Kotaku Gift Guide 2013: Best TVs For Gaming

Christmas is coming. Now is the time to um... buy stuff. For other people and (sometimes) yourself. How about a big new snazzy TV? TVs aren't typically given away as presents but you could possibly get it past your frugal husband/wife/other half by saying it's a "joint present darling, it's for the both of us!"

Here are some of my suggestions...

What's up everyone! I'm rich and I don't give a...

Sony 65" LED-LCD 4k (KD65X9004A) Price: $6499 Personally I'm not really ready to invest in 4k yet. Sure it looks great in the demos in-store, but it's a little too expensive and there's no content running at that resolution, not enough to justify spending over six grand on a TV at least...

But if money is no object then please, be my guest. I actually really like Sony's LCD TVs at the minute. We have a new one running in our office space and I was surprised at just how dark the black levels go. For a second it almost had me questioning my allegiance to Plasma. So yeah, I like Sony's TVs. Also — Samsung's LCD range is good. It's neck and neck between these dudes for LCD.

Happy to spend, but not too much!

Panasonic 60" Plasma (TH-P60ST60A) Price: $1998 (currently $1788 at JB Hi-fi) As a big fat Plasma fan-boy I consider Panasonic's decision to abandon its stellar range of plasma TVs as the greatest injustice to television progress since Pioneer stopped making the Kuros.

This is probably your last chance to buy the end result of years upon years of great Plasma research and development. So if you were to buy any TV on this list, pound for pound you should probably buy this one. In my house right now I have a relatively old Panasonic G10 model, a 46" inch number. I'm working from home today and it's taking all my resolve to not just walk up right now and buy one.

Something a little cheaper?

Panasonic 42" LED-LCD (TH-L42ET60) Price: $1099 (currently $896 at JB Hi-fi) My opinion is that if you have to go super cheap for a TV, go small rather than buy one of those bad no-name brands to get a bigger TV. Just my advice. Plus, 42 inches is hardly small!

This TV is solid. Not as good as Panasonic's Plasma range, but still worthwhile. Just be prepared for some slight motion blurring and the like.

Thoughts? Did we get it wrong? Anyone got any other TV buying advice? Let us know in the comments below.


    TV's are fun to look at as they have pictures on them that move.

      I like to press buttons to make my pattern of little lights change....

    For gaming, you want a super fast refresh rate.

      Aye. So long as it's 100Hz and 1080p resolution, you're good to go.

        Consoles don't output 100fps, so 60Hz is fine.

        Well not exactly... i bought a 42" 100hz 3d LG (eek, i know) and was going to use it for a bit of pc gaming and the input lag was bloody horrible!! I have a 63" samsung 3d plasma and run all my games on my gaming rig without a hitch.. sooo good! So here i was thinking as long as the refresh rate is good then i'm good to go.. NO! you are not... do some research, i will never fall for that again! I struggled to play borderlands 2 even while spraying and praying its hard to swallow, let alone trying to do something like battlefield or starcraft where you need a bit of control over where your mouse is going to land...

          I made sure when buying my TV it had 2ms refresh and not the normal 5ms most TV's have so it's alright for playing bf3/4 well any game it's only when knifing you can see frame by from but that may just be my week as hell CPU

      More importantly for gaming, you want a super low input latency.......

      It's getting better, but geez some TV's in the past have been absolutely horrendous for any type of gaming.

        Yep, That's why my consoles are hooked up to a monitor with the lowest input lag i could find at the time. TV's for watching Blu-ray :D

        Last edited 02/12/13 1:35 pm

        I remember trying to play guitar hero on my LCD from 2003, It was not a fun time.

        This is exceptionally true for fighting games. In fgs frames can decide whether or not you're able to pull off a combo, punishing and etc.

        The Sony W900A has 19ms input latency, which is about the lowest out there, at least for a TV.

        yep this as well as ability to be used as a vga monitor was why i got my sony 5 years ago.
        still doesn't disappoint.
        i never had to tweak rock band for it.
        it was well worth the extra cash at the time.
        it is still hard to find a good gaming TV even 5 years later which is quite disappointing.

    $1099 is super cheap? D:

      And 42" is small now?

        Yes. 55in is the target size for people buying a new TV.

          yep! 42 is the new 38cm and 55" is the new 42"...

          I have a 40 and I feel its a tad too big, wish I went with 30.

            Depends on location of course. And I bet if you went smaller you'd be disappointed. Can't keep ourselves happy! :P

    Not alot of research into this article, seems more like an opinion piece...which case if you were talking about movies or watching tv then yeah, but your not, you explicitly state for "Gaming", so maybe you wanna tell your rich-kid readers that jumping on the 4k bandwagon right now means your also going all-in for 30Hz screens as well, or that while Plasma is king of the hill for blacks it's still slower in millisecond response time, which wouldn't matter for a video but for all the kids playing call-of-duty, it just might.

    There is also the fact that the Panasonic 42" you mention at the bottom has an LG logo, come on Mark, you can and have done better than this

    The last tv is an LG not a panasonic.....also, I just picked up the 50st60 pana and its incredible.

    I wouldn't buy that 4K set even if I had the money, the HDMI spec on it is still 1.4a so any money spent on it will be wasted. Wait for HDMI 2.0, that way you can enjoy 4K with a good refresh rate rather than being limited to 24hz.

    Needs more CRT options.

      Have a look at the new Dolby Professional A Grade Monitors, They have Plasma Mode, LCD Mode & CRT Mode. Nothing compares to the image quality of these Monitors.
      You'll just have to sell you house to afford one.

    There's an LG logo on the TV above the TH-L42ET60 description.

    Last edited 02/12/13 1:33 pm

      Looks like an LG LA6230 at a guess.

      Also may have been deliberate given Panasonic is using LG panels for their LEDs

    I recently purchased the 50" ST60 from the Good Guys for around $1100. As that was back in August you could most likely get even the 60 for easily under $1500 from them. I did a lot of looking into this TV and I did know about the lag from the get go but as someone of is more into indie and adventure titles not shooters it wasn't ever a problem. I have tried out a few shooter like killzone and Gears of War and it was very hard to tell the lag was there. It really is an amazing TV for the price. I know people will be worried about burn in still as it is a plasma but when push comes to shove is you do your homework and make sure you take care of it for the first 100-200 hours you will have a great TV for years to come.

    This article is mentioning particular models, but it's not explaining the technology. Here's a guide:

    - LCD - you need this for gaming. Plasma still has image retention problems, so you will get that health bar on your nice TV.
    - Input lag - even mid-range TVs now have a 'game mode' that switches all/most post-processing off. The lag can still be evident if the TV had shonky electronics and only reading reviews will reveal this. However, make sure you turn game mode on when actually playing, and you should be fine.
    - Backlight type - the lowest input lag will be on TVs that also turn off localised dimming with Game Mode. The manuals don't explain this, so it's touch and go. This point is almost a preference (I can go into more detail regarding image quality, if you like) from a gaming perspective, but I'm mentioning it anyway.

    tl;dr buy a cheap LCD TV if you're only playing games.

      "- LCD - you need this for gaming. Plasma still has image retention problems, so you will get that health bar on your nice TV."

      And the burn-in myth continues...

      I have a 50" Panasonic plasma that is 3 years old, I play LOTS of games on it and I have no burn in. I haven't done any fancy anti-burn in twoddle either, burn-in is just not really an issue on modern plasmas.

        It's not a myth, it still occurs. It's heavily reduced from plasmas 3-5 years ago, but it's still there. Heck, LCDs can actually get image retention (ghosting) too ...

        If you're buying a TV for gaming 3hrs daily, you'll probably have problems with plasma.

          I reckon it depends on the game. If it's the same game, on a newish plasma, for most of the time while it's on, yep you're gonna get it.

          Mine's gone away now, you can just see the outline of the timer at the top. And it's been about 2 years since I noticed the problem and stopped playing on it.

        It's not a myth. See my response below.

        I have a 2008 50 panasonic never had a persistant burn in. I play games lots of games(ps3) Maybe not street fighter 24/7 but I spend lots of time on it. It broke. I played on a 40 inch sammy led LCD sammy amazing blue ray. Shite for games. Coughed up the dough knowing how much more I enjoy the plasma. Maybe ps4 will be better with today's ledlcd tv's. what ever u do, do ur research and test in store if u can.

      Burn in is a relic of super old plasmas. Unheard of now.

      And re: input lag, plasmas actually are the best in that regard.

      You're actually far better buying a plasma for gaming if you're looking for a cheap option.

        if you're looking for a cheap option

        Until you get your next power bill.......

        Yeah, but image retention still happens. Especially after long game sessions on a single game. Eh, we can argue this back and forth all day, but I believe it still occurs and so does a lifehack article from mid 2013. *shrugs* Considering article title is about gaming TV's, I'd suggest LCD any day just to be safe.

          My 2011 LG Plasma has this issue ... After about a week of playing the same game every night for 5 hours. It also goes away after about 5 minutes in a movie anyway, so not really worth stressing over. This is with my contrast up super high - Which is what I hear causes the biggest issues.

          I'll be buying a plasma again (if they're still around when I need to). It's such a minor issue that it should affect purchase choice.

          I do agree on the power bill though - The plasma uses nearly as much power as my computer with both the 4.6ghz i5 OC and GTX680 running full pelt.

        Nope. Got some nice health bar burn in on my panasonic plasma from playing too much street fighter on it.

        It IS still an issue.

        To be fair, I was using the tv for 90% street fighter, so I was asking for it, but even back then, people were saying things such as what you are saying.

        It IS still an issue. I would still game on a plasma, but I would give it 10mins of full screen tv after every session, to try and even out the wear on the screen.

          Set it to static to help clear any image retention. New plasmas really shouldn't have a problem with it anyway.
          Also, I use my 6yr old 42" Panasonic plasma as a pc monitor and for console gaming and have no problems with any real retention. The task bar image does stay up for a little bit (only even noticeable on black screens) but having just played some DR3 I cant even see it against the black of the credits screen...

          Last edited 03/12/13 1:00 am

            Yeah I've done a little static. I also like 'toy story 3' on blu-ray. It's nice and fullscreen.

            It's good that you don't have any worries, but like I said, I was asking for it. Brand new tv and I would turn it on, play street fighter for an hour at least, and then turn it off. I wasn't giving the screen a chance.

            It's pretty much better now. Have to looking very careful in panning scenes to see the timer outline.


    picked it up for$2k over a year ago, looks good on next Gen consoles :D

    has some weird game mode that improves latency at the cost of quality but I can't see any difference :|

      Game more just turns off post-processing. So you can see the LCD panel for what it is. :P

        He has a plasma :P

        I've never had image retention problems on my Panasonic plasma

      It just turns off all the extra processing crap like motion plus and some of the dynamic modes which make the picture look good if your TV isn't set up properly. If you have an Xbox One, give the TV setup mode a try, it will go through telling you how to set up your TV contrast and colours for the best picture. My 5-6 year old Samsung looks absolutely amazing now. Love game mode now everything is set up properly.

    Sorry, but if you are making recommendations for a gaming TV, that Panasonic needs a big fat warning sticker on it - it has a high input lag issue. Beautiful picture, but not great for gaming.

      It's almost like they don't do any research here or something....

      I would still love to buy a 60" panasonic though. 70" if I could afford it. But I can't justify 2 grand+ on a tv when my 50" plasma is still doing a beautiful job.

      I never thought I'd want another tv. But you can always go bigger...

      I have that exact tv and I play xbox one and ps3 on it with the game mode and can honestly say I've never noticed the input lag i've heard it's really high like in the 60ms so maybe my eyes are terrible but I'd say u have no need to worry about it also u see the picture on it when playing or watching a bluray and wow it's beautiful

    Don't buy a 4K TV unless it does 60Hz or better. Gaming at 30 frames per second isn't a good idea.

      The only 4k TVs that I know of on the market are 100hz at minimum. The LG is 200hz.

    Sony W800A is also a good TV to consider- $1000 for the 42 inch or something like $1800 or so for the 55 inch. Lowest input lag out there, great colours, very very nice.

      JB had the 55" for $1400 on special the other week. Would of been a pretty good buy.

    This doesn't seem like much of a gaming list, just a TV list...

    Sony W800A has the lowest input latency at the moment, and a pretty good price.

    Also make sure if you buy a TV with some sort of motion plus technology (ie, inserting frames to bring a 60hz picture to 100 or 120) that you can turn the damn thing off! Terrible for gaming, in fact, terrible for pretty much everything. Some of the cheap big screens like Hisense have it on permanently.

    Last edited 02/12/13 11:12 pm

    Worst guide in history.

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