Anyone who’s ever held a controller or logged in to a multiplayer match knows the word “lag.” Traditionally, it refers to the slowdown or stoppage of action due to poor network or Internet connectivity. In this case, we’re dealing with TV input lag, which is the span of time between when a TV is sent a signal, and when it reacts. Usually this is a matter of milliseconds, which doesn’t matter for passive watching. For active gaming, particularly if you’re the quick-twitch FPS type, those milliseconds of input lag are the difference between capturing the flag, or getting one shotted by some camper.
As display resolutions have increased into the 4K (and beyond) range, the input lag has also risen, though the ratio varies from television to television. The better the resolution on your TV, the more likely it is to lag and give you controller-tossing fits. That’s why heavy gamers who do their killing on consoles need specialized gear. Each of these 6 gaming televisions offers minimal lag, superb resolution, plenty of jacks for all your inputs, and features display settings that can make the dullest games pop.
Since the television market is deeper than Morrisey’s sighs, it’s impossible to capture every TV that does a great job when it comes to the unique needs of gamers. Though you could order online, you may also want to head to your nearest box store so you can see the boob tubes in action. There’s no substitute for what you see with your own peepers. Something you love might not be right for your killing sprees. For that reason, it helps to know which names often hit the best benchmarks when it comes to lag, blud, display, and options.
You’ll notice there’s a pattern to what companies consistently perform, and on average have television lines that are capable of fast action, limited blur, and accurate output. Sony and LG are among our favorites from top to bottom. Typically those two bring the heavy bats, but they also run a little steeper. For those who want quality at a lower price point, the newer TCL is widely used, and has rapidly earned the respect of pros and amateurs alike. Beyond those, there’s some high-end Samsung choices that are respectable, but almost nothing worth your time in the cheaper range. Vizio is highly hit or miss, which means each model is going to need attention to determine if it’s going to work. With the exception listed below.
The price is low enough to make anyone sweat the resolution that is going to come out of this TCL model. Well, wipe your brow, as this presents a gorgeous level of picture quality for an inexpensive model. It also has built-in Roku, which is superior to other dongle streaming services available. Input lag is tiny, though again, it’s good for a less-expensive model and not necessarily the best around. A lot of high-end features and options aren’t available here, but fat had to be trimmed somewhere. Purchase: $160-$390
Marginally better picture than the cheaper TCL with comparable lag times, you need to make sure it’s put into Game mode so the television knows what you’re about. Otherwise, you’ll see a painful spike in lag as the picture attempts to adjust. It has the usual smart features, but is lean on whistles and/or bells. You’re not going to find anything outside of a minimally greater picture with the LG than you would with the less costly TCL. This is suggested for devoted fans of LG, or anyone who want to stay with a known name, rather than throw cash at an upstart who may prove to be a flash in the pan. Purchase: $389
Vizio P Series
The viewing angle on the P Series isn’t nearly as good as you’d find on an OLED TV, but besides that minor flaw – or major depending on your room decor – you’ll get a wee 16 ms worth of input lag. That will satisfy anyone in the gaming community, including PC adherents who swear that consoles are inferior. Managing motion seems to be what this TV does, and as you whip through 60+ fps, it’s easy to notice how much clarity comes through. Couple that with smart use of black framing and you’re talking about a choice chunk of hardware. Purchase: $600+
Sony’s X900E is more of a broad spectrum television than one geared specifically for gaming. The intent here is to keep a whole family happy, and to offer a range of sizes, to say nothing of features. The input lag is a little more than you’ll notice with other items on this list, but only at the standard level. If you own a console that supports real 4K, the game actually changes. HDR (High Dynamic Resolution) gaming involves a much deeper color saturation and more vivid shadowing. It gives games a total makeover, but will often slow down the latency of low-grade televisions. With the X900E, the lag is sorely reduced without hurting the profound visuals being thrown around. Purchase: $950
The maker of exploding phones might make dangerous pocket gear, but when it comes to gaming televisions, they’ve more than made amends. The MU9000 is a replacement for Samsung’s previous KS9000, though there’s very few upgrades under the hood. A slightly – and we mean sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiightly – enhanced picture and a few niche features are about all the MU9000 does that the KS9000 didn’t. The reason for pointing that out: If you can find a KS9000, which will be sorely discounted, you can snag that. As it stands, the slightly prettier cousin will have to do. Deadly low on lag and capable of handling ripping movement without much blur, it can also tackle all other media with gusto. Purchase: $1,500+
Almost no motion blur occurs on the big, bad B7, nor is there enough input lag to mention. Those are both great, and make this for a sterling gaming television. The same aspects that hold true for gaming aid in watching intense action or live sports, so if you like your entertainment fast-paced even when you’re not controlling the action, the B7 has you sitting pretty. It’s a little difficult to get too excited about this TV, since the price is so huge that anything other than greatness would be a let down. Luckily, it lives up to, but won’t blow away expectations. Purchase: $1,597