at least, some of the time it won't be.

Game Mode

The fact is that all modern TVs using video processing to tune an optimal image according to the specifics of the individual electronics. Video processing causes input lag, and it's because of this that almost all TVs carry a Game mode. Generally speaking, Game Mode on a TV should switch off as much of the processing as possible, reducing the lag.

Annoyingly, though, some Game modes still leave some processing on, requiring you to turn more of it off yourself, and Samsung bizarrely 'hides' its Game mode away in an obscure submenu rather than putting it with the rest of the picture presets.

A good result for a TV is anything around 30ms or less, whereas anything above 60ms will definitely lead to a drop in your gaming performance.

The best TV we've tested by far in this respect is Sony's new 55W905, which measured under 10ms of input lag - the lowest figure we've ever tested. This make's the Sony a brilliantly responsive TV for gaming, and as we'll see, that's not the only thing it excels at either.

Panasonic's plasmas test quite well in this regard too, at around 35ms, as do Samsung's top-end LEDs. LG LCD TVs (and other passive 3D TVs) tend to test not so well in this respect.

Plasma

Plasma's gaming benefits are chiefly its deeper contrast and lack of motion blur compared to most LCD screens, though on the downside you have to be a bit careful about image retention/screen burn as games tend to place images on the screen that don't move throughout the duration of your session.

This makes plasma the ideal screen type for games like The Last of Us, which features a lot of dark scenes, moody cityscapes and scary set pieces. Plasma is also excellent for racing games, with the lack of motion blur improving the sharpness of the 3D environment around you.

LCD

LCD's main gaming benefits are dazzling brightness, bold colours, and the fact that you can get small screen sizes relative to plasma (many gamers still like/have to play on a smaller second screen in the house). But motion tends to blur more, and contrast isn't generally as good.