The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are right here, and the vacation buying season is upon us as effectively. People concerned with these next-generation consoles could also be questioning if they need to purchase a brand new TV to go together with their new gaming system (if they’ll get their palms on a PS5 or Xbox Series X or S, that’s). After all, Sony and Microsoft have packed their respective consoles with every kind of forward-looking know-how that guarantees to ship beforehand inconceivable gaming experiences, and a few of it depends on cutting-edge TVs.

In specific, each the PS5 and Xbox Series X can make the most of a few of the features baked into HDMI 2.1, the most recent iteration of the audio/video port. The advent of HDMI 2.1 brings with it quite a lot of important enhancements over the earlier HDMI specification, together with dynamic HDR, enhanced audio return channel (eARC), and two gaming-oriented features: auto low-latency mode (ALLM) and variable refresh charge (VRR). (For extra particulars on these parts, see our HDMI 2.1-focused article in regards to the new consoles.)

That all sounds promising, however in our opinion, it might be a good suggestion to carry off on an improve should you have been considering of shopping for a brand new TV particularly for the PS5 or Xbox Series X.

The most important factor to find out about HDMI 2.1 is that it’s very, very new. While there are some TV units going again so far as 2018 that may help sure HDMI 2.1 features, 2020 is the 12 months by which the port began to make any actual inroads into the market. Still, few current TVs supply HDMI 2.1 ports — and even when they do, help for HDMI 2.1 features is form of a multitude proper now. Which, once more, is why you won’t need to improve but.

a PlayStation 5 sitting horizontally next to an Xbox Series X, photographed on a dark gray background

Photo: Henry Hargreaves for Polygon

Which HDMI 2.1 features do the PS5 and Xbox Series X help?

At launch, the PS5 and Xbox Series X don’t supply the identical stage of help for the important thing video features which are a part of the HDMI 2.1 specification.

  • 4K/120 fps: Both consoles can play video games in 4K decision at 120 frames per second — double the same old previous-generation most of 60 fps — which requires the vastly elevated bandwidth that HDMI 2.1 provides. At launch, there are only a few video games that may ship 4K120 output; amongst them are Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition and Dirt 5.

    Backward compatibility on the Xbox Series X can help 120 fps gaming in sure Xbox One titles, resembling Gears 5, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Rocket League. This is definitely doable with PS4 video games working on PS5, too, however due to the way in which Sony handles backward compatibility, it will require more work from developers to make it happen.

  • VRR: Right now, solely the Xbox Series X helps variable refresh charge, which retains a recreation wanting easy even when its body charge is dropping under a goal of 60 fps or 120 fps. It’s a terrific possibility for video games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which couldn’t initially preserve a 60 fps body charge on Xbox Series X and suffered from screen tearing (although a scheduled Valhalla patch will add 60 fps help on each consoles). Sony says that it’s going to add VRR to the PS5 with a future firmware replace.
  • ALLM: The Xbox Series X helps auto low-latency mode, which mechanically places a TV into recreation mode when a recreation is being performed. The PS5 doesn’t, and Sony has not commented about any plans so as to add the function.

Do I want a TV with HDMI 2.1 for the PS5 and Xbox Series X?

Absolutely not. The solely requirement is that your display screen has an HDMI port; each consoles can output video in resolutions as little as 480p.

More to the purpose, HDMI 2.1 help is the place issues get actually fractured and complicated in 2020. And that’s the very best argument for ready till the TV panorama comes into focus earlier than shopping for a brand new show.

While the HDMI 2.1 specification covers new features resembling ALLM and VRR, it permits gadget producers to decide on which parts they need to help. The baseline of HDMI 2.1 is the elevated video constancy offered by the bandwidth enlargement to 48 Gbps. But many of the HDMI 2.1-specific features don’t truly make the most of that bigger pipe, as a result of they’re not bandwidth-dependent gadgets; they merely must be constructed into the firmware of a selected gadget.

In different phrases: The presence of HDMI 2.1 ports on a brand new TV doesn’t assure that the show helps all the gaming-specific features you may need to use together with your shiny new PS5 or Xbox Series X. This is why two seemingly similar TVs can have value tags lots of of {dollars} aside.

If you completely have to improve proper now, you may go along with a less expensive TV that doesn’t have any HDMI 2.1 ports, just like the TCL 6 Series. At this level, the principle promoting level of HDMI 2.1 — 4K/120 Hz functionality — is an unknown amount for PS5 and Xbox Series X video games. A couple of years down the street, the HDMI 2.1 scenario can be extra settled within the TV market, and we’ll have a a lot better concept of how related HDMI 2.1 is for gaming.

Get the TCL 6 Series at Best Buy | Walmart

Which TVs are finest for the PS5 and Xbox Series X?

Having stated all of that, we’re going to current a couple of picks for HDMI 2.1-equipped 2020 TVs, for these trying to improve their display screen proper now.

The consensus decide for a terrific 4K TV that you would be able to really feel safe in shopping for as a display screen to pair with the brand new consoles is the LG CX. It’s one of many solely fashions in the marketplace proper now with a full set of 4 HDMI 2.1 ports; virtually every part else solely helps 4K/120 Hz enter on one port, that means that you simply’d must hold swapping the HDMI cables from a PS5 and an Xbox Series X should you had each consoles.

The LG CX is a superb TV for gaming, with very low enter lag, and it helps VRR throughout a variety from 40 Hz all the way in which as much as 120 Hz — and that features G-Sync, in case you need to join a PC with an Nvidia graphics card. Because it’s an OLED TV, it delivers true blacks for an infinite distinction ratio. One of the downsides of OLED screens is that they’ll’t get as brilliant as LED/LCD TVs, so should you’re planning to place your TV in a really brilliant room, OLED is probably not your best option. And in fact, all OLED TVs have a nonzero risk of burn-in.

Get the LG CX at Amazon | Best Buy

If OLED isn’t for you, an LCD possibility in the identical value vary is the Samsung Q90T. Its image high quality is nearly pretty much as good as that of the LG CX, with considerably increased peak brightness, and it has decrease enter lag. But solely considered one of its 4 HDMI ports helps HDMI 2.1.

Get the Samsung Q90T at Best Buy | Walmart

The Sony X900H is a strong midrange possibility, should you’re wanting for one thing round $1,000. It can’t compete with the aforementioned fashions on total picture high quality, nevertheless it’s a terrific TV for gaming, with low enter lag. While it has two HDMI 2.1 inputs that may settle for 4K/120 Hz content material, it doesn’t presently help VRR — Sony says it’s engaged on a firmware replace so as to add that function sooner or later.

Get the Sony X900H at Best Buy | Walmart