The best gaming TV 2022: TVs for PS5 and Xbox Series X

best gaming TV against a techradar background
(Image credit: Future)
Editor's Note: December 2022

Thanks to dropping to some record-low prices during sales season, we still think the LG C2 is the best gaming TV for most people. Its mix of features, performance and image quality is still unbeaten – and it's the best option at 50 inches or under by a long way.

At the more mid-range end, the Samsung Q80B has had some great price drops that mean it's an ideal option if you want a high-quality big screen with elite gaming features that doesn't break the bank.

Matt Bolton, Managing Editor – Entertainment

Finding the best gaming TV is similar to looking for the best TV for movies or streaming. You still need to find good image quality, a price that suits you and a size that fits into the space you have at home. But there are specific requirements to consider. 

Luckily, we’ve reviewed many of the best TVs over the years and know what to look for in an excellent gaming TV, too. For example, the best gaming TVs need to offer a low level of input lag. This means there isn’t a delay between when you press a button and when you see the results on screen. Exact specs here will vary depending on your preferences, but generally input lag of under 17ms or, even better, under 15ms will suit the majority of gamers.

The good news is that many of the best TVs available today already have gaming features packed in. Premium models, such as the best OLED TVs are usually excellent for gaming no matter which one you choose. However, if you're sticking to a budget with the best TVs under $1000 or best TVs under £1000,  you’ll need to be careful. For instance, some cheaper models don't include HDMI 2.1 connectivity, which is needed to make the most of the next-gen PS5 or Xbox Series X consoles.

Read on for our list of the best gaming TV for all consoles, covering a range of budgets. We’ll also mention if these displays work particularly well for certain consoles to help you make the best choice for you.

Best gaming TVs: the list

best gaming TV LG C2 42-inch TV in a living room

(Image credit: LG)
The best gaming TV overall

Specifications

Available sizes: 42, 48, 55, 65, 77 and 83-inches
Input lag: 6ms
Refresh rate: 120Hz
VRR support: HDMI forum, FreeSync, G-Sync
HDMI ports (HDMI 2.1): 4 (4)

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful 4K HDR picture
+
Dolby Vision gaming mode
+
Four HDMI 2.1 ports

Reasons to avoid

-
No HDR10+
-
42- and 48-inch aren't brighter

If you want the best gaming TV and a knockout OLED screen, then the LG C2 is worth considering. It takes everything that's good about our previous top pick, the LG C1, and adds a significantly brighter display (in all but the 42 and 48-inch models) with improved processing and color saturation. You might find the C1 at a more affordable price now it's been heavily discounted, but the C2 has the better specification. 

During our testing, we were extremely impressed by the 4K OLED display, which delivers truly breathtaking black levels and dynamic range (the difference between the darkest and brightest parts of the screen), ideal whether you're gaming or watching box sets. Unlike LCD TVs, which are back or edge lit, OLED pixels generate their own light. That means you can have bright highlights and dark areas right next to each other, without the light leaking between them. 

For gamers there's a lot to love here, including FreeSync, G-Sync and standard VRR right out of the box. With a native 120Hz refresh rate and HDMI 2.1, PS5 and Xbox Series X owners can get the maximum resolution and frame rate from their new hardware, while high-end PC owners will have a solid option should they decide to connect their PC to their TV via HDMI. Also appreciated is the new "Prevent Input Delay" setting that can be set to boost for an incredibly low 1.5ms delay. 

When it comes to future-proofing for all consoles and gaming PCs as well, nothing does it better for the same price: it's the best TV for Dolby Vision gaming at 120fps on the Xbox Series X too.

Read the full LG C2 review

TCL 6-Series wall-mounted in a living room and displaying the TV's OS

(Image credit: TCL)
The best budget 4K TV for gamers

Specifications

Available sizes: 55, 65 and 75-inches
Input lag: 17.7ms
Refresh rate: 60Hz
VRR: No
HDMI ports (HDMI 2.1): 4 (2)

Reasons to buy

+
Bright, colorful HDR
+
Supports Dolby Vision

Reasons to avoid

-
Loss of darker details
-
Limited motion settings

If you have a big budget, there are better 4K TVs on the market for gaming, like many of the displays listed above. But if you're looking for a cheap option, having spent a lot of money on a new console, you'll need another option and, if you're in the US, the TCL 6-Series is our top budget recommendation. 

As well as being a fantastic budget choice for TV shows and movies, the TCL 6-Series is one of the best gaming TVs you can get in this sub-$1000 price range. Its performance per dollar is unmatched and its picture quality – despite a few minor flaws – will truly impress you for what you're paying. 

We recommend it specifically for gaming as you'll find three HDMI 2.0 ports with HDCP 2.2, one with HDMI ARC, one USB 2.0 port, a 3.5mm Headphone Jack and Digital Optical-In, plus an AV In port that takes your standard composite (Red-White-Yellow RCA) input, great for classic gaming or older AV devices. It’d be nice to see another HDMI port here, but three HDMI ports should be enough for all but the most ardent of AV enthusiasts out there.

In our review of the TCL 6-Series we wrote: "The TCL 6-Series is the best TV under $1,000, period. Packing Wide Color Gamut, Dolby Vision and a full-array panel at just $650 for the 55-inch 55R617, this is the budget-friendly 4K TV that we’ll recommend to friends, family and readers." In other words, if there’s a better value 4K TV on the market, we’ve yet to see it.

Read the full TCL 6-Series (R615, R617) review

Samsung Q80B TV on pink background

(Image credit: Samsung)
The best mid-range gaming TV with four HDMI 2.1 ports

Specifications

Available sizes: 50, 55, 65, 75 and 85-inches
Input lag: 10.2ms
Refresh rate: 120 Hz
VRR: FreeSync Premium Pro, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)
HDMI ports (HDMI 2.1): 4 (4)

Reasons to buy

+
Wide colour and superb picture detail
+
4k 120Hz HDMI support
+
Tizen Smart TV

Reasons to avoid

-
No Dolby Vision
-
Backlight blooming

The Samsung Q80B is a high value mid range 4K QLED screen that we consider to be a fantastic all-rounder as it's well-suited for everyday TV viewing and supports high frame rate gaming.

The Q80B is positioned just below the brand’s Mini LED Neo QLED models, offering a more conventional full array backlight instead. This means it doesn’t offer the black level performance or the HDR precision of its more expensive stablemates. 

However, with four HFR (high frame rate) compatible HDMI inputs, useful Game Bar user interface, and a polished smart home interface, only serious home cinephiles are likely to feel shortchanged. 

Indeed, the prominence of Samsung’s Game Hub, a full page portal to streaming games services, given it’s clear that’s where its key appeal lies. QLED, after all, is impervious to screen burn, which translates nicely to anxiety-free gaming sessions. The Samsung also has four HDMIs that all support 4K 120Hz playback. There’s also ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), Nvidia G-Sync and FreeSync Premium Pro support for gaming.

The set also has an above average Dolby Atmos compatible sound system. In our Samsung Q80B review we wrote: "Picture quality, particularly if you’re a bright room viewer, is impressive, and audio is immersive enough to stave off any additional soundbar purchase, at least until funds allow."

Read more: Samsung Q80B review

best gaming tv Samsung QN85B in living room

(Image credit: Samsung)
The best mini-LED gaming TV with full HDMI 2.1 support

Specifications

Available sizes: 55, 65, 75 and 85-inches
Input lag: 5.8ms (4k/120Hz)
Refresh rate: 120Hz
VRR support: FreeSync, Gsync
ALLM: Yes
HDMI ports (HDMI 2.1): 4 (4)

Reasons to buy

+
Bright and lavishly colourful images
+
Four HDMI 2.1
+
Very low lag

Reasons to avoid

-
Contrast isn't as good as OLED
-
No Dolby Vision

If you're looking for OLED-quality visuals and HDMI 2.1 support without the associated price tag, allow us to introduce the Samsung QN85B. It's a Mini-LED display that delivers incredible brightness, it has an exceptionally low input lag for a TV of this size and it delivers impressive HDR, albeit with the usual Samsung omission of Dolby Vision. 

With HDMI 2.1 support across all four HDMI inputs, compatibility with 4K 120Hz and support for ALLM, VRR and FreeSync Premium Pro, the QN85B looks equipped to make the most of a next-gen console. And when you add in the popping brightness, assured motion tracking and mile-wide color palette already discussed, that’s how it proves. Mostly, anyhow. Game mode is fantastically fast but you do lose a little of the contrast and a slight increase in white-tone blooming.

This is a spectacular TV for all kinds of entertainment. Contrast is superb for an LED TV, and it's a very bright panel with a wide and convincing colour palette. The image processing doesn't produce strange results with CGI as some processors do, and the IPS panel has decently wide viewing angles. And provided you stay clear of really old TV shows, the upsampling is excellent. 

The audio in Samsung TVs isn't always the best, but this is better than most: with four speaker drivers and 60W of power – plus Q-symphony compatibility with Samsung soundbars, which uses the TV speakers as part of a bigger surround system – it's fine. We'd prefer a little more detail to the sound, but we tend to listen through soundbars or AV receivers so it's not a deal-breaker for us.

Read the full Samsung QN85B review

Sony A80K series OLED TV displaying the Google TV interface

(Image credit: Future)
A 'Perfect for PS5' OLED gaming TV with stunning picture quality

Specifications

Available sizes: 55, 65 and 77-inches
Input lag: 12ms
Refresh rate: 120Hz
VRR: HDMI forum
HDMI ports (HDMI 2.1): 4 (2)

Reasons to buy

+
Deep blacks and rich, accurate colors
+
Full HDMI 2.1 features, plus PS5 Tone Mapping

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as bright as other high-end TVs
-
No HDR10+ support

This is Sony's mid-range OLED TV, offering a less advanced screen than the high-end Sony A95K, but still packing in all of its best image processing and – crucially for us – gaming features. 

You've got 4K 120Hz and VRR support over two HDMI 2.1 ports, with a great low latency of 12ms when we tested it. And this is part of Sony's Perfect for PS5 TV line-up, which means it includes Auto HDR Tone Mapping support with the console. This means the PS5 adjusts its HDR output to match the exact capabilities of the screen, so you always get the best-looking image.

And it's doesn't rely on its gaming features to get by. We were very impressed with the image quality in our tests, and said "The Sony A80K offers all the best things you expect from an OLED TV such as detailed blacks and well-saturated color, plus Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+ tech". The latter of these means that it sounds so good, you won't need to pay for a soundbar too.

It doesn't go as bright as the LG C2, or the higher-end LED and mini-LED TVs here, but it does offer an infinite contrast ratio – it's capable of 'true blacks', by which we mean we measured it at 0 nits when it was supposed to show blackness. Absolutely nothing. That's very impressive, and makes it great for atmospheric games or movies in HDR. It's a shame that it lacks HDR10+ for movies, but that's okay. There's Dolby Vision HDR support, which is the important thing.

If you've got a PS5 in particular and want an OLED that gets that absolute best out of it, this is an excellent choice.

Read the full Sony A80K review

Samsung S95B in wood-furnished living room, showing a green landscape on the TV

(Image credit: Samsung)
The best QD-OLED for outstanding looks

Specifications

Available sizes: 55 and 65-inches
Input lag: >10ms
Refresh rate: 120Hz
VRR: HDMI forum, AMD FreeSync
HDMI ports (HDMI 2.1): 4 (4)

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible ultra-slim design
+
Ground-breaking picture quality

Reasons to avoid

-
No Dolby Vision support
-
Unfriendly smart TV interface

Samsung's QD-OLED display combines the famous self-emissive properties of OLED with the brightness and color range potential of QLED, delivering superb picture quality and exceptional brightness with better blacks and contrast than most non-OLED displays. In our review, we said that with a bit of tweaking it provides a combination of brightness, black depth, contrast and color that we just haven’t seen before on a consumer set. It's something special.

There are four HDMI ports that all support 4K at 120Hz, variable refresh rate and automatic low latency mode switching features now available to Xbox Series X, PS5 and PC gamers with the latest premium Nvidia and AMD graphics cards. These cutting edge HDMIs are backed up, too, by three USBs and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi network options. The built-in sound system is very impressive for such a slim set, with Dolby Atmos and Samsung's Object Tracking tech for positional audio.

As with pretty much all Samsung TVs these days the S95B can support the ‘standard’ HDR10 format, the live stream-friendly HLG format, and Samsung’s home-grown HDR10+ format, which adds extra scene by scene data compatible TVs can use to deliver better HDR images. Samsung continues, however, not to support the premium Dolby Vision HDR format - even though more content is available in Dolby Vision than HDR10+.

Read the full Samsung S95B OLED TV review

The Samsung QN95A Neo QLED TV pictured in a bright living room

(Image credit: Samsung)
A Neo QLED option for great picture and impressive sound

Specifications

Available sizes: 55, 65 and 75-inches
Input lag: >10ms
Refresh rate: 120Hz
VRR: HDMI forum, AMD FreeSync
HDMI ports (HDMI 2.1): 4 (4)

Reasons to buy

+
Stellar picture quality
+
Impressive sound system

Reasons to avoid

-
No Dolby Vision or Atmos
-
Freeview Play would be nice

The Samsung QN95A was the company’s new flagship Neo QLED 4K TV last year, and it's the first to have a Mini LED backlight. It's a bit pricier than most models in this list – but if you have the cash, it could serve you well as a well-specified HDMI 2.1 TV for gaming.

There’s a host of cutting-edge gaming features that’ll please next-gen console owners, all of which are part of the Slim One Connect box that ships with the QN95A. 

The box houses four HDMI inputs, one of which (HDMI 3) supports eARC. All of the HDMI inputs are capable of handling up to 40Gbps, which means they can accept 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM. While not full HDMI 2.1 connections, they offer sufficient bandwidth, making this TV a great choice for next-gen gamers who want to take full advantage of their new console.

We were very impressed with the results, which included superb standard definition video and HDR with deep, solid blacks and impressively bright highlights. Unlike standard LED TVs the mini-LED backlight delivered its visuals without obvious light bloom or loss of shadow detail, and the quantum dot technology delivers impressive saturation and colour fidelity too. We liked the sound system too: the OTS+ audio system packed into this 120Hz means you're getting some impactful 4.2.2 channel sound for your games too.

Read the full Samsung QN95A Neo QLED TV review

The Sony XR-A95K TV pictured in a grey living room displaying a blue and green abstract shot

(Image credit: Sony)
The best for amazing image quality

Specifications

Available sizes: 55 and 65-inches
Input lag: 8.5ms
Refresh rate: 120Hz
VRR support: Yes
HDMI ports (HDMI 2.1): 4 (2)

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning picture quality
+
Exceptional build and design
+
Good sound out of the box

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 2 HDMI 2.0 ports
-
No HDR10+ support
-
Not quite as bright as hoped

When we tested the Sony A95K, Sony’s flagship, next-gen QD-OLED TV, we were so impressed by the picture we wrote in our review that it delivers “arguably the most flat-out beautiful images we’ve seen from a consumer television.” 

That’s no exaggeration. Thanks to a combination of its excellent Cognitive XR processor with a new Quantum Dot OLED screen, the picture quality is truly outstanding and although rivals—like the 65-inch Samsung S95B—deliver a fantastic experience, this is our top pick for picture alone. 

However, we know that the best TV isn’t necessarily the best gaming TV, so how does the Sony A95K fare? Well, there’s a lot for gamers to love here, including 4K images at 120Hz frame rates and variable refresh rates. The Sony A95K also supports ‘Perfect for PlayStation 5’, exclusive features built-in to the latest Sony TVs that make using a PS5 more immersive and seamless. 

For example, the console automatically optimizes its HDR game output settings based on the Sony TV it’s connected to, while the Auto Genre Picture mode is essentially a proprietary Sony version of the Auto Low Latency Mode HDMI 2.1 feature that enables TVs to switch in and out of their low-latency game picture presets automatically as a console or PC switches between game and video sources.

Unfortunately, it only has two HDMI 2.0 ports. By normal standards this is fine, but it’s weak for such a high-end TV with an eye-watering price tag. What’s more, there’s no 4K 120Hz Dolby Vision gaming mode for Xbox users, and you can’t enjoy Dolby Vision at all from any source if you don’t choose the necessary setting from the HDMI set-up menu.

The other major drawback is the price. Yes, the Sony A95K looks fantastic, but it’s more than $1000 / £1000 more expensive than several rivals at $3,999 / £3,499 / AU$5,995 for the 65-inch version.

Read the full Sony XR-A95K review

Best gaming TVs: FAQs

How to choose the best gaming TV

There are a few key things to consider when you're choosing the best gaming TV for you.

Game Mode and low latency: Latency is the time between when an image is sent by the console and when it actually shows up on the screen. Modern TVs do a lot of clever processing to images to make them look better, but this takes time, which means there's a delay between you pressing a button on a controller and seeing the result – that's not ideal in a fast-paced game. All TVs now have a Game Mode, or something with a similar name, which reduces the processing, meaning lower latency.

HDMI 2.1: The latest and greatest HDMI connector tech, which includes support for ALLM, 4K 120Hz, and VRR.

ALLM: Auto Low Latency Mode is a newer feature where consoles can tell the TV to switch into Game Mode automatically – you won't have to set it with a remote.

4K 120Hz: This means a TV can refresh its screen up to 120 times per second, while still displaying at 4K resolution. Cheaper TVs are more likely to refresh at 60 times per second. You may also find some mid-range 4K TVs that refresh at 120Hz, but don't include HDMI 2.1, so they can only show Full HD resolution at 120Hz, or 4K at 60Hz.

VRR: Variable Refresh Rate is a feature that means the TV will synchonize the speed at which is refreshes the screen with whatever the current framerate of your game is. This means games don't have to stay locked to 30, 60 or 120fps to avoid screen tearing, which means they can offering better graphics. There are three types of VRR: HDMI forum; FreeSync and G-Sync.

HDMI forum VRR: This is supported by both the PS5 and Xbox Series X, and is an official part of the HDMI 2.1 spec. Most TVs with HDMI 2.1 support it.

AMD FreeSync: This is supported by the Xbox Series X and AMD graphics cards on PC. It's pretty common to find on TVs, including on some without HDMI 2.1.

Nvidia G-Sync: This is supported by Nvidia graphics cards on PC, but not by consoles. It's pretty rare to find on TVs, too, but it does happen.

Is a TV good for PC gaming?

We've established that gaming TVs are fantastic companions for your games consoles, but what if you play on PC? There's certainly an appeal in playing graphically intensive PC games on a big screen, but how does that play out in practice?

While a gaming TV can certainly substitute for a PC gaming monitor, you'll need to make sure your PC can handle the resolution. 4K screens are naturally more taxing on your PC's resources due to them offering much higher image quality.

If your PC is up to scratch, you'll get a smooth experience at 4K on a bigger screen. If not, you may have to switch your game to a lower resolution like 1440p or 1080p, in which case your gaming TV might not be able to handle the upscaling needed very well. This will result in a blurrier than intended image thanks to the size of the TV compared to a monitor.

It's a double-edged sword, then, and almost entirely dependant on how powerful your PC is. If you've got the high-end parts to make it happen, then PC gaming on a TV can produce wonderful results. If it's not quite there, then you're better off playing on a smaller monitor able to output a sharper, cleaner image.

How much is a gaming TV?

TVs suited for gaming vary wildly in price, depending on a wide number of factors. 4K gaming TVs are incredibly common these days, and can be bought for as little as $300 / £300 / AU$450. Of course, you're getting very basic features with a TV at this price, with a size of around 43-inches and potentially lacking niceties like HDR (high dynamic range) which packs a much greater gamut of colors.

There are plenty of cheap 4K gaming TVs available, then, but those of you looking for the best experience possible might want to seek out a 4K gaming beast like the LG C1, which offers gorgeous HDR and some of the lowest input lag we've ever seen. Of course, LG's flagships don't come cheap, and you can expect to pay around $1,499 / £1,699 (around AU$2,999). And that's just for the smallest available model in each region.

Do I need an 8K gaming TV?

The short answer? No.

While 8K games are absolutely on the horizon, and the PS5 / Xbox Series X console come with this capability baked-in, there's no immediate need to get an 8K TV for gaming. Gaming devs are still getting to grips with 4K performance, and in general other picture specifications like a high frame rate (60fps, 120fps) are going to be more important in the coming years.

In 2025, maybe it'll be a different answer, but for now we think the 4K gaming TVs listed above will do you just fine.

How we test

How we test the best gaming TVs

Why you can trust TechRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Read the specs and marketing claims of TV makers and they often over promise on what the TV can really do. That's why we've extensively tested all of the best gaming TVs in this list to ensure they work well and deliver on their next-gen gaming specs.

What that means is we'll publish the official specs from the TV manufacturer, like the input lag or refresh rates on offer, then tell you ourselves whether the TV lived up to them in practice. 

To do this, we tend to review TVs with a range of different content. Of course, next-gen gaming takes priority in this guide, but we imagine you'll also want to know what movies and TV shows are like to watch as well. 

That means as well as testing for all of the key specs you need in a gaming TV, like refresh rates and HDMI connections, we're also looking for good picture quality, vibrant colors and viewing angles to suit all kinds of rooms.

Sound is less of a priority with most gaming TVs as you'll get the best experience from gaming headphones or a soundbar, but it's always good to know you'll get a decent built-in experience. Which is why we've also detailed what it was like to listen to these TVs without additional devices, too.

As we've reviewed many TVs over the years – and many of the best gaming TVs – all of our testing isn't done in isolation, but takes into account the performance and specs of every TV that's come before it. 

Why should I upgrade?

A press image from the Deathloop game

Deathloop (PS5, 2021) (Image credit: Arkane)

You may be wondering why you need a gaming-specific television. After all, won't a regular TV do the job just fine?

Sure, any old HD or 4K TV will be able to display the picture information sent through from a games console, as long as it has an HDMI 2.0 port. But there are a host of reasons worth getting a TV with dedicated gaming specification, to really elevate your play in how it looks, sounds, and feels.

4K resolution

If you're looking for one of the best TVs for gaming, the most basic requirement is 4K. The Xbox One S outputs all of its games in 4K, which is achieved via surprisingly good built-in upscaling, though the Xbox One X is required for native, game engine-integrated 4K support. The PS4 Pro also outputs games in 4K, using a mix of upscaling and in-game enhancement – while the Nintendo Switch only outputs at HD to a TV, though there's chatter around a possible 4K refresh coming in 2021.

Frame rate handling

Now that the Xbox One X is almost here and promising native 4K resolution games running at 60 frames a second, make sure that whatever TV you buy has the latest specification HDMI sockets. If it doesn’t have at least one HDMI socket built to the v2.0a specification, it won’t be able to receive 4K resolution at anything higher than 30 frames a second.

Fortunately far more of this year’s 4K TVs do feature HDMI 2.0a sockets than in previous years, but it’s still something that’s worth double checking - especially if you’re buying a particularly cheap TV.

The new HDMI 2.1 standard will no doubt become the benchmark for high-end gaming in time, but we're yet to see it really rolled out across commercially-available sets.

A screengrab from the Halo Infinite game

Halo Infinite (Xbox Series X, 2021) (Image credit: 343 Industries)

High dynamic range (and high peak brightness)

Sitting right alongside 4K in today’s video world is high dynamic range (HDR) technology. This delivers pictures with a much wider light range than the standard dynamic range pictures we’ve been living with for decades in a bid to get the pictures we’re seeing on our screens looking closer to the way our eyes see the real world.

This is something the Xbox Series X has an advantage in, with an Auto HDR feature that applies some HDR magic even to SDR games that haven't been purposefully remastered for high dynamic range. The PS5, as well as last-gen consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One, though, do display in HDR in games that support the format.

The Xbox Series X also supports Dolby Vision – a dynamic HDR format with more precisely calibrated contrast – though currently only for streaming apps. You won't find it supported on the built-in 4K Blu-ray player, or actually in any Xbox Series X games – though that latter point is expected to be amended before 2021 is out.

Most people would say that HDR delivers more impact than 4K, especially on small TVs. The only problem is that HDR puts a lot of pressure on a TV, since it demands both much more brightness than SDR, and better contrast so that the extra brightness and deeper blacks can potentially share the screen simultaneously.

Many movies and games target 1,000 nits or so for their brightest elements, so if you have a TV less bright than that it won’t unlock HDR’s full potential. That's especially true in a video game environment, where graphics can be more stark in contrast terms than ‘real life’ tends to be.

Bit depth

When considering HDR, you might want to think about your gaming TV’s bit depth. too. The best HDR experience requires a 10-bit screen able to support 1024 values of each RGB colour – otherwise you'll get an inferior colour performance, including, possibly, colour striping where you should see subtle blends. Most premium HDR TVs these days are 10-bit, but it’s far from a given at the affordable end of the TV market.

Xbox and PlayStation consoles automatically assess the bit-depth of your TV and select the optimum HDR video output accordingly. Xbox models even provide a description of your TV’s capabilities under 4K TV Details in its Advanced Video Settings menu.

To be clear, it’s entirely possible for an 8-bit TV to deliver a good HDR colour performance if they have a strong video processing engine – but 10-bit panels certainly have an immediate advantage.

One other point to add here is that some TVs – including high-end Samsung models – actually support 12-bit colour management/processing, even though their panels are only natively 10-bit. Xbox consoles however do provide Colour Depth boxes in their Video Fidelity settings that let you select the maximum bit performance for your particular TV.

The Xbox Series X controller

Xbox Series X with Xbox Wireless Controller (Image credit: Micosoft)

Color purity

Another advanced setting but important thing to consider for the ultimate gaming visuals is chroma subsampling.

This video compression term refers to a TV’s colour purity, and is usually written in such terms as 4:4:4 and 4:2:0. These numbers reveal how many pixels colour is sampled from in the top and bottom rows for every two rows of four pixels. So with 4:2:0, for instance, colour is being sampled from two pixels in the top row and no pixels in the bottom row.

From this it follows that the bigger the numbers are, the purer the colour performance will be, as there’s less ‘guesstimating’ of what colours should look like. The problem is, full 4:4:4 colour support requires a lot of extra image data, and so cannot be handled by the HDMI connections or processing of all TVs.

In truth, the differences in picture quality between 4:4:4 and 4:2:2 and even 4:2:0 aren’t usually enormous. They can be more pronounced with gaming graphics than video, though, so it’s worth trying to check what a TV you’re thinking of buying can support – even though it’s not information regularly carried in TV spec lists. The latest consoles are pretty good at detecting the optimum chroma subsampling a TV can support, automatically adjusting their outputs according.

It’s something that can cause annoying ‘handshaking’ issues with some TVs, though, and home consoles now tend to provide subsampling ‘limiter’ options in their video output menus (‘Enable 4:2:2’ on the Xbox One S, and 2160 YUV4:2:0 on the PS4 Pro). 

Surround sound

Sound design has always played an integral part in a great gaming experience. It’s getting taken to another level these days, though, with the arrival of surround sound gaming. In fact, the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X even support Dolby Atmos: Dolby’s most advanced sound system yet, which introduces a height channel and ‘object based’ precision to the soundstage.

Things to pay attention to are whether speakers are facing forwards (as this will almost always give you a more direct, clean sound); rated power output; whether there’s a dedicated bass speaker (often found on a TV’s rear); built-in soundbars; and the number of individual speakers used.

Sony is making much of the '3D Audio' capability of the PS5, too, so expect good TV speakers to become even more crucial when the next-gen console launches. (There's no Dolby Atmos support on the PS5, though.)

Matt Bolton
Managing Editor, Entertainment

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Entertainment, meaning he's in charge of persuading our team of writers and reviews to watch the latest TVs and movies on gorgeous TVs and listen to fantastic speakers and headphones. It's a tough task, as you can imagine. Matt has over a decade of experience in tech publishing, and previously ran the TV & audio coverage for our colleagues at T3.com, and before that he edited T3 magazine. During his career, he's also contributed to places as varied as Creative Bloq, PC Gamer, PetsRadar, MacLife, and Edge. TV and movie nerdism is his speciality, and he goes to the cinema three times a week. He's always happy to explain the virtues of Dolby Vision over a drink, but he might need to use props, like he's explaining the offside rule.

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