They are there ! Xbox Series S and X, PlayStation 5, next-gen consoles are finally here and the question that immediately arises is: do I have the best TV to enjoy it? For all intents and purposes, it should be noted that these new consoles are compatible with the vast majority of installed TV sets. All you need is an HDMI port to be able to connect them and enjoy them. But what about their real abilities, and more specifically the game in 4K at 120 Hz? For lovers of the image, demanding gamers or simply those who want to take full advantage of their purchase, this criterion is essential and it considerably reduces the number of compatible televisions. Explanations.
To read: our test of the Xbox Series X
HDM1 2.1 compatibility: the keystone
The main criterion in 2020 to define a gaming television, it is therefore HDMI 2.1. This new protocol holds with it an ultimate promise: 4K gaming at 120 FPS. Why is HDMI 2.1 so important? Quite simply because it is the current interface allowing the most flow. In short, we have to imagine this new interface as a bigger pipe allowing more information to pass. In this case, in HDMI 2.1, the bandwidth evolves from 18 Gbps (HDMI 2.0) to 48 Gbps. With such a speed, it is possible to transmit very large data streams, very precisely 8K at 60 FPS or 4K at 120 FPS.
To read: our first impressions of the Playstation 5
Warning ! Just because your TV displays a nice HDMI 2.1 logo doesn’t mean that all features are unlocked. Indeed, the HDMI 2.1 label contains many features and it is not necessary to integrate them all to claim to be compatible. In fact, some TV manufacturers proudly display the HDMI 2.1 logo even though they only offer one feature linked to the new interface, on a single port, moreover. To be sure that your television can make the most of the new consoles, you must firstly ensure that it is 100 Hz and, above all, that it integrates VRR and ALLM technologies in addition to HDMI 2.1. As soon as you apply these filters, the number of compatible models shrinks.
Sony – The Japanese have set up a compatibility label for their PS5.
Currently, there are too few HDMI 2.1 sources. There are of course the new PS5 and Xbox Series X which have a few compatible titles and the latest graphics cards from Nvidia, the RTX 3070, 3080 and 3090, but that is not always enough. Indeed, not all games, even the most recent ones, run 4K and 120 Hz. TV compatibility alone is therefore not enough, you must also check the side of the game jacket.
VRR, ALLN, Gaming Mode, the essentials
Once these basics have been laid, let’s look at the technologies specific to the HDMI 2.1 interface and what they change for the player. In other words, why should you make sure that your TV integrates VRR and ALLM.
VRR : Variable Refresh rate
This technology makes it possible to vary, in real time, the refresh rate of the images according to the rate at which they are sent by the processor. TVs that do not have this feature will therefore have a fixed refresh rate (50/60 frames per second or 100/120 frames per second). The risk is of course that of tearing, that is to say of a tearing of the image due precisely to this shift. As the VRR constantly aligns the display frequency with that of the processor, this unpleasant effect disappears. Concretely, it is the sharpness of the moving images which is improved as a whole.
LG – LG has partnered with Microsoft to support the release of the Xbox Series S and X.
ALLM : Auto Low latency Mode
Less determining than the VRR, the ALLM is an option which brings a certain comfort to the player. Indeed, this is a feature that allows the TV to automatically understand the switch to console mode. Concretely, the PS5 or the Xbox Series X / S send a message to the television, which automatically switches to “gaming mode”. For televisions that do not have a proper game mode, the ALLM quite simply allows certain image processing to be deactivated and thus improved input lag.
Gaming Mode: the little extra (when it’s well managed)
Today, most manufacturers use a gaming mode, which allows, on paper at least, to improve the experience of players. In the vast majority of cases, this functionality is managed in a similar manner by TV specialists, ie by deactivating superfluous image processing, which makes it possible to reduce the display delay. Some manufacturers go even further in the game options. This is particularly the case of Samsung which offers on many of its models the “Dynamic Black Equalizer”. Concretely, this is a function that makes it possible to reduce the opacity of dark areas in the game and therefore to flush out certain enemies who are hidden there. Fairly limited from a moral point of view and in terms of game atmosphere but rather profitable in terms of frags on some FPS!
The HDMI cable: an error that can be fatal
Who says new HDMI interface, also says need to switch to cables compatible with the new protocol. A fairly typical mistake would be to rush into unboxing your new console and plug it in directly via the HDMI jack of the device it replaces. This would necessarily result in an image far enough from the 4K at 60 FPS sought. Our last tip for the road is therefore to remember to use the HDMI cable supplied with your new game console.
On paper, HDMI 2.1 does seem to be an essential component for a successful association between a PS5 and a TV. And in the facts? Our first tests with the new Xboxes and the latest Playstation confirm the initial promise. Our LG 55GX6LA OLED used to “torture” the next gen, it displays a sublime image, with rather warm colors without saturation. As for the level of contrast and sharpness of the image they are simply impeccable. The transition to 4K 120 FPS is bluffing. Certainly, PC players have already had a glimpse of it for a long time, but having the same result on home consoles for less than 500 euros is caviar.
Also to discover in video:
Therefore, a question arises: what are the best current televisions to enjoy 4K 120 Hz with your PS5 or Xbox Series S / X?
Our TV recommendations
The choice of console does not affect that of the TV. What matters above all here is HDMI 2.1 compatibility, input lag and image quality.
LG OLED55CX (1690 euros)
LG – The LG CX in its 48 inch version.
It’s our gaming benchmark of 2020 and one of the most successful TVs of the year. LG’s latest generation of OLEDs aren’t just content with being among the best image quality benchmarks on the market, they also have a host of video game optimizations. Of course, HDMI 2.1, VRR and ALLM are in the game but LG is also adding a G-Sync mode for PC players. The CX is also available in 48, 65 and 75 inches.
Sony 55XH90 (999 euros)
Sony – The XH90 is one of the few HDMI 2.1 models for less than $ 1,000.
As paradoxical as it may seem, Sony, the father of the PS5, only had two HDMI 2.1 TVs in its catalog on the day its console was released: the ZH8 at more than 6,000 euros and a much more affordable XH90. Indeed, available at less than 1000 euros, in its 55-inch version, it is the most affordable proposition for playing in 4K and 120 FPS in your living room.
Samsung Q80T and Q800T (1190 and 3990 euros)
Samsung – The Q80T offers great value for money.
Samsung offers more HDMI 2.1 compatible references than its competitors. Among them, we have chosen to select two models. The first is the Q80T which at less than 1200 euros in 55 inches represents one of the best quality / price ratios of the moment.
Samsung – The Q800T is Korean’s most accessible 8K product.
As for those who would like even higher performance in terms of image quality and cinema, the move upmarket means a switch to 8K. At Samsung the first HDMI 2.1 compatible proposal is the Q800T from 65 inches.