Gaming devices today are capable of a whole host of
incredible visual features that can completely alter the way you enjoy your
games - but only if you’re television supports them.
Technology moves at a fast pace, and it’s easy to get left
behind. For that reason, the best television you can use for games is the one
you have in front of you. Ultimately, it’s the software that makes the
experience, not necessarily what you play it on.
But that doesn’t change the fact that if you don’t have a
modern TV you could be missing out on features as wide-ranging as high
framerates, 4k resolution, VRR and HDR. All of these can easily improve your
Graphics aren’t everything. Remove the visuals that we’re
all so sure we need and you still have some incredible experiences that for years were almost entirely
the standard. But each of the above features does more than just make the game
look more attractive.
So before you decide to go and spend thousands of dollars on the latest graphics card, ask if your set-up supports what you’re aiming to do.
We all know the guy who builds a gaming PC to play games at
their best, but then pairs it with a 60hz monitor. Making sure that your screen
supports the ability to show more frames per second will make your experience
smoother and your reaction times faster.
Some higher-end TV screens can support up to 120fps, while
monitors range wildly from 60 to 90 to 100 to 120 to 144 and upwards.
For many people, 60 will be enough (some even favour 30fps).
But the technology is there to take things further if that’s something you’d
like to explore.
There’s another advantage to this, especially on
PlayStation. For games that give you visual options – performance, fidelity,
etc – there are sometimes special 120hz modes that let you play with the
highest visual options at 40fps. This is a big, big difference, and a perfect
compromise between performance and fidelity. If only more games supported it.
This is a bit of a mixed blessing. Good 4k resolution will
always make for an impressive sight, with everything looking sharp and
well-defined. It can really make the difference, especially if you’re on a
bigger TV and you’re playing something with plenty of oomph in the graphics
And yet even today getting a 4k resolution isn’t easy. Most
console games aren’t outputting at 4k, and you can see why if you start
experimenting with it on PC. Even older gamers don’t always run as smoothly as
you expect them to if you try to render so many pixels at once.
There are ways around it. DLSS is excellent, and only
getting better. And putting something into 1440p on a 4k screen, while
noticeable, is more bearable than playing at 4k.
If you’re buying a TV, 4K is transformative, and
especially if you’re into films. But if you have a computer monitor, it might
be worth exploring the idea of a smaller 1440p resolution, and especially if
you’re playing on a smaller screen.
Ever noticed stuttering when your game struggles to maintain
a decent frame rate? VRR – or variable refresh rate – is your friend. And of
all the things on this list, it’s probably the most underrated game-changer.
At the beginning of the generation when certain games were
struggling, people with VRR didn’t notice because their screen was
capable of representing the actual frame rate being shown, rather than sticking
to 60fps and struggling to hit it. The difference between 55 and 60fps should
be small, and VRR makes it exactly that.
There are some provisos on some TVs, so you’ll have to
do some research before hitting buy if this is for you. It’s also slightly more
complicated on PC. But the information is out there, and it’s a feature worth
getting figured out.
High dynamic range, or HDR, allows for a wider range of
colours and brightness. It’s also the most misunderstood feature on the
internet. That’s partly because of some very dodgy branding which allows people
to buy “HDR-ready” screens that effectively just can pass through the signal. If
you’ve ever wondered why things are so dark when you’re playing in HDR, there’s
a decent chance you don’t have an HDR screen at all.
You can check that by seeing if you’re screen is 8bit or
10bit. The former won’t show HDR content as it’s supposed to be seen.
Once you see it properly, you can tell the difference. Some
say it’s a bigger leap than 4k, but I say it’s a combination of the two that
makes modern screens so beautiful to look at.
Do You Need To Upgrade Your Television? - Conclusion
If you’re happy with everything you’ve got, it doesn’t matter what you’re missing out on. But many of the foibles of modern
gaming can be ironed out with a decent screen. Not only that, the high points
can be improved by what you’re viewing it on too.
With 8k not really a thing, and only minor updates coming to
screens shortly, now is as good a time to upgrade as any if it’s
something you’ve been waiting to do.