4K HDR Televisions are going to be much more prevalent this year, and prices are beginning to look a bit more reasonable. Also, the PS4 Pro is available, and 4K HDR Television is the only way to experience the full potential of the PS4 Pro.
What are 4K and HDR?
4K Television references the amount of pixels used to create an image on the screen. 4K uses a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels vs. the HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. 4K televisions have a much clearer picture than 1080p televisions and with the introduction of HDR, a more dynamic color range.
HDR means High Dynamic Range and uses a type of photography that balances the contrast of shadows and light, according to Whathifi.com. In layman’s terms, cameras can’t capture, and televisions can’t display the amount of detail our eyes are able to catch. However, with this technique, cameras can capture an image with more detail, and HDR televisions are able to display this higher contrast image further matching the images we see with the naked eye. Samsung and other television companies have names for their proprietary HDR features, for example, Samsung calls their HDR SUHD or Super Ultra High Definition.
4K HDR televisions have inspired a mid-generation upgrade from Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox to capitalize on the new technology in home theater.
What’s the difference between a gaming monitor and television?
Gaming monitors are generally smaller and put more emphasis on reducing screen input lag. Televisions that upscale and digitally improve incoming images from a standard PS4 are slowing down the time it takes to display an image. Some televisions have a great picture and reduced screen input lag.
Screen input lag, or response time, is how long it takes for the television or monitor to pick up the signal and display it. Usually, the difference is in milliseconds but can mean life or death in a fast-paced gaming environment likeCall of Duty. Modern technology has caused display lag to become an issue. Newer displays store digital images and use other tricks to prevent ghosting and other graphical anomalies, but sometimes the signal you receive from the console and what your television displays are several frames apart.
Read also: The Best 4K Gaming TV’s To Check Out 2017
Should you choose a gaming monitor or television?
This really comes down to preference, if you want a more cinematic experience on a big television, then smaller gaming monitors, despite their multiplayer competitive advantage, aren’t going to entice you. If you want a display that shows the most current information coming from the console with no buffers or enhancements slowing the process, then you want a gaming focused display.
Some televisions have a particular game mode turning off most of the picture enhancements in favor of faster imaging. Samsung is blurring the lines between gaming monitors and televisions by offering large televisions with beautiful pictures and are capable of matching the screen input times of some of the best gaming monitors; it does this without sacrificing the image as much as other televisions too.
Uncharted 4 is a game that shows both sides of this debate. On the one hand, you have the cinematic experience of the single player campaign at 30 frames per second, on the contrary, you have the 60 frames per second multiplayer that feel snappier than the single player campaign images. The snappiness of the multiplayer fits with the frenetic action that takes place in multiplayer. The 30 fps resembles more of what you would see in a movie theater giving Uncharted a cinematic feel.
The Campaign may be better experienced on a larger television with the latest in technology to improve the cinematic experience, but the multiplayer competitive edge might suffer by trying to cover a large screen. Multiplayer focused buyers may give up the cinematic feel of larger televisions for monitors that are smaller, meaning you have less area for your eyes to cover, and have less input lag, meaning you see the images much sooner.
How does buying a 4K HDR television or monitor improve the standard PS4?
Buying a 4K HDR television without upgrading from your original PS4to the PS4 Pro seems to make a clear difference. Several 4K HDR televisions have the ability to take a 1080p signal and upscale it to 4K. It creates sharper imaging and a different aspect ratio. There is a noticeable difference in the images from a 1080p television and a 4k tv, even without trading in your PS4 for a Pro model. However, with upscaling and picture enhancements comes screen input lag, and that means it may not be ideal for competitive gamers.
How does it improve the PS4 Pro experience?
The PS4 Pro doesn’t run all games at a native 4K resolution; it’s actually upscaling the image from a lower resolution. Sony uses a method to upscale the image that makes it hard to tell the difference between native 4K as opposed to an upscale to 4K. Despite this, the games look like masterpieces. Seeing Uncharted 4 run on a 4K television with HDR on was almost enough to make me consider buying both sooner than later. As much as I know technology moves at an exponential rate sometimes I can’t help but be blown away by the advances in gaming and graphics I’ve experienced in my lifetime. Seeing Uncharted 4 in 4K HDR surprised me in a way I wasn’t expecting.
What are people saying about upgrading to the Pro with a 4K HDR television?
Those of us who haven’t upgraded to a PS4 Pro or a new 4K HDR television, the idea of buying both at once seems like a big purchase, and it is. The PS4 Pro is currently $399.99 and a good 4K HDR television could set you back another $1000 to $2000. Those that have pulled the trigger and bought it don’t seem to regret it. The ability to stream 4K video and play games at a higher resolution, framerate, and with HDR has combined for a great in-home entertainment experience. The prices of 4K HDR televisions will be coming down through the year and by the time the 2018 holiday season rolls around we may see a price drop in PS4 Pros.
What are some of the best models of 4K HDR monitors and televisions?
The most highly recommended 4K HDR television is the Samsung KS8000. Samsung’s picture has really stood out from the crowd for the past few years, in my opinion. In addition, this model has a 21.1-millisecond display lag compared to the next best model, the LG C6, at 34.1 milliseconds. The display lag is comparable to some of the best gaming monitors on the market.
The 55” model of the Samsung KS8000 retails for $1499.99. The LG OLED B6 is another popular model, overall, in the 4K HDR category, but I would not recommend it to competitive gamers. The LG B6 was having issues with input lag while the HDR setting was turned on. There was a patch that addressed this, but it only reduces the input lag from 60 ms to 33 ms, much slower than the 21.1 ms accomplished by the Samsung.
The 21.1 ms screen lag is impressive for television but is below average for gaming monitors. Gaming monitors are just now moving into the 4K HDR category. Asus has the Swift PG27UQ coming out soon and will feature 4K HDR in a 27” monitor. Pricing on the new Asus monitor has not been released yet, but when this monitor comes out, it will set a new standard for 4K gaming. The beauty of the Asus gaming monitor is it accomplishes the 4K HDR without increasing screen input lag.
What 4K HDR televisions have the best value?
The Samsung UN40KU6290FXZA is a 40” 4K HDR television with a $379.99 price tag making it an economic jump into the world of 4K HDR. The new Sony XBR43X800D retails at $649.99 and makes for a great mid-range television. Plus, Sony TVs and PlayStations work well together. When you have the Sony TV/PlayStation combo, you can turn on your TV and PS with the push of a PS button on one of the controllers, among other features.
When it comes to buying a TV, most brands have a general look to them across their entire range. Samsung and Sony TVs have been personal favorites of mine considering their picture quality, and the overall quality of their products. Each person is different, though, and may find LG or Sharp to be more to their liking.
If you take anything from this article, it’s screen response time or input lag. It is one of the biggest things that can impact your gaming. It means more, especially, if you’re playing competitive games that require split-second reaction times.
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