Since the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, gamers looking for the best TV to get the most out of their next-gen console and/or gaming PC have made an easy decision in my opinion: just buy an LG OLED.
Since the beginning of 2019, when the new consoles were just a twinkle in the eyes of their respective manufacturers, OLEDs from the C-series have four HDMI 2.1 connections that support the most demanding 4K/120Hz signals. The company has stayed ahead ever since, delivering new gaming features like VRR and ALLM long before they were actually needed.
Samsung is the closest brand, with its top QLED models also having four HDMI 2.1 inputs for yonks and gaming feature support delivered quickly and comprehensively. Local dimming is a bit of a hit in game mode, though, and the perfect blacks and truly stunning contrast of an LG OLED is preferable, at least for me.
What about Samsung’s new QD-OLED, the S95B? That’s an exceptional gaming TV, but recent reports of a firmware update causing serious problems in VRR are a bit concerning. It also, like any other Samsung TV, lacks support for Dolby Vision, and Dolby Vision gaming, which is offered by the Xbox Series X, is really great with certain games.
Still, I’ll gladly accept that the S95B QD-OLED or any high-end QLED are excellent gaming TVs – I’ve lived with many of the latter over the years – but I just believe an LG OLED is the most ‘correct’ one ‘ choice.
So what about all the other manufacturers? While LG and Samsung produce the chips in their TVs, virtually every other manufacturer uses MediaTek chipsets, and no commercially available MediaTek chipset supports more than two HDMI 2.1 connections.
Is having only two HDMI 2.1 connections a big deal? Not for everyone no but it’s worth pointing out that in all cases I know of one of those HDMI 2.1 connections is also the eARC port so if you need that to output sound to a soundbar or AVR, you only have one premium input left for your console or PC. Again, that won’t be a problem for many, but even if you only have a PS5 right now, are you sure you won’t also want an Xbox Series X or gaming PC one day? What if the Nintendo Switch successor uses HDMI 2.1?
Even those MediaTek-based TVs that do have HDMI 2.1 inputs generally need to get creative if they want to support 4K/120Hz, while disabling other features. For example, none of them support Dolby Vision above 60 Hz, and Sony TVs don’t support Dolby Vision gaming at all (well, you can game in Dolby Vision, but the input lag is unplayably high).
However, next year everything will change. MediaTek has now produced the Pentonic 1000 chip, which supports four HDMI 2.1 connections and is rumored to hit TVs early next year. This chip also supports new features like Dolby Vision IQ with Precision Detail and even 4K 144Hz with VRR (which isn’t a factor for consoles yet, but is for some lucky PC gamers). And while 4K 120Hz with Dolby Vision isn’t specifically mentioned in the spec sheet, as far as I can see there’s no obvious technological reason it’s not supported.
What that means is that January’s CES 2023 should be packed with TVs that support every possible gaming feature on all four of their HDMI inputs, and that’s going to give spec-hungry gamers plenty of choice.
To be clear, I’m certainly not saying the only reason to buy an LG OLED for gaming has been the spec sheet and I think there’s a good chance that the 2023 LG C2 and G2 replacements will be the best gaming TVs stay, but it is certainly not guaranteed. Personally, I’m really excited about the prospect of a Sony QD-OLED that has all the gaming specs of an LG OLED, and who knows what other brands might have QD-OLED TVs with new MediaTek chips up their sleeve? Then there’s Samsung’s S95B successor, assuming there is one. Will it support Dolby Vision, and thus Dolby Vision gaming? I don’t think it’s likely (something about hell freezing comes to mind), but you never know.
In short, those in the market for a gaming TV should consider waiting until 2023 when there’s likely to be a lot more choice. That said, waiting is hard, and those LG C2 and Samsung S95B prices have been mighty tempting lately…