Is Your TV Holding Back Your Next-Gen Console?

Close-up of person playing with on a PlayStation 5.
Mohsen Vaziri/shutterstock.com

The next generation is here in the form of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Both systems boast impressive specs, but when it comes time to actually play, you might realize you’re not seeing the full benefits. Your TV is just as important when it comes to delivering quality visuals as the console. And if you haven’t bought a new TV in the past couple of years, then you’re probably missing out.

What Do the New Consoles Even Offer?

Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 on gray backdrop
Microsoft, Sony

The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X each feature plenty of visual enhancement features. The most obvious for many is resolution; 4K resolution was starting to become more common with systems like the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X releasing, but the new generation has accelerated that further. In fact, both systems can technically support 8K resolutions, however, it’s extremely limited in what games can actually run with it. The PlayStation 5 specifically will be receiving more support for 8K through software updates further down the road.

Besides the resolution, one of the biggest selling points of both of these systems is the framerates. 60 FPS in games is being delivered on much more consistently this generation with some titles even able to run at 120 FPS—typically at the cost of decreased graphics settings or resolution. The higher the framerate, the smoother the game looks, and it can be particularly important in competitive games if you want an edge over your opponents.

The Xbox Series S is a notable outlier in both of these categories. It’s built to be a more budget-friendly version of the Series X, and it shows in both specs and performance—you can’t expect the same frame rates or resolutions in this cheaper console. The Series S targets 1440p in most games with either 60 FPS or 120 FPS.

The final thing of note is HDR10 support—both consoles have it and the Xbox Series X even features “Auto-HDR” to incorporate the tech into games that didn’t originally launch with it. But while the PlayStation 5 only supports HDR10, the Xbox Series X and S support Dolby Vision as well. To put it simply, both of these standards just make things look nicer with improved color accuracy and detail. Dolby Vision is often regarded as the better format out of the two, so if you’re on team Xbox we definitely recommend going with a TV that supports Dolby Vision.

Do You Need to Upgrade?

Two LG 8K TVs on display
Grzegorz Czapski/shutterstock.com

We’ve gone over quite a bit, but when it comes to the question of “Do You Need to Upgrade?” it can come down a lot to your personal preferences. If you want to squeeze the absolute max performance out of your new console and haven’t purchased a new TV in a couple of years, you will almost certainly want to start looking at new TVs.

However, you might already have a TV that supports 4K 60 FPS from last-gen, and if you’re fine with that you’re done. While 120 FPS is nice, it’s not necessary at all and the jump between 60 FPS and 120 FPS isn’t as major as you may expect. It’s easy to tell what frame rates a TV can display; in the specs page just look for the “refresh rate” (measured in Hertz) and the refresh rate directly translates to the FPS the TV can display. So, for example, a 60 HZ TV will be able to display a maximum of 60 FPS. It’s important to keep an eye out for fakes though—there are multiple tricks manufacturers can pull to technically have a 120 Hz display without delivering on the genuine thing.

8K is worth talking about, but frankly, it’s not worth the high price you’ll be paying for it. 8K TVs have slowly been penetrating the market and they’re very expensive right now. With how limited 8K support will be for both games and general media as a whole at the moment, being an early adopter doesn’t offer much besides future-proofing.

But, of course, as time goes on TVs with higher refresh rates and resolutions will become less expensive—that’s just the nature of things. These are features relatively new to the TV market, so while many of the options right now are insanely expensive (often reaching over $1,500 for a 4K 120 HZ TV), that will change.

Any 4K TV you find should some version of HDR, but if you want the best image possible, you’ll want one that features HDR10 for the PlayStation 5 or Dolby Vision for the Xbox Series X/S. You can find plenty of TVs with one or the other from a wide range of manufacturers.

What TV Should You Buy for Your Console?

LG OLED65CXPUA TV
LG

If you just want the best TV for your new console (without stepping into the world of 8K options) then this model from LG is your best bet. It’s a massive screen available in sizes ranging from 48 to 77 inches, supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and it can display up to 120 FPS all on top of a beautiful OLED panel. You’re paying a pretty penny for all these premium features, but if you want to enjoy your new console to the max this is the TV you wanna buy.

The Premium Pick

LG OLED65CXPUA Alexa Built-in CX 65-inch 4K Smart OLED TV (2020 Model)

A TV with all the high-end features your new console needs.

TCL 55
TCL

However, you can save a good amount if you’re willing to go with the smaller TCL 6 Series TV. Not only does this TV comes with Roku TV out of the box, but it still features a 4K, 120 Hz display. It supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10 so you’re covered regardless of console. It’s a great option if you don’t feel like dropping all your savings on a new TV.

The Budget Choice

TCL - 55-inch Class 6 Series LED 4K UHD Smart Roku TV

A less expensive alternative that still offers an impressive display.


The new consoles are impressive pieces of tech, even if you might need to shell out a decent bit to be ready for them. But an advantage to all of this is that the features being demonstrated by these consoles will bleed over to other media. More video content is being produced at higher frame rates and resolutions (especially online content), and your new TV will make all of that look fantastic, along with making your new console even more worth it.

Eric Schoon Eric Schoon
Eric Schoon is a writer for Review Geek and has spent most of his life thinking about and analyzing products of all shapes and sizes. From the latest games to the hottest smartphones, he enjoys finding the greatest strengths and weaknesses of everything he gets his hands on and then passing that information on to you. Read Full Bio »

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