man playing games on TV
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What to Look For in a Gaming TV in 2021

Most modern TVs are pretty decent at gaming as manufacturers refine their products to better compete with computer monitors. Still, for great gaming performance, you need to look for specific components that the average TV may not have. These features make sure that your TV is future-proof and you’re able to harness the best from the latest gaming consoles.

For example, while the input lag isn’t significant for every genre of gaming, it can be vital when you’re playing against others online. You want your input lag to be below 30ms, generally believed to be unnoticeable on TVs, and anything below 15ms is more than enough.

Variable refresh rate, or VRR, is another important feature as it reduces judder and screen tearing by ensuring that your TV can match its refresh rate with the frame rate of the gameplay. There are multiple VRR formats – AMD FreeSync, Nvidia G-Sync, and HDMI VRR. Knowing what your TV can handle in terms of VRR is important for a good gaming experience.

Next, Auto Low Latency Mode, or ALLM, is a nifty little feature that makes things more convenient. For example, the TVs with ALLM can receive a signal from a console or computer when you are playing a game, so it should switch on the “Game Mode.” It’s not a necessary feature, but one that’s really great to have, especially for the amount you’re shelling out for a gaming TV.

Lastly, 4K resolution at a 120Hz refresh rate has become a big deal over the last year as the latest consoles from Microsoft and Sony support it. So, if you want to play games in 4K resolution at up to 120fps, your TV should have an HDMI 2.1-capable port. And, since the HDMI 2.1 specification guarantees support for the ALLM and VRR, if your TV supports HDMI 2.1, you can expect to see both of those features as well.

Apart from these gaming-specific features, you’ll also want your TV to be great at other tasks, like offering a top-notch visual experience and fantastic sound quality. We have a great guide covering everything about TV buying from a non-gaming perspective; you should check it out for details on different types of panels, viewing angles, and more.

Best TV for Gaming Overall: LG G1

LG G1
LG

Pros

  • Low input lag and 1ms response time
  • Four HDMI 2.1 ports and a 120Hz panel
  • Perfect blacks and brighter 'OLED evo' panel
  • HDMI VRR, Nvidia G-Sync, and AMD FreeSync support
  • Five-year panel warranty

Cons

  • Risk of permanent burn-in
  • More expensive than the already excellent C1 and CX

The G1 is our pick for the best TV for gaming overall. Part of LG’s 2021 lineup, this 4K TV offers exceptional picture quality and packs all features necessary for a fantastic gaming experience.

The television’s new “OLED evo” panel makes the picture brighter and more colorful than other OLED TVs in LG’s lineup, like the C1 and the CX. Additionally, LG provides a 5-year limited warranty on the G1 panel to assuage any OLED burn-in concerns.

The LG G1 also sports a unique design that is made for mounting. It is remarkably slim and can be mounted flush to a wall. If you don’t have space for wall mounting, the company sells a stand separately, which is a bummer since a stand is typically not an extra cost.

Coming to the gaming-centric features, the G1 supports all three VRR formats: HDMI VRR, AMD FreeSync, and G-Sync. So no matter which device you’re using for gaming, the television will be able to match the frame rate. It also offers very low input lag, a 120Hz panel, near-instantaneous response time, the ALLM, and four HDMI 2.1-capable ports.

Additionally, LG packs a nifty Game Optimizer feature that puts all your game settings in one place, so you don’t have to rummage through the settings when you want to toggle one option.

All in all, the LG G1 is the absolute best TV for gaming right now. You can get the G1 in 55-inch, 65-inch, and 77-inch sizes.

Best TV for Gaming Overall

LG G1

LG is the king when it comes to gaming TVs, and the G1 is the best of the LG bunch. With its OLED evo panel, Game Optimizer features, and more, no gamer will be disappointed with this television.

Best Budget Gaming TV: Hisense U8G

Hisense U8G
Hisense

Pros

  • High peak brightness and excellent contrast ratio
  • Support for Dolby Vision
  • Local dimming with up to 360 zones
  • Sleek design

Cons

  • Local dimming issues in certain situations

Hisense TVs provide an excellent value for their price tags, and the U8G is no different. This 4K LED TV from Hisense’s 2021 lineup replaces the already great H9G and brings some improvements. These improvements include an excellent color gamut for more lifelike colors, two HDMI 2.1 ports, and better handling of the 120Hz signals.

Being a LED TV, the U8G has higher brightness than OLED models, making it suitable for gaming in bright rooms. Its peak brightness easily tops more expensive competitors.

The company is also using full-array local dimming, a feature that allows dimming the screen areas that need to be dark while keeping the other parts bright. This results in an excellent contrast ratio. There are 136 local dimming zones in the 55-inch U8G model and 360 zones in the 65-inch model. However, the local dimming on the TV has some limitations. For example, it doesn’t seem to work when the TV is connected to an Xbox and VRR is enabled.

In terms of the gaming-related features, the Hisense TV has a 120Hz panel, low input lag, a great response time, the ALLM, HDMI VRR, and AMD FreeSync support. In addition, thanks to HDMI 2.1, it is also capable of 4K gaming at 120fps.

There are only two sizes available for the Hisense U8G—55-inch and 65-inch. But, if you’re looking to have a great gaming experience on a budget, this is the TV to get.

Best Budget Gaming TV

Hisense U8G

If you don't have LG kinds of money to spend on a new gaming TV, Hisense has you covered with the U8G. With 120Hz and a low input lag, it's sure to please.

Best TV for PC Gaming: LG CX

LG CX
LG

Pros

  • 4K OLED screen with an infinite contrast ratio
  • Available in desk-friendly 48-inch size
  • Low input lag
  • Four HDMI 2.1 ports

Cons

  • Risk of burn-in
  • Not suitable for bright rooms

The LG CX is an excellent 4K OLED TV to use as a PC monitor for gaming. One reason for this is its availability in the 48-inch size, making it small enough to fit on a computer desk. Its OLED panel offers a great contrast ratio, accurate black levels, and wide-viewing angles, so you’ll get an excellent picture quality. The TV is also capable of handling reflections efficiently.

Additionally, LG has included support for both AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync VRR formats. So no matter which GPU is present in your computer, the TV will match the game frame rate and avoid screen tearing.

A wide range of other gaming features, including a 120Hz panel, ALLM, low input lag, and a near-instant response time, are also present on the television. Moreover, you get four HDMI 2.1 ports for gaming at 4K resolution and 120 fps.

The CX looks gorgeous, and most of the TV is incredibly thin. But as LG had to put the speakers, processor, and so on somewhere, the bottom-third of the TV is significantly thicker. Still, the design is quite sleek, even with the imbalance.

The two major drawbacks of the CX come from its best feature—the OLED panel. While the TV will be excellent for gaming in a dark room, the OLED panel won’t provide ample brightness for a good experience in bright rooms, which is a problem with most OLED units.

There are also the typical OLED burn-in concerns, especially when you’re using it as a PC monitor with many static elements in the operating system interface. But as long as you don’t leave the screen showing one particular image for longer durations, you shouldn’t have any issues. Screensavers will be very useful.

Apart from the 48-inch size, you can buy the CX in 55-inch, 65-inch, and 77-inch sizes.

Best Gaming TV for PC Gaming

LG CX

Looking to play PC games on a nice TV? You can't go wrong with the LG CX line. The 48-inch option can sit on a computer desk, and you get all the benefits of a beautiful screen.

Best TV for PS5 and Xbox Series X: LG G1

LG G1
LG

Pros

  • Four HDMI 2.1 ports
  • Support for both AMD FreeSync and G-Sync
  • Near-infinite contrast ratio and excellent viewing angles
  • Five-year limited warranty on OLED panel

Cons

  • Risk of burn-in
  • Expensive than the already great LG C1

Apart from being our pick for the best TV overall for gaming, the LG G1 is also the best TV for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. One of the key features of these new game consoles is the support for 4K resolution gaming at 120 frames per second (or FPS). The LG G1 is perfectly capable of handling those specifications without any problems.

The included Game Optimizer dashboard gives you quick access to various VRR formats and lets you select from presets for different game genres to get suitable picture optimizations. Additionally, the presence of four HDMI 2.1-capable ports allows you to connect multiple consoles and other devices and not lose out on any enhancements.

When you’re not gaming, you’ll be able to enjoy movies and TV shows in all their goodness on the G1’s brilliant OLED screen. It provides perfect blacks, a near-infinite contrast ratio, and great viewing angles.

All the gaming-centric features you can need, like ALLM, low input lag, and near-instant response rate, are also available, so this is just a well-rounded, great-looking television. You can buy the G1 in 55-inch, 65-inch, and 77-inch sizes.

Best Gaming TV for Consoles

LG G1

The LG G1 is our best overall recommendation, so it's no surprise it'd be our pick for console gaming. You can't get the refresh rate, gaming features, and more with this set.

Best LED TV for Gaming: Samsung QN90A QLED

Samsung QN90A
Samsung

Pros

  • Bright 4K QLED panel
  • Mini LED backlighting for excellent contrast
  • Low input lag and wide viewing angles

Cons

  • Only one HDMI 2.1 port
  • Blooming around bright objects

While the OLED TVs generally offer exceptional image quality, they do have some issues. If you don’t want to deal with the risk of burn-in or need to put your gaming setup in a brightly lit room, an LED TV like the Samsung QN90A makes more sense. The QN90A is Samsung’s flagship 4K QLED TV, and it uses Mini LED for backlighting. The Mini LED system ensures an excellent contrast ratio and high brightness.

The QN90A comes with Samsung’s Game Bar that provides easy access to several game-related options, including aspect ratio. Other gaming-centric features, like ALLM, HDMI VRR, AMD FreeSync, very low input lag, and 120Hz panel are also present on the TV.

Samsung has included HDMI 2.1 for next-generation gaming, but unfortunately, only one port supports it. If you’re planning to attach both Xbox Series X and PS5 to the TV, you will only be able to play 4K games at 120fps on one console unless you buy an HDMI 2.1 splitter.

The TV is well-built and features a beautiful design that looks sleek from all angles. It is available in 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch, and 85-inch sizes, so it should be easy to pick the size that works best in your home.

Best LED TV for Gaming

Samsung QN90A QLED

OLED TV sets are pretty, but they require a fair amount of care and upkeep. If you want a brighter picture with the gaming benefits you expect from OLED sets, you'll want to do with Samsung's LED offering.

Best 8K TV for Gaming: Samsung QN900A 8K QLED TV

Samsung QN900A
Samsung

Pros

  • Amazing 8K QLED screen
  • Support for both AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync
  • Almost bezel-less design
  • Low input lag and a great response time

Cons

  • Blooming around bright objects
  • Low native contrast ratio
  • Expensive

While 8K is still far from mainstream adoption, if you’re an early adopter and want to game in 8K, the Samsung QN900A is the best option. It isn’t prohibitively expensive as LG’s OLED 8K offerings, and Samsung regularly provides promotions do drive the prices a bit lower.

Part of Samsung’s Neo QLED lineup, the QN900A comes with barely any bezels and a slim frame, giving it a fantastic look that seamlessly blends with your room decor.

Samsung has packed pretty much all gaming-related features, including support for HDMI VRR, AMD FreeSync, and Nvidia G-Sync. The TV also offers low input lag, excellent response time, and two HDMI 2.1 ports. In addition, you can game at 4K with 120fps or 8K at 60fps. It’ll make your console games look great even if they don’t support 8K.

One of the drawbacks of the QN900A’s QLED panel is its low native contrast ratio. Micro LED backlighting helps in providing deep blacks, but the television suffers from blooming around bright objects. Unfortunately, it is a problem found in pretty much all 8K LED TVs at this point, so if you’re looking to go 8K, this is something you’ll need to deal with no matter the choice.

You can purchase the Samsung QN900A in 65-inch, 75-inch, and 85-inch sizes.

Best 8K TV for Gaming

Samsung QLED 8K QN900A

Want to future-proof your gaming television for years to come? It'll cost a pretty penny, but the QLED 8K QN900A is your best bet.

The Best TVs of 2021 for Gaming, Movies, and More

Best TV Overall
LG C1
Best Budget TV
Hisense U7G
Best 8K TV
Samsung QN900A 8K
Best Gaming TV
LG G1
Best TV for Movies
Sony A90J
Best Roku TV
TCL 6-Series R635
Best LED TV
Samsung QN90A
Gaurav Shukla Gaurav Shukla
Gaurav Shukla is a technology journalist with over a decade’s experience reporting and writing about consumer technology. His work has appeared in XDA Developers and NDTV Gadgets 360.
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