There’s a lot more to picking a monitor/display than you might think. At first glance, it all seems the same, but for gamers especially, there are a whole host of features to consider. Today, we’re going to take a long look at displays, how they work, the differences in them, how this affects gaming, and of course, we’re going to review The TOP 8 of the best gaming TVs out there.

Displays have come a very, very long way. At this point, it might seem like any display is as good as the next, the only real difference being the size and perhaps smart TV features. This is an easy thing to think, as you stroll through the TV/display department of Best Buy or Wal Mart, noticing all of the samey-looking flat screens. Honestly, you can tell that the employees cunningly set the cheaper ones with unideal settings to make their pictures look worse. It’s not hard to spot if you’ve spent any time looking at a screen in the past 20 years.

This is going to be a very educational guide, and in some cases, quite surprising. Let’s start with a brief history of display technologies, because to fully appreciate the technology and how far it’s come, we need to know where we’ve been, and the hurdles overcome to get where we are.

A Brief History of Display Technology

Of course, display technology as we think of it, began with a brilliant inventor in the 1800s named Paul Gottlieb Nipkow (pronounced nip-kov). He worked out a technology utilizing a spinning perforated disk, called appropriately the Nipkow disk. Long story short, the spacing of the holes in the disk, with interrupted light, would produce a picture of about 180 lines (lower resolution than the oldest consumer television ever made). Mr. Nipkow, rest his soul, didn’t live to see his idea tested to any length, but Baird and Farnsworth did experiment with it as early as in the 1900s.

Philo Farnsworth, as well as a Mr. Deforest, saw a better way to make this work, however. The CRT (cathode ray tube), had been first constructed by a professor Braun at the end of the previous century, harnessing the power of electron beams illuminating a grid of phosphor cells. CRT television was demonstrated as early as 1929, believe it or not. It was a tiny, circular screen of a few inches in diameter, while the housed electrical works were the size of a Victrola record player/radio of the day.

While it didn’t truly catch on until the early 1950s due to the second world war halting a lot of social and technological evolution outside warfare, the technology behind CRTs was the way of things for most of the 20th century. It got sharper, it became capable of color, different ways to optimize these features came along, but at the end of the day, the best televisions until the mid-80s were 640x480 CRT displays.

Meanwhile, other technologies came along, initially not fit for television/multimedia. LCD (liquid crystal displays) were developed that could create lightless, displays for calculators and digital watches. Plasma displays and LEDs produced similar implementations, used for monochrome computer displays and other utilitarian data readouts.

In the mid-1980s, projection televisions made “big screen TVs” possible, and who can forget these monoliths of 80s and early 90s technical wizardry? They certainly made a big picture, but projection produced a hazy, washed out display. But, compared to the smaller, equally blurry CRTs, it was something to behold. I remember thinking “Mario would be life size!”. Sadly, gaming never looked very good on these.

By the mid-1990s, flat screen color LCDs, plasma displays (now an extinct technology) and early LED displays hit the market. These brought widescreen 16:9 aspect ratios out of the theaters, and the age of the CRT and big screen projection display was nearing the credits screen!

Today, most displays use LCD or OLED (organic LED) technologies, and pictures can be positively stunning.

Personal Experience: How I Predicted Modern Technology Trends

As I write this, I have a YouTube playlist running on an LG Ultra 4K 60” OLED smart TV. I can’t help but occasionally glance at it and smirk at the display technology and the software playing the videos for me.

I guess you could say I was an advanced child in the early 1980s, comfortably programming my Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Apple II. I knew computers were going places, and early demonstrations of non-CRT/non-projection technologies were going to wondrous places.

So, in 1986, in school, we were given a creative writing assignment. These were common when the teachers ran out of things to occupy us with, and needed a distraction so they could spend most of the next two school days doing crossword puzzles and smoking in the lounge. “Write about the future” was the ambiguous assignment. I recall Star Wars type stuff being written by my peers – some of it was quite good though, in their defense. I, however, having cut my bibliophilic teeth on the greats such as Heinlein, Clarke, Forward, and Asimov, opted for something a bit more grounded. I chose the then a far-off year of 2010. Yes, I know that was almost a decade ago, stop making me feel old.

So, in my writings, we followed the lives of various people at the end of 2010, near 2011, and the short-lived period of fear as an asteroid nearly missed the earth (it epically skimmed the atmosphere moments before 2011 was heralded in Times Square – I had a flair for the dramatic). The story was … okay. But what interests me in retrospect was how right I was about the tech, because my focus was in exploring life in the 21st century, the overarching plot just being a pacesetter for the story to flow and climax.

I had people with pocket computers that could connect to a global network, for voice and video communications. These, as well as desktop computers and wall displays, could watch digital on-demand video, do online shopping, and of course, do online gaming. Portable screens for reading and better viewing/art/writing also existed. I saw our internet, our smartphones, our gaming, and our display technology coming a light year away. Sure, I presented the networking a bit differently, and the terminology was a bit different (I called tablets “slates” and the internet “the grids”, but hey).

I had flat screen TVs working with three technologies – multi-layer color LCD, multi-source color LED, and a technology that didn’t happen, approximating the way cuttlefish change colors (chromatophores).

My teacher, as pretty a woman, as she was, scoffed at me, insisting this technology would not exist for 100 years. Who’s laughing now, Mrs. Walker?

I tell you this story, to explain how watching displays evolve felt to me. I saw the big projection screens arrive, my father drooling over them at Circuit City. They were too expensive, and I assured him, “better stuff’s coming, for better prices hang in there”.

I tried the latest SNES games on my friends’ big projection screens and it looked horrible, but I never had the heart to tell them – they were so proud of their dads’ big screen TVs, who was I to deflate them?

Color, backlit LCDs first were used in laptops and a couple underrated handheld consoles (rest in peace, Sega Game Gear and Atari Lynx). They ghosted badly and didn’t look the best. Then, plasma came along and holy heck, did it look awful. But I had to smirk – there were my giant flat screen displays. I told people plasma was a dead end, they scoffed.

It was about six years into the 21st century when I bade farewell to CRT monitors for my computer monitors when LED became practical. It wasn’t until fairly recently, that I bothered to obtain a giant LED TV, though. I was fine with everything being on my 27” monitors. But, I broke down and obtained a big flat screen marvel. But I had problems with it.

My games lagged. I would press a button, and could count one Missippi before Mario jumped! That would not do. It turned out, I had to disable all preprocessing (picture and color adjustments), to reduce the lag to something imperceptible. Now, I can enjoy my archaic games (I am mostly an emulator user) with no problems. I hadn’t anticipated this lag, as the scanline concept of old games and media stayed a norm in rendering tech, while TVs evolved past that scanning beam.

The lesson from this is … just because you see technology coming does not mean you know how it’ll work, or the ordeals to endure when it arrives!

A Note on Resolution

Let’s talk briefly about resolutions, which are something analogous to the “bits” of consoles in the 90s. The human eye … cannot see in 4K, let alone 8K or some other ridiculous resolution. It cannot see in 60 frames per second either.

However, this does not mean that high frame rates and high resolutions are pointless. Far from it, in fact. While you can’t directly see every pixel nor every frame of these high resolutions and speeds, the human eye has a way of smoothing between such things, producing a very seamless image, and a very smooth, pleasing framerate.

Monitors Vs. TVs

As a PC gamer, you may be thinking that you have to get a monitor, and as a console gamer, you may be thinking likewise of the need for a TV. The truth of the matter is, there’s precious little difference between them.

Where once CRT monitors had sharper resolution than their television counterparts, resolutions are equally available in the flat screen versions. The only real differences are that a TV will have a coaxial tuner port (cable) and is guaranteed to not have a DVI or VGA port, where monitors will have no tuner, but will often have a DVI or VGA port. Both, nowadays, have HDMI however. The result is that the console gamers can hook their console up to a monitor through HDMI, and PC gamers can do the same to TVs.

The other key difference, which can be a convenience, is the presence of a remote for the TV as well as some smart TV features, which have become somewhat of a standard in them.

A Quick Look at Important Features

Before we get into the displays on our list, let’s run down key features you should look for.

  • HDMI – Every display should have HDMI support these days.
  • Sound – In the case of TVs, make sure it has a built-in speaker system, and/or a set of RCA ports to hook a sound system to it.
  • VGA/DVI – If it’s a monitor, make sure it has a VGA or DVI port. You will wind up needing this in the event your GPU goes wrong, and you need to use the integrated card.
  • Adjustable Brightness – Make sure you can adjust the backlight.
  • Postprocessing – Postprocessing, for gaming, is a nuisance – be sure you can turn it off.

TOP 8 Best Gaming TVs

In this guide, we’ll cover the best gaming TVs we’ve found online, from the TOP HD TVs to the TOP ULTRA HD TVs.

Top 3 HD TVs

Samsung Electronics UN32M4500A 32-Inch 720p Smart LED TV (2017 Model) – Budget Flat Screen

Samsung 32-Inch Smart LED TV: photo

This Samsung flat screen is a budget model, offering 720p resolution rather than the full HD 1080p. For gamers like myself who are far more into old games than the modern, AAA affairs, this is a perfectly fine TV that would work well as a second or third expanded monitor as well, since most YouTube videos tend to be 720p for the sake of bandwidth and server demands.

For AAA games, the visuals may be a bit underwhelming, because while 4K isn’t something you can necessarily notice missing, you can see a difference between 720p and 1080p.

Features

  • Resolution: 720p
  • Size(s): 24”, 32”
  • Display Type: TV
  • Onboard Apps: None
  • Ports: Coaxial, HDMI, RCA Audio
  • Remote: Yes
  • Display Technology: LED

Performance

If this were 1080p, I’d say it was the perfect generic gaming TV/Monitor choice for average people. But, 720p is honestly something of a visual downgrade these days.

Pros Cons
  • Lightweight.
  • Affordable.
  • Smart features don’t get in the way. 
  • Everything’s adjustable. 
  • Mounts easily.
  • Not 4K.
  • No DVI/VGA. 
  • A little small.

Conclusion

This isn’t a bad little TV, and I’m fine recommending it as a large monitor or gaming screen, especially if you don’t have room for, don’t need or don’t want a huge display.

Samsung Electronics UN32M4500A 32-Inch: Check the current price

TCL 32S305 32-Inch 720p Roku Smart LED TV (2017 Model) – Enhanced Smart

TCL 32-Inch Smart LED TV: photo

This Roku-powered display has pretty extensive smart features, such as Netflix, VUDU and much more. If you’re looking for something to get actual TV and streaming functionality out of, this is the budget model to do it for you.

Features

  • Resolution: 720p
  • Size(s): 28”, 32”, 40”, 43”, 49”
  • Display Type: Smart TV
  • Onboard Apps: Roku Set
  • Ports: Coaxial, HDMI, RCA Audio
  • Remote: Yes
  • Display Technology: LED

Performance

This has the misfortune of also being a 720p display, which means modern games will look scaled down and reduced in visuals. Nintendo’s current console only does 720p, but a lot of PC games and other consoles do higher resolutions. Still, for the price, it’s not that big a deal. We all thought Donkey Kong Country looked stunning on our 17” 230i CRTs back in the day, didn’t we?

The only concern I have is, if you’re hooking this up to your PC, all the smart TV features are instantly pointless, as they are on my LG as it’s my 4th monitor.

Pros Cons
  • Lightweight.
  • Affordable.
  • Extensive smart features.
  • Not 4K.
  • No DVI/VGA.
  • Extensive smart features are pointless if a PC is plugged into it.

Conclusion

If you want this for console gaming, you’ll get a lot of mileage, as the smart TV features are quite deep. If you want this as a PC gaming display, though, you’re going to wonder what the point is to the extended onboard system.

TCL 32S305 32-Inch 720p Roku Smart LED TV: Check the current price

Sony KDL32W600D 32-Inch HD Smart TV (2016 Model) – Nice Budget TV

Sony 32-Inch HD Smart TV: photo

This display doesn’t come in the biggest sizes, maxing out at 48 inches, but for a bedroom or smaller apartment, it’s a perfect size. It’s lightweight, and mounts nicely to a wall without yanking the plaster down (I initially tried to wall mount my massive 60 inches and had to repair the wall!).

With basic smart TV features, onboard sound control, and HDMI, you’ll see your games in crisp 1080p.

Features

  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Size(s): 32”, 40”, 48”
  • Display Type: Smart TV
  • Onboard Apps: YouTube, Web
  • Ports: Coaxial, HDMI, RCA Audio
  • Remote: Yes
  • Display Technology: LCD/LED Hybrid

Performance

My girlfriend has a Sony TV similar to this one in her bedroom, and it’s very crisp. We’ve enjoyed many rounds of Mario Kart 8 on there, as well as her similar 60” in her living room, and it looks positively stunning.

This is a basic Smart TV, but as a gamer, you generally don’t care much about those, right?

Pros Cons
  • Lightweight.
  • Affordable. 
  • Smart features don’t get in the way. 
  • Everything’s adjustable. 
  • Mounts easily.
  • Not 4K.
  • No DVI/VGA. 
  • A little small.

Conclusion

This isn’t a bad little TV, and I’m fine recommending it as a large monitor or gaming screen, especially if you don’t have room for, don’t need or don’t want a huge display.

Sony KDL32W600D 32-Inch HD Smart TV: Check the current price

Top Ultra HD TVs

Samsung UN55NU8000FXZA Flat 55" 4K UHD 8 Series Smart LED TV (2018) – Stunning HD

Samsung 4K UHD 8 Series Smart LED TV: photo

This is a stunning, HDR-enabled ultra HD display with a slim design and some of the most vivid imagery money can buy. It’s not cheap, it truly isn’t, but if you want 4K graphics out of your gaming rig or console, you can’t go wrong with a display like this. The only problem is, displays like this are not very power-smart, despite claiming to be.

Features

  • Resolution: 4K
  • Size(s): 49”,55”, 65”, 75”, 82”
  • Display Type: Smart TV
  • Onboard Apps: Samsung Standard
  • Ports: Coaxial, HDMI, RCA Audio, Sound Bar Interface
  • Remote: Yes
  • Display Technology: OLED

Performance

This is very similar to the one I have, though, for some reason, my 60” form factor doesn’t seem to be that common. How does anyone fit 65+ in a reasonable space, I must ask? But, like my LG, the picture on this is absolutely stunning, my friend has one of these in his living room. Games, even old ones that don’t use the resolution, look amazing and crisp.

This is the type of imagery I’d imagined these science fiction displays managing. And it’s only going to get sharper and more impressive as we go through the rest of this list!

Pros Cons
  • Slim.
  • Vivid color.
  • Extensive smart features.
  • Expensive.
  • No DVI/VGA.
  • Huge and heavy.

Conclusion

For those AAA gamers who want the absolute ultimate resolution out of their new games, you need a display like this. The downside is, these things may look slim and elegant, but oh my goodness, are they heavy. I honestly don’t know how I managed to hoist mine up onto my dresser by myself, looking back on it. They’re also a bit fragile, so be careful when you ship these!

Samsung UN55NU8000FXZA Flat 55" 4K UHD 8 Series: Check the current price

TCL 49S405 49-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2017 Model) – Ultra Smart 4K

TCL 49-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV: photoThis is basically a 4K version of the previous Roku we looked at a moment ago. It has the same features, hookups and so on, but provides an ultra HD millions of colors experience that makes this definitely a more ideal TV for gamers who want TV features too.

Features

  • Resolution: 4K
  • Size(s): 49”
  • Display Type: Smart TV
  • Onboard Apps: Roku Set
  • Ports: Coaxial, HDMI, RCA Audio
  • Remote: Yes
  • Display Technology: OLED

Performance

Like the other Roku, the smart TV features of this display will be kind of useless to you if you’re plugging your PC into it. But, if you want this as a living room or bedroom screen where you need built in web, streaming, and cable, this is a great solution. For ultra HD, it’s very affordable, too.

It looks really sharp, and the interface is nice and responsive. My one complaint is, I don’t like Netflix’ smart TV app interface, it’s a lot more obtuse than the PC version. The same can be said for the YouTube app on smart TVs.

Pros Cons
  • Slim.
  • Vivid color. 
  • Extensive smart features.
  • Smart features are nice, but pointless if you hook your PC up to this.

Conclusion 

If you want to actually use your TV as a TV, then this is definitely a good example of modern smart TV technology. But, for PC gamers, all these accouterments have little point. If you’re like me, and you watch everything through your computer (I even have an overclocked Raspberry Pi 3 in my living room in lieu of a cable box), you won’t get much out of these. Still, it’s an affordable TV, and the display is really crispy.

TCL 49S405 49-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart: Check the current price

LG Electronics 49UK6300PUE 49-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2018 Model) – Fantastic Color Depth

LG 49-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV: photo

Now this is a familiar sight. This is the one I have, though mine’s the 60” 2017 model. It’s not much different though, this one just has a better remote, and the 60” size isn’t available for it. I can speak from personal experience that this is a fantastic screen for video, gaming and even as an ultra-large monitor for work.

Features

  • Resolution: 4K
  • Size(s): 49”
  • Display Type: Smart TV
  • Onboard Apps: LG Standard App Set
  • Ports: Coaxial, HDMI, RCA Audio
  • Remote: Yes
  • Display Technology: OLED

Performance

The smart TV side of this is pretty standard, offering a browser, YouTube, NetFlix, Hulu, VUDU and Amazon apps with the option to install more if you choose. Honestly, since I have this hooked up to my computer, I never bother with the smart features much.
One thing to keep in mind is to be sure settings are on “Game” for this TV, or the lag will be severe, as I mentioned earlier.

Pros Cons
  • Gorgeous color depth.
  • Nice remote.
  • Excellent response time when in game mode.
  • Smart features are nice, but pointless if you hook your PC up to this.
  • Picture effects make games unplayably laggy.

Conclusion

This is a fantastic screen for gaming and video, though as I said, the post-processing picture effects make it laggy for games, severely so. But honestly, the unadulterated picture of Game Mode is gorgeous, and none of those other modes really contribute anything unless you’ve got a video with odd lighting to combat. I love my LG and am happy to recommend this one to gamers both PC and console alike.

LG Electronics 49UK6300PUE 49-Inch 4K: Check the current price

Toshiba 50LF621U19 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV HDR - Fire TV Edition

Toshiba 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV HDR: photo

This gorgeous display brings Amazon Fire technology, which is about as close to a slick Android sentiment as you get on most smart TVs these days. Again, though, aside from the much faster enhancements it allows for your games, these smart features will be moot if you plug this into your computer.

Features

  • Resolution: 4K
  • Size(s): 40”
  • Display Type: Smart TV
  • Onboard Apps: Amazon Fire Set
  • Ports: Coaxial, HDMI, RCA Audio
  • Remote: Yes
  • Display Technology: OLED

Performance

I’m not wild about the interface most smart TVs use, as it’s based around sequential button pressing to select elements, like how game console interfaces are. I feel like this could be done better, and it’s one of the reasons that despite my two smart TVs being capable of the web and streaming on their own, I hook computers to them with vastly superior interfaces.

The thing is, if you have a PC or a game console hooked to these, these smart features are moot, given the consoles and PCs can do it, and often have more apps at their disposal. So, I have had a hard time citing smart TV features as something gamers are going to care about, PC or not. As just a display, this has a beautiful picture though.

Pros Cons
  • Gorgeous color depth.
  • Nice remote. 
  • Intuitive system (as smart TV UIs go).
  • These smart features are the most advanced, but are lost on gamers I think.

Conclusion

Maybe you have others in your home whom will use the TV as just a TV, who aren’t comfortable trying to use your console or computer, but are used to the simplicity of smart TV interfaces. If that’s the case, I recommend this as the best of both worlds. Otherwise, though, I think you’re paying for Amazon software you won’t use.

Toshiba 50LF621U19 50-inch 4K: Check the current price

Sony KD43X720E 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2017 Model) – Best HD TV for PC Gamers

Sony 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV: photo

This one’s HDR is the best I’ve seen, and honestly, my TV is a little jealous of it, I think. What I like most though is the fact that the smart features are downplayed – this makes it not wasted as a gaming display – that probably hurts it in the eyes of people who want just a self-contained smart TV with web features.

Features

  • Resolution: 4K
  • Size(s): 43”
  • Display Type: Smart TV
  • Onboard Apps: Basic Sony Package, YouTube, Netflix, Store
  • Ports: Coaxial, HDMI, RCA Audio
  • Remote: Yes
  • Display Technology: OLED

Performance

This one’s smart features are honestly weak which, were I critiquing these with the scenario of a self-contained media solution, would hurt it despite the stunning picture it can produce. But, since we’re weighing these for their value as high-quality gaming displays, this is now my favorite one on the list.

Pros Cons
  • Downplayed vestigial functionality.
  • Fantastic HDR. 
  • Affordable.
  • Really only ideal for gamers, others in your home may find the weaker smart features to be a problem. Rock and a hard place.

Conclusion 

I am comfortable saying this is my highest recommendation to gamers, though I don’t like how small it is. Larger versions of this solution do exist for a higher price, though, and I myself am all about giant screens for my games, within reason.

Sony KD43X720E 43-Inch 4K: Check the current price

Comparative Chart of Gaming TVs

Product Features

Samsung UN32M4500A

Resolution: 720p
Size(s): 24”, 32”
Display Type: TV
Onboard Apps: None
Ports: Coaxial, HDMI, RCA Audio
Remote: Yes
Display Technology: LED

TCL 32S305

Resolution: 720p
Size(s): 28”, 32”, 40”, 43”, 49”
Display Type: Smart TV
Onboard Apps: Roku Set
Ports: Coaxial, HDMI, RCA Audio
Remote: Yes
Display Technology: LED

Sony KDL32W600D

Resolution: 1080p
Size(s): 32”, 40”, 48”
Display Type: Smart TV
Onboard Apps: YouTube, Web
Ports: Coaxial, HDMI, RCA Audio
Remote: Yes
Display Technology: LCD/LED Hybrid

Samsung UN55NU8000FXZA

Resolution: 4K
Size(s): 49”,55”, 65”, 75”, 82”
Display Type: Smart TV
Onboard Apps: Samsung Standard
Ports: Coaxial, HDMI, RCA Audio, Sound Bar Interface
Remote: Yes
Display Technology: OLED

TCL 49S405

Resolution: 4K
Size(s): 49”
Display Type: Smart TV
Onboard Apps: Roku Set
Ports: Coaxial, HDMI, RCA Audio
Remote: Yes
Display Technology: OLED

How do I Hook a Gaming TV to My PC?

This is actually very easy to do with Windows or Linux – simply connect the HDMI to both, and the GPU will detect it. If you don’t have HDMI, you may need to upgrade your GPU, as most modern ones have HDMI almost exclusively. If you have DVI or VGA, you can use an adapter, but again, your GPU is probably not fit for gaming in the modern age.

FAQ 

What’s the difference between gaming on a small TV vs big?
In older games, it’s just a wow factor. With modern games, you can see more detail, and it feels more cinematic and theatrical.

What’s the difference between gaming TV LED and LCD?
LEDs have more solid lighting, lag less, and ghost less than LCD.

What Hz do I need to look for in a gaming TV? 60, 120 or 240?
Games run at either 30 or 60fps, which means their refresh is either 60Hz or 30Hz, so 60 is sufficient. There will be less lag from higher speeds though in some cases.

What is a good response time for a gaming monitor? (gaming monitor vs. TV)
About 1/3 of a second, or 333ms is about the best a TV will do. Monitors, you’re looking at about half that delay or 167ms.

What kind of refresh rate is the best for gaming?
This is the same as the Hz question, as that’s the refresh rate. So once more, 60Hz, or 60fps, is sufficient.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • A vivid picture which takes graphics to the next level.
  • Somewhat future proof.
  • Bigger display for more detail.
  • More energy efficient than CRTs were.
  • Doesn’t look washed out like projection.

Cons

  • Slower than monitors.
  • Often has unneeded features.
  • Expensive compared to monitors.
  • Old games with 4:3 can stretch strangely.

Conclusion

Display technology has come a long way, and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here. I have to wonder, if I make a prediction now as I did in the 1980s, would I be right again? Either way, one of these will meet your needs, just expect to pay for features you won’t use if you want HDR and 4K.

Want to know how were things in 2015? Read on.

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.

A Gaming TV vs. a Monitor

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 (Check the current price). This isn’t a low-cost model, but you truly get good value for money.

Samsung UN32H5203 Refurbished LED 1080p 120CMR Smart HDTV Built-In Wi-Fi

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.

How to choose an optimal size?

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 (Check the current price) 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.

VIZIO D32h-C0 32-Inch 720p LED TV

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.

Comparing 60 Hz and 120 Hz

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 – 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 was a №1 Best Seller in LED & LCD category. In the last case, the impressive size is combined with small weight and fine mounting adjustment.

LG Electronics 42LF5600 TV

How do I connect a Gaming TV to my PC?

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.

vga connection

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.

DVI connectionIt’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 (Check the current price) as a perfect indicator of good value for money.

AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable Those are, in fact, the main types of connection, and I’ll guide you through the DIY methods next time, if you want.

Why can the TV retard in shooting and strategy games?

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.

How to get rid of TV lags?

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!

Don't forget about TV backlight

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.   

gaming tv backlight

What else do you need to be quite comfortable playing computer games?

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!

3DTV Gaming on PC

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.

Watching 3D

Obviously, there is only one 3D reality, but the ways to actually see it are different.

  • Anaglyph

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 (Check the current price), though some cooler glasses are framed in plastic (Check the current price).

anaglyph 3d glasses

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.

Its advantages:

– Simplicity
– Super low cost

Its disadvantage:

– 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!

passive 3D glassesThanks 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 (Check the current price).

Their advantages:

– Low cost
– Eye fatigue

Their disadvantage:

– 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.

active 3d glasses

Samsung SSG-5150GB 3D Active Glasses (Check the current price) - are the most popular 3D Active glasses. 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.

Their advantage:

– Great image quality

Their disadvantages:

– High probability of interference (the image can double)
Considerable eye fatigue

How to play games in real 3D on TV

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.

1. TV

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.

2. Connection

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.

how to connect tv with a monitor

3. Hardware

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.

4. Software

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 – Check the current price).

Nvidia 3D Vision 2 Wireless Glasses Kit

TriDef 3D

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.

How to Choose a 3D TV?

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)

Sony KDL50W800C 50-Inch 1080p 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV

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 here 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: Check the current price.

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 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, Gadgets-reviews.com will tell you everything about them! Stay with us.