Having the best gaming TV you can afford makes a huge difference to your game. As big budget games get better and better looking, so 4K TV technology evolves to make each one look even more spectacular. While you may have a 4K TV already, the difference in quality between today's panels and the early 4K sets varies wildly. And that's before you start considering all the gaming enhancement modes or special features each TV might have to make colors look brighter, gameplay smoother, and blacks even darker.
When you're looking for the best gaming TV there are a few essentials you should consider. If you're going to spend big on a new 4K TV, you should really be considering either an OLED or QLED TV. These advanced panels use backlighting technology to make colors more vivid, and blacks even darker. Generally speaking, OLED TVs are better for blacks, while QLED TVs produce stunning colors. You can get these types of TV from about $1000 upwards and the picture quality you get is well worth the money. However, few can afford to splash so much cash on a gaming TV. Lower budget models will still produce brilliant pictures, if you pick the right ones, and many have excellent Game Modes to boost your experience even further. You can even get some of the best 4K TVs under $500, if you pick a smaller screen.
Here are our best gaming TVs for 2019. There are a range of prices to suit every budget, and these are the cheapest prices you'll see right now.
Best gaming TVs for 2019
1. LG OLED55E8PUA - 65" OLED 4K TV
The best gaming TV in 2019
Screen size: 55 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 120 Hz | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1226(w) x 777(h) x 50(d)mm
Those lucky enough to have a hefty bank balance should really consider treating themselves to this wonderful OLED. The E8 is one of the most beautiful ‘traditional’ looking sets we’ve ever seen, and it's far better value than LG's W8 TVs, which are designed to be hung on a wall and used primarily for sports. The E8's clear, ultra skinny stand has been designed in such a way that it appears the picture is floating in mid-air, making it even easier to become immersed in gorgeous games like Forza 7 or God Of War.
LG’s 8 series also benefits from an impressive new Alpha 9 processor, helping make the TV’s HDR pictures brighter than previous OLEDs from the South Korean firm. In HDR10 mode, compatible games appear more dynamic, as long as you have Dynamic Tone Mapping switched on. Additionally, and unlike 7 series models, the E8 no longer dims the picture when set to HDR game mode, helping the likes of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and its lovely high dynamic range setting look even more alluring. Throw in predictably peerless blacks, and responsive input lag of just 21.4 ms, and this incredible OLED performs as well as it looks.
Here's our full guide to the best LG TVs for gaming, including advice on OLED tech.
2. Samsung QN55Q6FN - 55" QLED 4K TV
The best value QLED TV, and it's currently under $1000
Screen size: 55 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 120 Hz | Panel technology: QLED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1226(w) x 777(h) x 50(d)mm
If you want QLED without breaking the bank, you can now pick up this Samsung set for less than $1000. For what you get that's an incredible deal, because this panel exhibits way brighter colors than standard LED sets (it manages about 1,500 nits), even if its blacks can't quite match those you find in LG's OLED TVs (which are about 2-3 times more expensive). There are more advanced models in the Q series but, given how excellent the tech in this TV is, that's no real disadvantage (if you want to pay plenty more, then the Q7 and Q8 models are slightly better, but not as good value for money). Obviously, we'd recommend the Q9 or Q90R if you can afford it, but these TVs go for well over $1500. The Q6 was one of 2018's best value TVs, and has since been replaced by the Q60, but that just means prices on the Q6 are as low as ever. Sure, it has 2018's tech, but the newer Samsung sets really don't add much, and the older Q6 models are still very much some of the best gaming TVs you'll find.
It has a 21ms response rate, which is first-class for gaming, its images are sharper than most OLEDs, and it features all Samsung's excellent picture tweaking features (that are accessed by a pleasingly fast UI). The downside? Sound isn't as good as more expensive TVs - this is all about the picture - although it's by no means poor. This TV comes with 4x HDMI ports, 2x USB ports, and a composite connection, so you can easily get most of your devices plugged in safely.
Here's our guide to the best Samsung TVs for gaming, including advice on QLED tech.
3. LG 49SK8000PUA - 49" 4K TV
LG delivers a fabulously fast budget set
Screen size: 49 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1236(w) x 774(h) x 248(d)mm
If money is an issue – let’s be honest, for most of us it is – you should definitely check out this Samsung. While the SK8000’s black levels aren't as good as the $2000+ sets, its budget price point and excellent motion handling make it a brilliant 4K option for gamers on a budget. Though the set’s edge-lit dimming isn’t great, this won’t matter if you’re playing games in a reasonably well-lit room. Colour accuracy and grey uniformity are both far better than you’d expect from a sub-$1K television, too.
With excellent motion-handling features, the SK8000 is ideal for fast-paced games, like 2016’s Doom reboot. Indeed, input lag is about the lowest we’ve ever seen from a TV, let alone one at such a low price – 14.2 ms is insanely quick. If you want an edge in online shooters and aren’t overly concerned about your TV delivering deep black levels, the SK8000 is a great little set.
The downside is that, if you spend a little more, you could push to an OLED or QLED TV. However, if you really aren't sold on that kind of tech, and you prefer a slightly faster refresh rate, this TV is perfect.
4. TCL 55R617 - 55" 4K TV
The best value 4K TV
Screen size: 55 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1231(w) x 777(h) x 271(d)mm
TCL’s latest 55-inch LED is ridiculously good value. If you love a bargain, this is the one for you. At less than $500, there’s no other TV in this price bracket that offers such a brilliant balance between price and performance. Thanks to this set’s decent blacks, punchy overall brightness, and winning contrast performance, it easily holds pace with a number of more expensive rivals from Samsung and Sony.
Considering how cheap TCL is selling this display for, it’s super impressive the set boasts full array local dimming, rather than inferior edge-lit backlighting. This system gives the R617’s convincing blacks, which stand out even more thanks to the TV’s wide colour gamut, brought about by what the manufacturer refers to as ‘Nano Band Phosphor’ tech. The panel becomes even more impressive when you consider its input lag measures in at a supremely speedy 17.9 ms when game mode is enabled, while the inclusion HDR10 and Dolby Vision is borderline ridiculous for a TV at this price range. Looking for a new 4K television, and on a budget? Then you’d be a fool to overlook the R617. TCL55R617 - should you buy it?
5. LG UK6300PUE - 43" 4K TV
The best small TV for gaming, and a brilliant 4K set
Screen size: 43 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 8.50 x 38.50 x 24.80 Inches
If you're looking to really save money, or you want the best 4K TV you can get for a second room in the home, this is 100% the set to buy. It's an LG so you're getting cutting edge tech as standard - this one handles 4K, with HDR 10, at 60Hz with ease and the colors are genuinely impressive for an LED panel. More than that, it has Google Assistant built in, so can be voice controlled, and it feature's LG's rather excellent UI which makes accessing menus and adjusting features super easy with either controller or voice.
Another of its best features is the in-plane switching tech, which means you get vibrant colors even if you're viewing the screen from an angle. So, if this is for a second room in the home, and you're not squarely in front of the TV, you still get the best picture possible. You get 3x HDMIs with this TV, which is plenty for a modest home-viewing set-up, and the sound isn't too bad either. While we'd always recommend an external sound system, or a decent headset for gaming, you'll be fine with the audio in this set.
Jargon buster - here's what 4K TV tech actually does
This is the resolution of the image that can be displayed by your TV. 4K refers to the resolution 3840x2160 pixels. It's also referred to as UHD or Ultra HD by some broadcasters or manufacturers. Basically, if a TV can display pictures in 3840x2160 it can be called a 4K TV or 4K ready TV. PS4 Pro and Xbox One X can both output a signal in 4K, and send it to your 4K TV. Almost all modern gaming TVs are 4K.
HDR means High Dynamic Range. Almost all 4K TVs come with HDR as standard, and it's a technology used to process colors within games, movies, and TV shows. HDR isn't strictly about contrast - it's a way of making the difference more noticeable between colors (and blacks), and HDR can actually be used by game makers and developers to pick out more details in their creations. Primarily, HDR is used to boost the color of a picture by making colors more vivid, thereby contrasting them further. If you can separate very similar shades of color, then you can create clearer images. The minimum standard for HDR is a brightness of 400 nits (the measure of brightness on a TV), although some TVs manage 2000 nits in 2019.
This stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode, and it's a type of TV panel. Basically, while LCD and plasma panels require something called back-lighting or edge-lighting to create pictures on screen, OLED panels don't need it. With back-lit or edge-lit TVs, the LEDs in the panel are illuminated in groups or lines to create a picture. With OLED TVs, each LED on screen can be individually lit - switched on or off to create a picture. This is what allows for truer blacks in OLED sets. With the ability to completely switch off each individual LED, you get sharp edges on images and deep blacks because there is no backlight showing through at all.
This is Samsung's own technology, and it stands for Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode. Quantum Dots are particles, which are lit to create a picture on screen, and they can get much brighter than LEDs or QLEDs. This means QLED sets offer brighter colors and better contrasts than any other panel type. The panel is still either back-lit or edge-lit like traditional 4K TVs, and this can make a huge difference when it comes to black levels. Back-lit QLEDs can not only deliver the vivid colors, but they can also produce sharp images and blacks that rival premium OLEDs. This makes them perfect for gaming.
You'll hear a lot about the response time of a panel, especially when discussing gaming TVs. This is basically the speed at which a color can change on your TV (eg. from black to white to black again). Most 4K TVs have response times quicker than we can perceive them, so it makes no real difference to gameplay outside the twitchiest of shooters. However, purists will want a TV with the quickest response time possible.
This is the speed at which an image can be refreshed on your TV (and shouldn't be confused with response time). Basically, most TVs offer 60Hz-120Hz, although no 4K TV has anything higher and if you want 144Hz or even 240Hz, you need one of the best gaming monitors. A 60Hz 4K TV, for example, refreshes the image on screen 60 times per second, which allows a certain level of smoothness to the image. If the TV refreshes at 120Hz, the image is twice as smooth, and you notice that in how slick the motion appears on screen. Many TVs 'game modes' will boost refresh rate artificially, usually by downgrading other display features (eg. reducing the brightness of your picture).
This stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface, and it's the standard connection cable between your 4K TV and most devices. You need at least an HDMI 1.4 cable to carry a 4K signal, although most modern HDMIs are 2.0 cables, capable of carrying 4K signals at 60 frames per second. The majority of modern console games can't display at 4K 60fps, so as long as you have a 2.0 cable and 2.0 port on your TV, you're fine. And no, you don't need to buy expensive gold-plated HDMI cables to get a better picture - just the Amazon Basics will do just fine.
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