The best big screen televisions for playing video games have a lot in common with other high quality television sets. The picture quality has to be flawless, and the contrast ratio should be high. The screen also needs to be an appropriate size for the room in which it is placed.
Gamers also tend to have a few unique concerns. Poor response time, high input lag, or an inopportune moment of screen glare can instantly wipe out any competitive edge that might have been provided by a big screen television. In order to select the best big screen for gaming, you need to consider all of the benefits and drawbacks offered by the main television display formats.
Modern plasma televisions are excellent for gaming, but they can suffer from a handful of notable drawbacks. Image retention is the biggest issue that’s commonly associated with this display format. This is less of an issue than it once was, because most video game systems have screen savers. Modern plasma televisions are also less prone to image retention than older models.
There are also a number of benefits to gaming with a plasma television. Plasma sets typically have higher contrast ratios than other types of big screen televisions, and modern sets also have excellent response times and refresh rates.
LCD and LED
The only difference between LCD and LED televisions is the method of backlighting, so these technologies share many of the same benefits and drawbacks for gaming. LCD sets typically have higher response times than plasma sets, which can be a deal breaker for any serious gamer. LCD sets usually have lower contrast ratios as well, but LED televisions are excellent at displaying deep blacks.
One advantage that LCD and LED televisions have over most plasma sets is a lack of screen glare. Unlike LCD and LED sets, plasma televisions use glass screens. Since glass tends to reflect a lot of light, plasma televisions are subject to screen glare issues that LCD and LED sets aren’t. If you decide to go with a plasma television, it can be crucial to find one that has an anti-glare coating.
Front and Rear Projection
If cost is your biggest concern, then you should consider a front or rear projection set. These televisions provide the most screen real estate for the least amount of money, but the picture quality is usually lower too. Some DLP televisions suffer from a rainbow effect that’s caused by a spinning color wheel, so it’s vital for gamers to stay away from those models. Most DLPs do offer acceptable response times and refresh rates, so they’re usually good for fast gameplay.
Most televisions include some type of game mode, so that’s something else to look into when shopping for a big screen. Game mode typically removes any post processing from the equation, which can reduce input lag. Since high input lag can cost you a serious competitive edge, it’s vital for a big screen television to have an easily accessible game mode.
Inputs, Resolutions and Other Features
If you plan on hooking your big screen up to your computer, you need to find a set that can handle a 1080p resolution. Lower resolutions are adequate for console gaming, but the PC gaming experience demands the highest resolution possible.
It’s also vital to choose a set that has enough inputs. If you’re just buying a big screen to plug in your Blu-ray player and cable box, that’s not a tremendous concern. Gamers typically need a lot of inputs, because it can be an enormous hassle to shuffle HDMI cables whenever it’s time to switch between the XBox 360 and the PS3.
Another feature you may want to think about is 3D. Some televisions are billed as “3D ready,” which means they require additional hardware. Other televisions come with everything you need right out of the box. If you plan on taking advantage of the 3D features offered by your video games, you should keep that in mind.
When it comes down to the wire, gamers have needs that are just as diverse as any other group of consumers. All of the principal display formats can work for gaming, but they also have potential drawbacks. Plasma sets can offer tremendous gaming experiences, but many of them suffer from screen glare. LCD and LED televisions can also work fine, but budget models often have horrendous response times. If you want to find the best big screen for gaming, you’ll need to weigh all of the facts and make the right choice for your particular situation.
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