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PS5 TV Buying Guide: What TV Do I Need?

on Nov 4, 2020
PS5 TV Buying Guide: What TV Do I Need?

The best time to get yourself a PS5 TV is not during the holidays or during the launch date. The best time to do it is now. Or, at least, that’s what most would have you believe.

We don’t exactly blame you for jumping in on this and believing the hype.

Gaming on 8K resolution is one of the most heavily advertised capabilities of the PlayStation 5. This is why it makes a lot of sense if you think that the best PS5 TV is a TV that can handle up to 8K resolution. However, this isn’t necessarily true. Far from it, actually.

The fact is, while 8K gaming is nice and all, what you really should put attention to is how the PS5 can handle 4K resolution gaming at higher refresh rates.

How Do You Choose the Best PS5 TV?

HDMI Cable

Now, if 8K resolution isn’t the determining factor, what is?

Well, support for the HDMI 2.1 standard is a good idea.

The reason for this is that the PlayStation 5 will use the HDMI 2.1 standard. This is because the all-new connection is the only one available today that can support the higher frame rates AND 8K resolution that the PS5 is offering.

Now, because the HDMI 2.1 standard was only finalized in 2017, the feature only started appearing in TVs in the past year or two.

As a result, most displays, including gaming monitors, still use the HDMI 2.0b standard, which is limited by an 18 Gbps bandwidth (in comparison, the HDMI 2.1 standard has a 48 GBps bandwidth). However, even if you have an older TV, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to upgrade immediately to use your PlayStation 5.

The fact is, Sony has confirmed in an interview with TechRadar that the PlayStation 5 will run just fine on HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 1.4 connections.

In fact, in the same interview, Christopher Mullins, who is the product manager over at Sony’s Digital & Home Cinema,stated that while 4K at 120Hz is “interesting”, the goal is to “hit a really good 4K/60Hz performance” and make sure that they can maintain that performance across multiple titles.

Is It Okay To Use an HDMI 2.0 Display as a PS5 TV?

LED TV

Yes. As already mentioned, the PlayStation 5 is backward compatible with HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 1.4 ports.

Again, the only problem is that you’ll find yourself limited by the same technology used by the previous generation of consoles, like the PlayStation 4 Pro.

HDMI 2.0 can only run games at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second.

Of course, while this is far from the marketed capabilities of the PlayStation 5, you shouldn’t really stress yourself too much about it.

The fact is, for the first year or two, most developers will focus on making sure that their games can run at true 4K resolution and be stable at 60 frames per second.

Of course, this isn’t to say that some games won’t offer higher resolutions and faster refresh rates. In fact, some titles are already confirmed to support 120 fps at 4K on the PlayStation 5. This includes a shortlist of titles like Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition and the all-new Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

The number of games offering 120 fps will only continue to grow, as will the games supporting 8K resolution.

It’s just that you won’t really see the numbers blow up until we’re well past the current generation of consoles, which will take at least a couple of years, and by then, the prices of 8K resolution TVs will have undoubtedly gone down with the HDMI 2.1 standard becoming more widely adopted.

True 8K Gaming is a Long Shot

8K Resolution

Let’s take a close look at how consoles have historically used resolutions as a selling point.

For the PlayStation 2, it was 1080i. This was a clever marketing stunt that manufacturers back then used (it wasn’t just Sony) to help push console sales. Although 1080i and 1080p are of the same resolution, 1080p gives a clearer picture. However, it requires more powerful hardware.

This is where 1080i comes in. The I stands for “interlaced”. This is a technique that shows you every even and odd line of the picture one after the other. It helped compensate for the limitations of the consoles, including the PlayStation 2 back then.  It wasn’t until the PlayStation 3 that Sony used 1080p as part of their marketing efforts, before solidifying 1080p as the go-to resolution for gaming with the PlayStation 4.

Then, later on, as 4K resolution became more popular, Sony once again used the higher resolution to lure in gamers with the PlayStation 4 Pro.

Now, what is it that we’re trying to say here?

The truth is, the marketed resolution capabilities of each generation of PlayStation was more of an optimistic maximum than anything else.

This is why only very few games ran at 1080i for the PlayStation 2 and 1080p for the PlayStation 3. Even today, only a handful of games can take advantage of the added processing power of the PlayStation 4 Pro and play at 4K resolution.

The Reality About 8K Gaming on the PS5

Keep in mind that consoles are limited by both their size and price.

Yes. It’s true. The PlayStation 5 is the largest PlayStation to date. It’s much larger than its closest competition, the Xbox Series X. This has allowed Sony to outfit the PlayStation 5 with an effective cooling solution. However, this still doesn’t make up for the mere fact that high-end graphics cards, many of which cost significantly more than a single PlayStation 5, struggle to display games at 8K resolution at reasonable refresh rates.

Even if it is true that Sony takes a loss for every PS5 unit sold — Sony spends more money manufacturing the PlayStation 5 than how much they sell it for, but they make up for this loss with money from subscriptions and first-party titles, among others — and the games are traditionally better optimized for consoles, the fact remains that consoles often use its highest resolution supported as a marketing tool.

What this means is that, while the PlayStation 5 might have the hardware for gaming at 8K resolution, it won’t be a priority for developers and it shouldn’t be a priority for gamers.

Sony might have done a lot of wonderful things over the years, but they’re not miracle workers.

At best, the Sony PlayStation 5 is a well-optimized mid-range gaming PC.

Is 8K Gaming Even Possible on the PS5?

This isn’t to say that we won’t say games at 8K resolution on the PlayStation 5.

The only problem is that there’ll only be a limited number of games specifically designed to run at 8K.

A handful of developers will always make it a point to create a game to run at a console’s highest resolution possible. However, there’s a reason why this isn’t such a popular move. It’s expensive and consoles are limited by available hardware. Also, developers will have to sacrifice certain aspects of the game if they choose to chase pixels.

A game’s maximum frame rate often takes the brunt of this.

For example, a game might be able to run at 4K on the PlayStation 4 Pro, but developers will cap performance to 30 fps.

If you choose to play the game on 1080p, then it might be able to run at 60 fps, and why Sony does this does make a lot of sense.

The thing is, not everyone has the capability or willingness to upgrade to the highest TV resolution possible. Not to mention, many gamers prefer smoother frame rates compared to playing a game at a higher resolution. Because of this, there’ll be plenty of gamers who will choose to run their PlayStation 5 on a 1080p display and run games at 120 fps or a 4K display and run games at 60 fps (or even 120 fps).

This then brings us to the people who will have an 8K TV at launch or anytime throughout the console’s lifetime.

Now, for people who will have an 8K TV at launch or anything throughout the lifetime of the PlayStation 5, expect most developers to just upscale the games to 8K resolution.

Will You Need a New PS5 TV?

PS5 TV

Is your TV already a decade old? Well, yeah, sure, do go get yourself a new one.

Otherwise, don’t.

So long as you can connect your TV to a current-gen console, a next-gen console won’t be a problem.

You don’t really need anything else. The HDMI cables should still work. If your current display supports HDR on the PS4 Pro, then it’ll do the same for the PlayStation 5. You don’t even need to worry about ray-tracing. It’s a type of in-game rendering technology. This means that any game rendered by the PlayStation 5 will look great on any display.

With that said, there are a few reasons to upgrade to a new PS5 TV.

For example, if you intend to take full advantage of every feature that the PlayStation 5 has to offer, a new PS5 TV is a must-have. This means getting a display that supports 8K resolution, 120Hz refresh rates, and Variable Refresh Rates. However, 8K displays are a bit outside of most people’s price range right now. Even worse, you shouldn’t expect their prices to drop anytime soon.

Luckily, there is a compromise. You can drop the resolution support requirement from 8K to 4K. If you do that, you should be able to find reasonably priced displays that support 120Hz and Variable Refresh Rates.

You also won’t need to worry about getting yourself new HDMI 2.1 cables.

If your display doesn’t come with an HDMI 2.1 cable out of the box, which many don’t, the PlayStation 5 has since been confirmed to ship with an HDMI 2.1 cable at launch.

What Kind of PS5 TV Should I Buy?

PS5 TV

The best PS5 TV is the one that you are happy with.

Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that you need to buy a new PS5 TV.

The fact is, if you’re already happy gaming on your PlayStation 4 Pro with your current display, you shouldn’t need to upgrade.

Still, even if that’s true, there’s something to be said about having a TV that can advantage of the PS5’s capabilities.

A 4K display that supports VRR and 120Hz refresh rates is your best bet as far as being economical goes. Sure, an 8K display is great. It’s also a lot more futureproof. It’s just that you won’t really see many advantages of having an 8K display over a 4K display until many years from now. This is especially true as far as gaming is concerned. In which case, 8K displays by then will be significantly better and cheaper than anything we have available today.

Regardless of the display you go for, make sure that it has a fast response time and that the input lag is low.

With the PlayStation 5 capable of supporting faster refresh rates, high input lag and response times will be far more noticeable than ever. This is especially true if you plan on playing shooters on the next-gen console.

Conclusion

Get a new PS5 TV when you want to. You don’t really need one.

In fact, if you just bought a new mid-specced 4K TV in the past year or two, then you’re in much better shape than you think. Your TV should work well with the PlayStation 5. It might even have an HDMI 2.1 standard port. If that’s the case, then you’re pretty much set until you find yourself needing an 8K TV.

TLDR; the PlayStation 5 will support 120hz refresh rates, up to 8K resolution, and variable refresh rates.

Sure, you might not necessarily need a new PS5 TV at launch. However, these are features you’ll want to keep in mind when you think it’s time to shop for a new TV.

What kind of PS5 TV are you planning on getting when Sony’s next-gen console comes out? Are you splurging on an 8K display? Are you choosing to stick with what you currently have? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.

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