We’re several months into the next generation of console gaming with the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S. And if you didn’t upgrade the TV that you’re playing on before buying a new console — first off, congrats on finding one — now is as good a time as any. The latest 2021 TV models from LG, Samsung, Sony, and other companies are now shipping, and many of them are optimized for HDMI 2.1 and gaming features like variable refresh rate (VRR), auto low latency mode (ALLM), and buttery-smooth 120Hz action.
HDMI 2.1 was still experiencing early growing pains last year, with some TVs offering a mixed bag of features that omitted things like VRR or ALLM. But it seems like TV makers have done much better with their 2021 lineups.
Our top picks for the best gaming TV for PS5 and best gaming TV for Xbox satisfy two main criteria: they stand out from the pack for their gaming chops and next-gen feature support, but they also put out a phenomenal picture for video entertainment like Netflix, Disney Plus, or whatever else you’re watching.
1. LG G1 OLED
The absolute best gaming TV for the PS5 and Xbox Series X
Thanks to its more efficient inner workings and panel advancements, the G1 can get brighter than any of LG’s past OLEDs. This results in brighter HDR highlights for movies, TV shows, and gaming. But it still retains the perfect blacks and phenomenal viewing angles that OLED is known for.
In 2021, LG has also put a bigger focus on gamers in the TV’s settings menu. There’s a new “Game Optimizer” dashboard that provides quick access to settings like VRR — and you can pick between different game genres for the TV to automatically apply the ideal picture optimizations. Vincent Teoh at HDTVtest did a great review of the G1.
The G1 is meant to be mounted on a wall; it doesn’t come with traditional stands by default. But it sits practically flush with the included specially designed wall mount that efficiently routes attached cables, so the mounting process is definitely worth it.
2. LG CX OLED
Best deal on a gaming TV
Last year’s CX-series OLEDs from LG were the best bet for people who wanted a TV that could get the most from their new PS5 or Xbox on day one. The CX line has since been succeeded by 2021’s C1 models, but I think “settling” for the 2020 LG OLED is a much smarter move for the money. You get all the key gaming features: 120Hz, VRR (including G-Sync and FreeSync), and ALLM. And every HDMI port on the CX is HDMI 2.1, which still can’t be said for some of 2021’s best TVs. That means you can plug in both an Xbox Series X or S and PS5 without losing any next-gen enhancements on either machine.
You’ll save a lot of money choosing the CX over something like the G1 or C1. And unless you’re a stickler for brightness, I think you’ll be very pleased with the fantastic OLED picture quality of last year’s mainstream LG set.
3. Samsung Neo QLED QN90A
The best LCD TV for next-gen PlayStation and Xbox gaming
Samsung’s new QN90A series is the company’s first TVs to use Mini LED technology, which swaps out the standard full-array backlighting system for a ton more smaller LEDs crammed into the same space. This results in dramatically better contrast, even higher brightness — and LCD TVs were already beating OLED here — and less “blooming” around white objects on a dark background.
Like LG, Samsung is also paying special attention to gamers this year with a “Game Bar” that lets you quickly adjust the screen’s aspect ratio (for a wider, more encompassing view in supported games), monitor the TV’s incredibly low input lag, and check to make sure other settings like HDR and VRR are enabled to help get the most from your new console. Samsung supports all the crucial next-gen features, but unfortunately, despite the QN90A’s premium price, the HDMI situation isn’t as good as I’d like: only one of this TV’s four HDMI ports is HDMI 2.1. That said, reviews paint the QN90A as one of (if not the) best LCD TVs on the market today. So if you’ll be gaming in a bright room and have the cash, it’s still a top recommendation.
4. Vizio OLED
A cheaper OLED gaming TV
Vizio’s first OLED TV has needed some firmware updates to resolve bugs and get to where it should be in terms of performance, but the company has done a job of keeping at it in the months since the TV shipped last year. It’s now a fairly capable next-gen gaming set with several HDMI 2.1 ports and support for 4K at 120Hz. Customers still report problems with Vizio’s attempts to implement variable refresh rate, however. It might be worth stepping up to an LG if VRR is important to you.
Its input lag is a bit higher than LG’s, but not enough to become a problem unless you’re the ultra-competitive gamer type — especially when you consider how much less expensive Vizio’s OLED is compared to those from Sony or LG.
5. TCL 6-Series
The best budget gaming TV for the Xbox Series X
TCL’s 6-Series is the most affordable TV among our recommendations, but that comes with a trade-off: though this is a 4K TV, it doesn’t support 4K gaming at 120Hz. Instead, that fluidity tops out at a resolution of 1440p. (The Xbox consoles can take advantage of this resolution, but the PS5 currently cannot and falls back to 1080p for 120Hz gaming.)
If you can live without 4K at 120Hz — and remember that many games reduce resolution to even hit 120 frames per second — you’re getting a terrific 4K HDR LCD TV with impressive local dimming, Roku’s intuitive software built in, and a price significantly lower than any of our other top picks for next-gen gaming TVs.
Update April 26th, 1:30PM ET: The buying guide has been updated with more details on issues that remain present with Vizio’s OLED TV.