You want image quality, of course, but there are other factors to consider, too, like whether or not a TV supports various gaming-centric features. That’s where we come in. We’ve spent countless hours testing hundreds of TVs to help you pick the right one.
If want to splash out on the best gaming TV you can buy right now, the LG C2(available at Amazon for $1,346.99) is our pick. In fact, it’s also our pick for the best TV you can buy, period. If that's too pricey, though, we've got plenty of other suggestions, including the affordable TCL 6-Series. Whatever your budget, there's a great 4K gaming TV for you.
These are the best gaming TVs we tested:
TCL 6-Series with Roku
The LG C2 OLED (available in sizes from 42 to 83 inches) is the successor to our favorite TV of 2021, the LG C1. While not radically different from the C1, the C2 nevertheless improves on an already-fantastic formula. It’s our current pick for the best gaming TV you can buy right now.
The main ingredient of this successful formula are the C2’s self-lit pixels. Unlike traditional LED TVs, OLED displays are capable of adjusting their brightness on a pixel-by-pixel basis, even turning pixels off. This allows for perfect black levels, which is why OLED TVs feature unparalleled contrast.
Anchored by perfect black levels, the C2 delivers exceptionally bright highlights for its class. It features LG’s OLED evo display technology, a blend of software and hardware enhancements that were only available in the company’s tippy-top Gallery model last year. OLED evo succeeds at what it sets out to do: improve brightness and color volume. In HDR, the TV is capable of producing specular highlights in the 700- to 800-nit range, and it covers about 97% of the HDR color space (DCI-P3). SDR content (like most cable broadcasts and streaming titles) also look spectacular on the C2, though not as bright.
Cinephiles and A/V enthusiasts will appreciate the C2’s Dolby Vision support. If you’re a gamer, the C2 is one of the best TVs you can buy this year. All four of the C2’s inputs are full-bandwidth HDMI 2.1, meaning they support 4K gaming at 120 hertz (Hz). The C2 also supports both Auto Low Latency (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), with AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync along for the ride, too. Like the C1, the C2 is equipped with LG’s Game Optimizer settings menu, which toggles the TV’s various VRR options, relays frame rate information, and allows for easy tweaks to the TV’s picture while gaming.
It’s not a perfect TV, however. LG TVs quietly stopped supporting DTS audio in 2020, so if you own Blu-rays with DTS soundtracks and you’re planning on connecting a Blu-ray player directly to the TV, you won’t be getting the full DTS experience. LG’s smart platform, webOS, can also be a chore to use, as it’s chock-full of sponsored content and often slows down during navigation. If you spring for the C2, we recommend pairing it with an external streaming device so that you don’t have to rely solely on the TV’s smart features.
The LG C2 is the newest addition to a long line of winning OLED TVs from LG. It’s pricier than most TVs, but the price is justified by its world-class performance and impressive, all-encompassing list of features.
The LG G2 is LG’s top-performing OLED this year. While we believe the LG C2 to be a better pick for most people, the G2 offers a similar set of features and slightly better picture quality. If you’re looking for the best possible upgrade for your living room, the G2 is the way to go.
To go along with its perfect black levels, the G2 is sporting the brightest picture we’ve ever seen from an LG OLED. In fact, one of the main differences between the C2 and G2 is that the latter is able to push much brighter highlights during HDR. Simply put, thanks to its world-class contrast, the G2 is one of the best TVs you can buy to showcase HDR10 and Dolby Vision content. The G2 blends its exceptional contrast with rich, voluminous color; it covers about 99% of the extra-wide HDR color gamut (DCI-P3).
As far as gaming features go, the G2 has you covered—and then some. All four of its HDMI 2.1 ports support Auto Low Latency, Variable Refresh Rate, and 4K gaming at 120Hz. Like the C2, the G2 also comes with LG’s Game Optimizer, a dedicated settings menu where gamers can tweak the picture, toggle the TV’s various gaming enhancements, and monitor frame rate.
Anyone considering splashing out on the G2, however, should be aware of its design. As an LG Gallery OLED, the G2 is primarily intended to hang on the wall like a portrait. You can purchase an optional stand, but we found that the stand introduced a significant amount of wobble. In addition, because of the shape of the stand, the G2 settles into a leaned-back position, not unlike an easel. If you don’t intend on wall-mounting the G2 and this setup sounds less than ideal, we recommend opting for the LG C2.
Packed with a robust array of gaming features and picture quality that punches well above its weight, the 2020 TCL 6-Series (available in 55-, 65-, and 75-inch variants) is an easy Best Value pick. The 6-Series performs better than just about every TV in its price range, making it perfect for folks looking to maximize their dollar.
The TCL 6-Series produces a bright, colorful 4K picture for both SDR and HDR content, thanks in part to the TV’s quantum dots. Our lab testing consistently clocked the 6-Series at around 800-900 nits of brightness while receiving an HDR signal. This makes it a great option for rooms with a fair amount of ambient light. The inclusion of quantum dots also makes for rich, well-saturated colors, particularly for HDR content.
Being a Roku TV, the TCL 6-Series comes equipped with our favorite streaming platform right out of the box. Its software is sleek, easy to use, and offers access to a vast library of apps.
The TCL 6-Series isn’t as impressive as the top TVs on our list. Still, its performance and features are highly commendable given its price tag. In short, it’s one of the best deals in the industry at the moment.
If you’re looking for a top-shelf gaming TV that blends cutting-edge features with a powerfully bright picture, the Samsung QN90B is one of the year’s best options. It’s our current pick for the best TV for bright-room viewing.
The QN90B features the second generation of Samsung’s Neo QLED technology, which blends the contrast-enhancing power of mini-LEDs with the bright, color-boosting qualities of quantum dots. The result is a dazzlingly bright, colorful picture that excels at reining in its luminance during dark scenes.
In fact, the QN90B delivers one of the brightest pictures we’ve ever seen, showcasing HDR content better than just about every LCD/LED TV on the market.
Casual and avid gamers are sure to appreciate the QN90B’s gaming prowess. All four of the QN90B’s HDMI 2.1 ports support 4K gaming at 120Hz. The QN90B also supports Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), which ensures low-latency gaming free of visual artifacts like screen tearing. FreeSync Premium Pro and G-Sync are both accounted for, should you choose to use them.
The QN90B also offers a new service called Samsung Gaming Hub. New to Samsung smart TVs, Gaming Hub lets users play a vast library of gaming titles across various cloud gaming services, including Nvidia GeForce Now, Google Stadia, and Xbox Cloud Gaming. Think of cloud gaming (or cloud streaming) as Netflix for video games; each service has its own library of titles to choose from, and because they’re accessed remotely, no console is required. All that is needed is a subscription to whichever cloud gaming service you want to play.
When we tested cloud gaming on a Samsung smart TV, the experience left quite a bit to be desired. Even with a wired internet connection, the service seemed less than ideal for competitive gaming due to latency issues. There’s always the possibility that cloud streaming via Gaming Hub improves over time, of course.
Unfortunately, like all Samsung TVs, the QN90B does not support Dolby Vision (though it does support HDR10 and HDR10+). In addition, the QN90B sometimes falls victim to minor light bloom, particularly when viewed from an off-axis position.
Still, if a bright picture and premium features are what you’re looking for, you’d be hard pressed to find a better option this year than the Samsung QN90B.
The Samsung S95B is one of the first TVs to combine the perfect black levels of an OLED display with the color- and brightness-boosting qualities of quantum dots. Commonly referred to as QD-OLED technology, the S95B showcases its advantages brilliantly.
For years, one of the main criticisms of OLED TV technology was that it was incapable of getting anywhere near as bright as an LED TV—particularly an LED TV with quantum dots. And although the S95B still doesn’t get as bright as a TV like the Samsung QN90B, it’s nevertheless the brightest OLED we’ve tested to date.
Coupled with OLED’s perfect black levels, the S95B’s added brightness has an incredibly powerful impact on HDR content, be it a movie, a video game, or otherwise. Specular highlights pop off the screen, adding an astonishing level of depth. But perhaps the most significant improvement brought to the table by quantum dots is their effect on the S95B’s color reproduction. In particular, reds and greens look stunning on the S95B.
Being a Samsung TV, the S95B does not support Dolby Vision (though HDR10 and HDR10+ support are included). Samsung’s Tizen-based smart platform is a bit laggy and difficult to navigate this year, too, which will incentivize pairing the S95B with an external streaming device. Picture purists who don’t intend on hiring a professional calibrator might want to check out the LG C2, as that OLED TV’s out-of-the-box picture is closer in line with reference standards.
However, if you’ve been waiting for an OLED TV that’s better suited for bright room viewing than almost every other OLED TV on the market, the S95B is an excellent (albeit pricey) choice. Despite its lack of Dolby Vision and its cumbersome smart platform, the Samsung S95B is a total game-changer.
The LG C1 (available in 48-, 55-, 65-, and 77-inch models) is a stunning OLED TV. Its array of future-facing features will help maintain its value for several years to come. The LG C1 was our pick for the best TV you can buy before its successor, the LG C2.
OLED TVs are known for incredible contrast, and the LG C1 is no exception. It pairs a perfect black level with stellar highlights. Its sustained peak brightness of around 700 to 800 nits in HDR makes it one of the brightest OLED TVs we’ve ever seen.
The C1’s color performance is top-level, too. It features 100% SDR color saturation (Rec.709) and 97% HDR color saturation (DCI-P3). That means that whether you’re watching TV shows or Blu-rays, you can expect rich, true-to-life color.
The C1 comes with the sixth iteration of LG’s webOS smart platform pre-installed. While it’s not our favorite smart software, most folks will find it meets their needs. It’s zippy, easy to navigate, and offers a broad app selection via LG’s Content Store.
The incredible performance, wide array of features, and elegant design means the LG C1 is still one of the best TVs you can buy, even a year after its release.
If you don’t mind splashing out on an ultra-premium TV, the Sony A90J is one of the best OLED TVs we’ve ever tested, and one of the best TVs we’ve ever tested, period.
OLED naturally offers picture-perfect black levels. The A90J augments that with excellent highlights for an OLED. It regularly reaches 700 to 800 nits in HDR, with highlights getting much brighter than that in short bursts.
The added brightness elevates the TV’s colors, which are both voluminous and accurate. In fact, the A90J’s HDR color palette covers about 98% of the expanded DCI-P3 color space when the TV is in its “Custom” picture mode.
This Sony is also packed to the gills with features. It includes the Google TV smart platform, replacing Android TV. It has eARC compatibility and support for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. It has a native refresh rate of 120Hz. Its Center Speaker mode lets you use the A90J’s built-in speakers as the center channel of a surround sound setup.
If you have the means and want an incredible out-of-the-box TV experience, the A90J is one of the best you’ll find. Having been on the market for over a year now, the A90J is currently on sale, making it a great time to pick one up.
If you’re shopping for a top-shelf TV with a bright, colorful picture, the Samsung QN90A (available in 55-, 65-, 75-, and 85-inch models) is still one of the best options. It combines the impressive performance we’ve come to expect from Samsung’s flagship TVs with an incredible toolbox of features and enhancements. Before the release of the Samsung QN90B, the QN90A was our pick for the best TV for bright-room viewing.
The QN90A is outfitted with Samsung’s Neo QLED display technology, which marries quantum dots with mini-LED backlights. Quantum dots create a brighter, more color-rich picture. Meanwhile, the mini-LEDs offer above-average black levels and tight contrast control. The end result is one of the best pictures we’ve seen all year, especially for HDR content.
Beyond the dazzling display, it’s packed to the brim with hardware and software enhancements. The 120Hz refresh rate—combined with HDMI 2.1 support—make it a great choice for avid gamers. It supports both Auto Low Latency Mode and Variable Refresh Rate, both widely considered essential for next-generation gaming. The QN90A also puts all of its gaming-related settings in an easy-to-access menu called Game Bar. Gamers should take note, however, that the QN90A only offers one HDMI port that supports 4K gaming at 120Hz. If you want more flexibility in this department, you’ll have to spend up on the newer QN90B.
The QN90A offers a host of other extras, too, from Multi View (which allows users to watch more than one source at a time) to the Samsung Health ecosystem. And while the QN90A’s Tizen-based smart platform isn’t our favorite, it’s easy to use and offers enough flexibility for most users.
All told, the Samsung QN90A is still one of the best Samsung TVs you can buy. While it’s not exactly budget-friendly, its current sale price makes it a great deal.
The U8G is one of the best TVs Hisense has ever released. It blends top-shelf performance and future-facing features at a far friendlier price than most of its direct competitors. If you’re in the market for a premium gaming TV but blush at some of the prices, the U8G might be the perfect compromise.
In our lab tests, the U8G dazzled us. It’s one of the brightest TVs we’ve ever tested, and its out-of-the-box color accuracy is incredible. SDR content (cable TV and most streaming) looks terrific on the U8G. But HDR content like 4K Blu-rays and movies mastered for Dolby Vision) is its bread and butter.
Simply put, if you want your next TV to showcase all that HDR has to offer, the U8G is one of your best options, even a year after its release.
Unfortunately, the U8G’s Android-based smart platform isn’t our favorite. The user interface is hard to navigate, and a bit rough around the edges. However, you can easily solve this by connecting an external streaming device to an HDMI port.
The U8G’s local dimming is also not as refined as some of the competition, like Samsung’s QN90A and QN90B. That means it may not be the best choice for cinephiles or picture purists who’d prefer a balanced picture over intense HDR performance.
Still, the Hisense U8G rivals some of the best LED TVs we’ve seen in recent years, at a significantly lower cost than most of its competition. If you’re after a future-facing TV for a terrific price, it’s hard to beat the U8G.
Reviewed has been testing TVs for over a decade. Our current Home Theater expert is Michael Desjardin. Michael is a Senior Staff Writer and an eight-year veteran of the Reviewed tech team. A film enthusiast and TV expert, he takes picture quality seriously, but also understands that not every TV is a good fit for everyone.
It'd be an understatement to say that we're serious about TV testing. Our Cambridge laboratory has much of the same equipment factories use to manufacture and calibrate televisions.
Our hardware includes a Konica Minolta CS-200 tristimulus color meter and a LS-100 luminance meter. We have a Leo Bodnar input lag tester, and a Murideo Seven 8K signal generator for testing 8K TV features. We also have more Blu-rays than we can keep track of.
Our testing process has been honed over many years. We gather enough esoteric data to satisfy curious video engineers, while also focusing on the average person's viewing experience.
We measure factors like peak brightness, and black level. We test hue and saturation for primary and secondary digital colors. We check the accuracy of the TV's electro-optical transfer function—you get the idea.
We weigh our performance tests based on how the human eye prioritizes vision. The human visual system processes brightness better than color. So we weigh brightness first, then move on to colorimetry, and so on.
Beyond the technical tests, we also spend a lot of time just using each TV. We stream video, connect a Blu-ray player to watch movies, and use the smart features. We also check out the ports, remote, and on-set buttons. We evaluate anything and everything that might be relevant to the daily experience of using the TV.
What You Should Know About Buying a TV for Gaming
While everyone has different eyes, generally, our vision all functions the same way: we prioritize dynamic information and bright, compelling colors over subtler hues and resolution (sharpness). Generally, a TV can be considered a good TV when we forget that we're watching a TV. We don't see pixels creating mixes of red, green, and blue to simulate colors; we see the real world, lit and colored as it is, in fluid motion.
In simpler terms, this means a TV that can get very bright and dark without obscuring details; produces accurate colors (compared to various color standards designated by the International Telecommunication Union); possesses proper bit-mapping and the right codecs and decoders for video processing; and can properly play the various types of content thrown at it without judder, blurring, and so on.
Note that specs alone (pixel count, measured brightness) aren't automatic indicators of quality, much like intense speed is not automatically an indicator of a good car.
What Is HDMI 2.1 And Do I Need It?
HDMI 2.1 is the newest version of the HDMI interface, concerning both HDMI ports and the cables themselves. Although HDMI 2.1 is in the nascent stage of its lifespan, the format is a requirement for several next-generation gaming benchmarks like 4K gaming at 120fps and 8K gaming at 60fps.
While there’s still plenty of time for HDMI 2.0 to shine, video game developers are beginning to harness the power of HDMI 2.1. Additionally, some TVs—like the TCL 6-Series, our Best Value winner for this roundup—cover some of HDMI 2.1’s standard features while not offering HDMI 2.1-compliant ports. For instance, the TCL 6-Series supports Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), but not 4K gaming at 120fps.
What Is Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)?
Variable Refresh Rate, often abbreviated as “VRR,” is a gaming-related software enhancement that prevents screen tearing and artifacting as a result of changes in frame rate. Essentially, VRR ensures that what is being displayed is in sync with real-time changes in animation. Some forms of VRR carry names, like Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync.
What is Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)?
Auto Low Latency Mode, otherwise known as “ALLM,” is a feature that allows a TV to automatically switch into its designated gaming mode when a qualifying input is chosen. In short, it removes the need for a user to manually activate their TV’s gaming mode so that they may enjoy the benefits of low input lag and low latency without fumbling for a remote control and visiting the TV’s settings menu.
ALLM does not require the HDMI 2.1 format, but it will be a standard feature of HDMI 2.1 going forward.
What Is Refresh Rate And Why Is It Important For Gaming?
A TV’s refresh rate represents the amount of times it re-scans the picture for new information, with “Hz” representing the amount of times per second. This means 60Hz TVs refresh 60 times per second, while 120Hz TVs refresh twice as often. Naturally, the higher the refresh rate, the better the TV tends to be at conveying realistic, smooth motion.
Currently, TVs only come in 60Hz or 120Hz, though you might see claims of higher refresh rates—like 240, 480, or even 960Hz. Make no mistake, however: Every TV on the market in 2020 is either 60Hz or 120Hz natively, even though they might use motion enhancement settings to extrapolate higher numbers.
What does that mean for gamers? Well, TVs that feature a native refresh rate of 120Hz are better equipped at delivering a smooth video game experience, but that doesn’t mean 60Hz TVs aren’t worth a look, especially if you’re looking to save some money.
Finally, it's also worth noting that refresh rate (Hz) is not the same as fps, or frames per second, but they are related. A TV with a 4K @ 60Hz function can often play 1080p (full-HD) content at 120 frames per second, even without a native 120Hz refresh rate.
What Is Input Lag?
Input lag is what happens when the TV is doing so much image processing that a physical input from the player (pressing a button on the video game controller) takes too long to register on screen. This is a big problem in games that require split-second reaction time (and by the last levels, most games require split-second reaction time), and it's even worse if you're playing online.
Thankfully, there are very few TVs these days that outright fail to deliver respectable input lag figures. In fact, for most folks, the difference in input lag from one TV to the next is often imperceptible.
How Do I Reduce Input Lag?
Depending on your TV’s capabilities, you may be able to take steps at home to reduce its input lag. Here are some things to consider.
1. Turn on Game Mode.
Designed specifically for use with video games, "Game Mode" (or some variation) is offered on most TVs. Sometimes it's an option under "Video Mode," a preset picture setting, and sometimes it's a standalone setting that you can toggle on or off. It usually turns off motion-smoothing modes (see #3 below), and pumps up the brightness and color saturation. TVs that offer Auto Low Latency Mode will automatically enable Game Mode if they detect the presence of a gaming console.
2. Turn off reduction features.
Most TVs on the market today come with at least a few reduction settings. They usually sit in their own sub-menu within a sub-menu, so it might be tricky to find them.
There are tons of names for these settings: Noise Reduction, Mosquito Reduction, NR Reduction, and MPEG Reduction are all likely candidates. Whatever they happen to be called, one thing is always consistent: They always increase input lag.
If you decide that you really need a certain feature, like flesh-tone enhancement, play the game without it at first, and then turn it on—you might notice that it affects response.
3. Turn off motion enhancements.
Nearly every TV that we've tested for input lag goes from excellent (sub-30ms input lag) to horrible (over 80ms input lag) just by turning motion smoothing on. It may make the picture look a little better, but your control over the game will suffer as a result.
What TV Terms Do I Need To Know?
TV terminology is rife with subterfuge and tomfoolery, but understanding TV specs is important when you’re shopping. Here are the key bits of jargon you'll want to know while browsing:
LED/LCD: This refers to Light Emitting Diodes and Liquid Crystal Display. “Liquid crystal” is a semi-solid substance that morphs in reaction to tiny electrical volts and allows light to pass through. LCD displays have been around for decades. But they need to be lit, somehow.
An LED TV still has a liquid crystal display, but it also uses LEDs as backlights. This uses less power than older kinds of LCD displays, while producing a clearer, more colorful image.
OLED: This means Organic Light Emitting Diode. This is a different technology than LED/LCD. OLED TVs combine the backlight and crystal array into one unit, using sub-pixel strata that produce light and color individually. OLED TVs have a shorter lifespan than LED/LCDs, but offer wider viewing angles, sharper contrast, and more accurate colors.
4K/UHD: Usually 4K refers to resolution—specifically, 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. This is the current standard/mainstream resolution for most TVs. UHD means Ultra High Definition, which refers to a suite of picture improvements. 4K resolution is one of them, and so is Wide Color Gamut, which can display many more shades than HD TVs.
High Dynamic Range: Like "UHD," High Dynamic Range (or HDR) refers to both a type of TV and a type of content. HDR expands on the typical range of brightness (luminance) and color that a TV will produce.
HDR TVs are newer and usually a bit more expensive, but can have many times the brightness and 30% more color production than non-HDR TVs. Current top HDR formats include HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision.
Smart TV: The term "smart TV" has evolved over the years, but it just means that the TV connects to the internet with a built-in ethernet or WiFi connection.
Smart TVs these days primarily offer streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video on your TV. Some smart TVs have browsers, calendars, or even Roku or Android functions.
Quantum Dots: Quantum dots are used in LED/LCD TVs only. These are microscopic nanocrystals that produce intensely colored light when illuminated. Quantum dots can vastly improve the red and green saturation of a TV, helping LED/LCD TVs match the color spectrum of OLED.
Local Dimming: OLED panels look great because each pixel can operate independently. LED/LCD TVs can imitate this functioning via a process called local dimming. Localized clusters of LEDs dim or boost brightness depending on what’s on the screen. This can vastly improve the performance and worth of a TV if done well.
What Is A TV Series?
You may notice the TVs listed in this roundup don't follow the traditional naming convention you might see when shopping. That's because we don’t nominate a single TV. Instead, we nominate the entire range of sizes within a "series."
Typically these TVs are the same model, just in different sizes. While the price and dimensions differ, the performance should be identical. We focus on the series to offer you more flexibility. But it's also the most accurate, useful way to discuss televisions.
Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.
Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.