Gadgets-reviews decided to answer the urgent question worrying many PC real gamers: how to choose LED TV for gaming? What else should a potential purchaser pay attention to besides the quality of matrix, the magnitude of the diagonal, a convenient menu, and FullHD support? Here we examined the main myths and facts relating to purchasing the popular alternative to PC monitor.
In 1980-s, we could hardly imagine the world of video games somewhere beyond the TV screen. Then, at times of two-dimension entertainment and 8-bits battles, every young, ardent game fan has become mad about a portable console for TV. The pixel heroes of the first football simulators and shooters, as well as the personages of Disney cartoons and fantasy sagas, have rushed across the boundless expanses of kinescope screens. Fashion to be the owner of a gaming console seemed to be eternal and unshakeable.
But «Times they are a-changin'» – as Bob Dylan has sung. For the last 20 years, the popularity of PC gaming systems has increased steadily. In the USA, the number of gaming consoles fans and PC fans has become equal long ago. Of course, the overwhelming majority of PC owners have been using their computer displays for games. They are more habitual and cost less than TVs.
Not every user has been keeping «loyalty» to monitors. The gradual decrease of prices accompanied by the “picture” and screen diagonal quality improvement caused the logic question about the change of monitors for TV monitors. Yes, this requires surplus payment… But the pluses are also evident: in addition to a good TV you get the best color reproduction, a fine image adjustment, and other pleasant options!
In general, gamers have returned to TVs which they have refused not long ago.
The first experiments in this field caused much negative experiences. The myths about the impossibility of comfortable TV gaming appeared on the internet. People complained of «lagging», «delayed mouth response», painful sensations in eyes and neck caused by a excessive screen size. However, positives responses took place as well.
Portal Gadgets-reviews refused unnecessary emotions and tried to clear up: how to choose the best type of TV for gaming? Below you can read our guidelines.
Table Of Content:
- A Gaming TV vs. a Monitor
- How to choose an optimal size?
- Comparing 60 Hz and 120 Hz gaming TVs
- How do I connect a Gaming TV to my PC?
- Why can the TV retard in shooting and strategy games?
- How to get rid of TV lags?
- Don't forget about TV backlight
- What else do you need to be quite comfortable playing computer games?
- 3DTV Gaming on PC
- Watching 3D
- How to play games in real 3D
- How to Choose a 3D TV?
Before choosing a gaming TV, it’s worth figuring out what is it in there that makes it worth making a change? Maybe the mass movement towards buying a gaming TV or connecting to the one you have at home to play is really just a sales trick multiplied by the herd instinct?
Just for you we have dug a ton of forums, talked to our guildmates, and even conducted some surveys. So, dear Gadget-reviews readers, we are going to expose the truth and unveil all the pros and cons of gaming TV sets. And then it’s up to you to decide whether to buy one or not.
Let’s start with the most vital part which is the cost. Nobody wants to overpay. Hence picking a gaming TV is a step forward to save. Long have passed the times when a television receiving set was a luxury. It has become such a significant part of our daily lives that the majority of families own a set. And what is more important, TVs are not going anywhere.
That’s why it’s more reasonable to invest in a quality TV than to buy a computer monitor, all the more so the prices became cut-rate long time ago. The market leader, Samsung UN32H5203 with a 32-inch screen size measured diagonally, costs only $259.99. This isn’t a low-cost model, but you truly get good value for money.
Apart from the prices’ for the TVs declining, the quality of the sets is on the rise. Various cool features, such as dynamic illumination, FullHD, 3D – have come into the world of the gaming industry from television and this trend is to continue in the near future.
We are a honest web portal, that’s why we have nothing to hide from you. Undoubtedly, there are some reasons due to which I personally don’t switch to TV and which may prevent you from doing so as well.
Let’s start with the fact that my gaming monitor have grown from being simply a gaming display to becoming one for work: graphics, text, shapes, etc. A TV won’t give me the level of definition I’m used to.
The problem of the amount of TV sets at home also exists. I’m used to playing at nights, and we have one TV at home. If you plan to use your newly purchased set for gaming, and there’s no another one at home, your family definitely won’t like it.
In order to play on a say, 33-inch screen, you need to have a lot of space. If you have got enough space, you should know better whether the others would like to watch some bald dude with a barcode tattooed on the back of his head dragging the bodies into the trunk.
Below we’ll take a closer look at all the aspects mentioned above, and you’ll draw a conclusion whether it is necessary to purchase a gaming TV.
It’s clear that every purchaser of a TV after having entered the shop of electronics pays attention to the model with the most impressive diagonal first of all. Nevertheless, dealing with a TV for gaming, it is important not to go too far with the size.
So, how to choose the best size? Here the simple logics acts – the more the diagonal is, the longer the distance to the screen must be. If you buy a 32 inches model and sit at arm’s length from it, you will have to rove the whole picture pretty when playing. If from side to side eye movements don’t cause much tension, the up and down eye movements will tire your brain very soon. Dizziness and even sickness are probable!
As a rule, to place the whole picture into a player’s visual field it is necessary to move aside on 1-2 meters from the screen. And every model will have its own distance: the owners of VIZIO D32h-C0 (32 inches) have written about a comfortable zone in 1.5 meters. The owners of LG 42`models, e.g. LG Electronics 42LB5800 for $460 have told about the distance in 2 meters. The gamers who have bought the universal models with the diagonal to 24 inches, have usually been playing at the distance of 50-70 cm accustomed to them.
The resolution is another important aspect. Now I have to take some time to explain this concept. Resolution is the number of pixels which fit your screen. The higher the resolution, the prettier picture you get, and the more powerful CPU you need for processing the images. Bigger screens have the best resolution, and the bigger the screen is, the farther you have to sit from it.
If you’re an intelligent with-it person (and since you’re reading this article on our web portal, then of course you are one), then when choosing any type of consumer electronics, you begin to study the characteristics, to explore which part is accountable for what, and to decided which parameters are the ones you need. I’ve noticed that I come across the question “Which TV is better: 60 Hz or 120 Hz one?” quite often. So let’s clarify this issue.
First of all, what is this hertz anyways? It is a unit for frequency of the update of the image. Simply put, this is a count of how fast the image will change. The more, the better! That is, if I generalize, evidently. The faster the update occurs, the more pleasing it is for eye. Of course, everything depends on vision and the eye type of each person.
Some people may not tell the difference between the 60 Hz and 120 Hz screens, others will find that the former model doesn’t work for them at all as it will simply irritate them. Based on this factor, to those who are fine with the lower frequency count, I would suggest buying VIZIO E24-C1 24-Inch. It’s an extremely popular model at a reasonable price – $168 Check the current price
By the way, the price is fairly important in this context, because if you take two identical TVs the only difference between which would be the frequency of screen updating, the model with the lower count would be considerably cheaper.
For those with a sensitive vision I’d recommend Samsung UN55H6203. I was fascinated by its colour rendering. Moreover, I saw this model when playing CoD 4, and was completely satisfied.
Where and how to locate a big screen?
A big screen forces its owner to modernize the desktop and all accessories available. Besides, locating such TV, we can meet new problems. First, it is they're too heavyweight (for example, the above-mentioned Toshiba model has too heavy stand under the screen). The second problem is their bad mounting and regulators. Not rarely, mounting and screen are connected by a usual iron tube!!! That means that you won’t be able to hang your purchase at a comfortable angle in a place you want.
However, these shortcomings may be absent, as they are absent in some budget models such as LG Electronics 42LB5600 – by the way it's a №1 Best Seller in category. In the last case, the impressive size is combined with small weight and fine mounting adjustment.
When you finally chose and decided to buy a TV, and at last the long-awaited one was shipped, it’s time to plug it in and play. If your gaming machine is younger than, say, 2-3 years and the box was also manufactured within this time range, there shouldn’t be any problems. But if your PC is kind of old or you want to connect it to a TV which you have had for quite a while, then there arise some difficulties. Don’t you worry though, no magic is needed to solve the problem. Now I’ll explain to you in a few words the main solutions to the issues related to connecting your TV to your PC.
- VGA connection
In order to connect through a VGA jack, you need to have a VGA cable © Captain Obvious.
This type of connection mainly applies to the older models, but you encounter it sometimes on the modern TVs. The cable itself looks the same in 95% of the cases – it is a black cable with blue 15-pin connectors on its end. And of course, it has to be screwed with the bolts.
This is the type of connector thanks to which if your cable got caught up somewhere, not only the image disappeared completely, but also everything fell on the floor and, in addition, the motherboard got pulled from the case. You can connect it with either end. I’ll say it now so that I don’t have to repeat myself later on that this works for the other cables we’ll touch upon today too.
Mind such a peculiarity of this cable, as the lack of sound channel. That means that you have to either have a separate cable connecting the TV and the PC for the sound, if there is a slot available, or use external speakers. Another disadvantage of this connection is its maximum resolution of 1600x1200 pixels which is not impressive nowadays at all.
- DVI connection
It looks almost like VGA, but it’s white. Its functionality, though, helped this item make a serious step forward. We have a number of executions of this type of jack and some of them are highly in demand today. We’ll go into details a bit later.
– DVI-D Dual Link has one analog and one digital channel. If I don’t go deep into explanations, I’ll just say that it’s good. The maximum resolution is 2560x1600 pixels at 60 Hz frequency. This is one of the most popular modes of this cable.
– DVI-I Dual Link has two digital and one analog input channel, and thus we get access to 3D.
It’s pointless to describe each version; a couple of examples like the ones above will be enough. The sound can only be transmitted the same ways I outlined above.
- HDMI connection
This is the most popular and, perhaps, the best connection today. What makes it so good? Well, pretty much everything, like its compact size, versatility, sound transmission (!). With this standard of connection you’ll be to watch and listen to FullHD movies without any further ado.
Certainly, there are some drawbacks. First of all, it is the high price for it. The price is so high that it actually makes you reconsider. The price depends very much on the length of the cable – which is the second catch. The maximum length of the standard version is 10 meters, and the maximum length of the premium version is 15 meters. This means that if you buy a bigger cable, there may be some interference and distortion and you’ll have to resort to using amplifiers. I would recommend Amazon Basics High-Speed HDMI Cable for $6.49 as a perfect indicator of good value for money.
Those are, in fact, the main types of connection, and I’ll guide you through the DIY methods next time, if you want.
The chief argument against the usage of TV for gaming is that all sorts of lags may occur. Indeed, they may. But everything is not so hopeless as you may think.
No doubt, the “enemy number 1” of all gamers is a «slow input line». To put it simply, it is the retarded response of a mouse cursor to your hand movements. The so-called «jelly effect» manifests as if your screen envelopes and hampers the gun sight in shooters, the personage fist in fighting and so forth.
This feeling is unpleasant, indeed. Though the delay equals only milliseconds…, such retardation is felt as an unpleasant and, what is worse, permanent one. Only one thing can comfort: you may identify this slip-up when starting to use a TV right away. Have you felt?Don’t hurry to carry it back to the shop! There are some ways to solve the given problem.
To begin with, let’s call on «MENU». The majority of modern models possess the function “Work with PC” or «TV game mode». The first one is supposed to solve an input line problem completely. The second one reduces significantly the retardation of the TV for gaming and makes it imperceptible. The author of this text could test this button in the LG Electronics 42LB5800. Everything worked as required.
However, not only the browse mode is to be blamed for it. The retardation of a game can be caused by various tunings, e.g., on-mode 3d-effect. You should only learn to turn them off! And various slip-ups disappear with them.
Aside from switching off some extra options and trying to cut the input line using some code, you also have to tune the main settings of the TV. You’ll need some preparation for that.
Take a USB key and download some settings schemes there: the ones with different types of contrast scale, centering table, etc. The techniques of working with them are a piece of cake. I could have described all of this, but Google has got a bunch of advice on this matter worded in a very simple manner.
The main thing is to remember that the manufacturers are trying to artificially enhance the contrast in order to look better compared to a competitor. As the rest of the parameters can be adjusted at home, try to set the contrast right in the store in case it doesn’t suit you. If this didn’t work, then this model is not for you.
Choose the right TV
We have already told that the main advantage that the TV gains over the monitor is a high quality picture.
«I have discovered PC gaming on tv, now I even don’t want to think of the usual gaming computer monitor, so much it is dull» - you may read such reviews on many technical and gaming forums. But keep in mind: if you have chosen an improper gaming TV, you may get a terrible image and even constant pain in the eyes.
First of all, let’s appreciate the matrix type as everything depends on it: color, contrast and even the service life of your TV. Choosing a gaming TV matrix is similar to choosing one for a gaming monitor. My colleague, GamerPro, has elaborated on the matter in his review “The Best Gaming Monitor in 2015”, so I’m not going to repeat what is said there, read up!
The following point to remember is a constant screen backlight. The backlight itself can give a number of pros to the purchaser, though, in addition, it can present to him the vision decline and nervous disorders. Doesn’t it sound too hard? Any modern TV set possesses the function of manual setup, so you can set up the backlight as you need. Adjust it in such a way that will prevent your eyes becoming tired for several hours of an active game and don’t worry about your vision any more.
Speaking of other useful services, we recommend to pay attention to the function «Smart Sensor». Judging on the reviews of real gamers, it can contribute much to pleasant playing.
The common claim to a TV for gaming is considered to be the “grainy image”.
What can we say concerning this? Examined LED TVs, as any others, are supposed to have more distinct pixelization that monitors have. Here it is – the retribution for the coloring advantages. Everything is natural and logic. The television pixels are simply bigger than those of a monitor. And you can’t escape this. The only thing to recommend in this case is to consider such parameter as the “density of pixels per inch”. This is rather easy: here a simple rule acts – the smaller TV size is, the lesser the graininess is. We seem to return to the importance of screen size.
The last thing which we recommend paying attention to when buying a TV (especially not expensive) is “color averaging”. Look closely at the places where dark color passes into a lighter shade. If this discoloration is invisible, you are welcome to buy this model! If it “has specks and gleams”, you’d better refuse the purchase. Playing shooting games, you are certain to have glittering sky, water, and light textures. Minus 100 from plausibility, plus 200 to lagging. The perspective is rather poor, however!
Virtual reality helmets and headsets are the instruments that will be able to help you fully plunge into the virtual reality atmosphere in future (for more details turn to our special review), but so far their development has only reached the introductory stage and these devices are far from being adapted for virtual reality.
That’s why we’re going to try gaming on on a big screen. Here when playing shooters in the stereo mode, your enemies’ bullets are literally flying out of the screen, and when playing strategies you can actually walk around using the map provided… all this leaves a completely different impression from the game play.
How do you play 3D game on a big screen? We’ll provide you an installation manual. Is it possible to tune your regular TV to a 3D one? We’ll give a review of NVIDIA 3d TV PLAY, Nvidia 3D Vision 2 Wireless Glasses Kit and TriDef 3D. What is the coolest 3D TV today? Our story will be detailed and comprehensible!
Before we move on to the installation and television game play methods, though, let’s learn what kinds of 3D reality exist.
Obviously, there is only one 3D reality, but the ways to actually see it are different.
This type of 3D transmission is based on colour coding. The image is broken down and coded in two colours only. Usually these colours are red and blue, but other colours may also be used. With the help of glasses with coloured lens (the colours are the same that the ones the image is broken down into) each eye can only see a separate part of the image, and that’s how you get a 3D effect. Most likely you’ve seen such glasses somewhere, and perhaps many have them at home. Most often they’re made of paper (just like 10 Pairs of Red/Cyan Cardboard 3D Glasses only for $2.10, though some cooler glasses are framed in plastic only for $1.65.
This way of watching 3D has sunken into oblivion, since you can only play older games which have been pre-processed. The main drawback is complete colour distortion. Everything you see will be in terrible red and blue, and you won’t be able to appreciate the graphics. Nevertheless, if you’re feeling nostalgic or if you want to try and see how it is for yourself, we recommend you to play Legend Knight. This is a nice old school strategy, a bit similar to the Heroes. Since this method is really obsolete and has a serious disadvantage, we won’t elaborate any further.
– Super low cost
– Horrible colour rendering
- Passive 3D
The idea of this method is based on polarization effect. Two images are simultaneously viewed on the screen and with the help of the glasses’ lens the image is split in two for each eye. This is the idea of passive 3D. Since two sequences are plated at the same time, the resolution of both of them is half as good as a regular video’s one. The minimal frequency should be at least 120 Hz so that there’s at least 60 Hz of frequency left after splitting – otherwise the video will be occasionally twitch and freeze.
The range of games which could be played using polarization is very wide. I would advise you to play Thief as it has a special atmosphere, as you can in sneak in the ambush in the 3d world. Everything looks very impressive, be it a knife or a sword fight or simply flying arrows. I strongly recommend you to play this!
Thanks to the polarization method your eyes practically won’t get tired of watching 3D images. In addition, the cost of glasses is cut-rate as a pack of 10 Passive Circular Polarized 3D Glasses costs ~$19.95.
– Low cost
– Eye fatigue
– Poor image quality due to splitting
- Active 3D
Nowadays this is the most popular method of rendering 3D images, it is mostly used in modern 3D TVs. It is based on persistence of vision, i.e. your eye perceives a number of images which follow each other not separately but as a single sequence. The images seen by each eye alternate. In this case glasses with own power supply are used, and transparent LCD screens take place of lens. Most of the 3D TV manufacturers use this technology, and those who combine it with polarization admit that Active 3D is more modern.
Samsung SSG-5150GB 3D Active Glasses which cost ~$17.44 are the most popular 3D Active glasses on Amazon.com. The users claim that this is perfect value for money, as the glasses are light, robust and are compatible not only with Samsung, but also with Panasonic, Epson and other 3D TV sets. To learn whether they are compatible with your TV set, read over 400 customer reviews on Amazon.com.
– Great image quality
– High probability of interference (the image can double)
Considerable eye fatigue
Let’s move on to the actual issue. We’ll focus on each stage so that everything’s clear. Here’s what you’ll need.
The easiest thing to do is to purchase the so-called 3D TV. Let’s figure out what’s so special about it. The thing is that this is a television with high definition and substantial screen size. This is more than enough for passive 3D. Also, keep in mind that the frequency should also be high, 120 Hz and higher. In addition, you won’t do without passive 3D glasses.
If you want to enjoy images of the best quality and use active 3D, then the choice is not that simple. In addition to the abovementioned characteristics, the TV will have to have a special infra-red sensor, which is a distinctive feature of 3D TVs (as it is unavailable in 2D ones). The image in the glasses is synchronized with TV, and the signal is received through this very sensor.
Are you going to buy a quality 3D TV? Below, I’ll tell you how to do this. If you’re a lucky owner of a cool TV with a huge screen and cool features, don’t throw it away and hurry to the store to buy the same model with 3D. There are some life hacks for doing without buying a new TV, which I’m going to share with you below.
Everything is a piece of cake here, that’s why we’ll only mention few things here. The connection of a TV to a PC is regular, but make sure you only use HDMI (HDMI 1.4a to be exact). Earlier versions aren’t compatible with 3D. The reason for this lies in the fact that the video frame rate is not as essential for regular videos as it is for games. Other cables may not provide the necessary rate.
You’ll be fine as long as the game is running on your PC. The only thing you have to pay attention to is your graphics card.
The card performs all computational operations relating to images. Simply put, it renders (generates) video on the go. Everything we see on the screen is the result of the graphics card functioning. The card should be extra powerful for outputting 3D. I will not give a list of the best cards because, first of all, there are a lot of them, and, second of all, this list is constantly updated. Visit a manufacturer's website and check, whether a graphics card in question supports 3D.
Not a single device will work with your PC without necessary software. Drivers define the algorithm of the hardware performance, and various applications let the users customize the settings. Using additional software is inevitable in our case, as all games have a different engine and different requirements, it’s better to use a professional solution to all the problems which may arise.
NVIDIA 3d TV PLAY
This is paid software manufactured by NVidia. This is software is very powerful and versatile as it supports over 650 games. The company, obviously, suggests using NVIDIA GPU, NVIDIA LightBoost screen, NVIDIA 3d Vision glasses and the mentioned software. If you follow this advice, the manufacturer guarantees perfect operation of the entire system and excellent image quality. That’s what you actually get, but the entire set costs quite a lot of money. If you own a 3D TV, a decent graphics card and if you have glasses, you only have to buy this software and after that you can play as much as you like.
And in case you have a regular TV which doesn’t support 3D (and you really want to experience active 3D), here’s the life hack I’ve promised.
Nvidia 3D Vision 2 Wireless Glasses Kit
This is a set of really cool glasses and own signal transmitter and receiver. You connect these devices, install the software and get access to the world of 3D. The area of glasses’ screen is increased by 20% and the service life is rather long. All in all, I recommend this device, as it gives you the easiest way to experience active 3D (though it’s far from being the cheapest one – it costs ~$125).
This is rival software. The manufacturers of this product attract many well-known companies: AMD, Intel, LG and others - many leading companies don’t want to be left aside. TriDef directly supports fewer games, but this is being improved and software is able to adapt to the requirements of a given game. Many games don’t run properly, though, and the image depth lags substantially. Why would you buy TriDeg then, if Nvidia 3D Vision is better optimized? The main advantage of Tridef, in my opinion, is its cost. That’s why if you aren’t ready to pay for NVIDIA 3d TV PLAY, TriDef 3D would be a real compromise. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll still have to buy Nvidia 3D Vision 2 Wireless Glasses.
First of all, do accept that you’ll have to spend a considerable sum of money. A quality item is worth it. Please, do not purchase mass-adopted goods. First of all, you will find no pleasure both in the purchase itself and in the game play process. Low contrast means smudged image, and faded colours mean boring plot. Second of all, you’ll spend much money on extremely modest service life. That’s why it’s better to save a sufficient sum of money and buy the very best product without being skimpy - or don’t buy anything at all.
The criteria of choosing the best 3D TV are the following: We’re looking for a large screen size, great contrast and minimum frequency of 120 Hz. The rest is optional though important nonetheless.
An infra-red sensor is needed for active 3D. Passive technologies are decent and they surely have the right to exist… still. Active 3D will dominate in future. Its disadvantages will be liquidated and the quality will further improve. That’s why it’s more rational to purchase normal equipment right away in order not to upgrade your TV in a year.
Since we’re going to use this product as a screen for gaming, we won’t do without an HDMI 1.4 jack (or maybe even a few of them, so that you won’t have to plug the cable in and out over and over again). Let’s illustrate all of this with an example and take a look at the best product in this category today…
Sony KDL50W800C 50-Inch 1080p 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV (2015 Model)
This time Sony really vowed us and launched a high-flying 3D TV. This model’s characteristics (120 Hz frequency and 1080p resolution) let you play any modern game available in 3D. You’ll have 4 HDMI jacks for any case: For playing PC or console games, and you’ll also be able to simultaneously view some pics.
In the company’s model range this very product is considered to occupy the premium segment, which means that both the quality of image and the service life of it will hardly disappoint you. The customers’ feedback confirms all of this – you can read it on Amazon.com and see this for yourself. I recommend buying this TV to everyone who wants to play 3D games without any flops.
The price for this Sony is quite high, but it’s justified since you have to pay for a quality product. In this case you pay ~$798.
Anyway, 3D game play is more interesting than regular 2D, which means it’s high time to fit in and not stay behind. Only you decide whether you’re going to buy a cool 3D TV or simply purchase a set of the necessary hard- and software. Remember, though, that 3D strains your eyes, and you can’t be thrifty about your own health!
Where Do You Buy All of This?
We usually look for Amazon prices, since this is the largest and most trusted online store in the world. That’s why we recommend you to use it as well. Moreover, its services are of highest quality.
So, play… and wait for new games!
In 2014, the interrogation performed by the representatives of gaming exhibition Game Developers Conference among the computer game manufactures had shown that the up-to-date gaming industry tends to count on personal computers instead of portable gaming consoles. According to the figures obtained, 52 % of interrogated developers confessed that they were planning to put on the market new games for PC. Only 17 % of the exhibition guests expressed their desire to work with consoles.
It means that the number of both popular PC games and PC gamers will increase. And these gamers have already got used to high quality image on their ultramodern TV screens. It seems that the creators of new models will have to meet the requirements of their new audience. They will have to eliminate all present bugs and slip-ups as well as invent competitive upgrades, since their success will depend on how much the gamers will be satisfied with their products.
In short, we are waiting for novelties up to a special TV for gaming. What they will be, we shall see in time. And, of course, Portal Gadgets-reviews.com will tell you everything about them! Stay with us.