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The best TV settings for gaming

Find out how to tweak your TV to make the most of your games.

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You might have noticed that there’s loads of ‘settings’ for your TV, but how do you know which ones are right for what you’re doing?

When it comes to gaming, especially online, the difference between winning and losing can be a fraction of a second, and it might not even be your fault! It could be down to the way you’ve got your TV set up, so let’s take a look at the best settings to protect your hard-earned kill-to-death ratios.

Whether it’s for LG TVs, Sony TVs or Samsung TVs, we’ll take you through the best gaming settings for each brand. Plus we’ll suggest some big screen beasts that may just be your perfect 4K gaming TV. Don’t touch that dial!

Finding Game Mode and combatting input lag

Input lag is the slight delay between your TV receiving a signal to do something, and then actually showing it on the screen. This might be a huge deal if you’re just watching TV, but it can have a huge impact when you’re using your main screen as a gaming TV. Most TVs offer the choice of a few preset settings, and one of them is ‘Game Mode’.

Depending on the manufacturer, Game Mode can change different parts of the display - some of it can help reduce input lag and some of it is just aesthetic.

Game Mode might turn off process-heavy settings (like motion smoothing) to make sure input lag is at a minimum. But it might also simply change the TV’s colour settings. While these colour settings might look more appealing, it’s not actually doing anything for input lag - so you might have to change some other settings manually.

When Game Mode works to reduce impact lag, it might reduce the quality of the images you see as well. For fast-paced games where every second counts, speed is probably considered more important than picture quality - but just remember to change things back when you want to watch regular telly.

What if my TV doesn’t have Game Mode?

Not all TVs give you the option to switch to Game Mode, and sometimes all it does is change the colour profile. If that’s the case, here are some common settings you can find and adjust yourself:

  • Backlight: 100%

  • Contrast: 100%

  • Brightness: 50%

  • Sharpness: 0%

  • Colour: 50%

  • Tint (G/R): 50%

If your TV has advanced settings too, you’ll want to turn off anything that’s heavy on the processor to reduce input lag as much as possible. Different manufacturers do things in their own way, so here’s what to look out for:

Samsung TVs

  • Dynamic Contrast: Off

  • Black Tone: Off

  • Flesh Tone: 0

  • Gamma: 0

  • Motion Lighting: Off

  • Digital Clean View: Off

  • Smart LED: Off

Sony TVs

  • Noise Reduction: Off

  • MPEG Noise Reduction: Off

  • Dot Noise Reduction: Off

  • Reality Creation: Off

  • Smooth Gradation: Off

  • Motionflow: Off

  • CineMotion: Off

  • Black Corrector: Off

  • Auto Light Limiter: Off

  • Clear White: Off

  • Live Color: Off

  • Detail Enhancer: Off

  • Edge Enhancer: Off

  • SBM: Off

LG TVs

  • Super Resolution: Off

  • Dynamic Color: Off

  • Clear White: Off

  • Motion Eye Care: Off

  • TruMotion: Off

  • Real Cinema: Off

How to get the best gaming experience on your TV

When it comes to getting the most from your fave games on the big screen, there are several things to think about. From the resolution of your TV screen to its refresh rate, color settings, contrast, brightness, backlight and even noise reduction, each element has its part to play in creating an immersive and captivating gameplay environment. Here’s what to look for - either when you’re looking to improve what’s happening on your existing screen or when you’re considering buying a new gaming TV.

1. 4K TV screen improves gaming!

Once upon, you could only really expect to get awesome quality gaming on a monitor, but 4K gaming TVs have turned all that on its head. A 4K TV screen offers four times the pixels of a standard 1080p screen, resulting in sharper, more detailed visuals. That means intricate textures, vibrant colors and lifelike scenery that sucks you straight into the gaming world. Whether you're exploring open worlds or engaging in intense battles, a 4K TV screen makes it all the more real.

2. 120Hz TV Refresh Rate gives you smooth gaming

Refresh rate is all about how many times your TV updates the image it displays per second. For gaming, a higher refresh rate can make a significant difference. A 120Hz TV refresh rate means smoother motion, reducing motion blur and giving you more fluid gaming. This can be make or break in fast-paced games where quick reactions matter. And even when you're in a single-player RPG, a higher refresh rate helps keep your head in the game.

3. Best TV colour settings for gaming

Colour settings impact how vibrant and accurate games look on your TV screen. While personal preference can play a role, there are general guidelines for gaming. Go for a colour temperature that's neither too warm nor too cool, aiming for a balance that showcases the game's intended colors. If in doubt, always set colours to 50%.

4. Best contrast settings for gaming

Contrast determines the difference between the darkest and brightest parts of an image. Finding the perfect contrast settings for gaming can improve just how much you can see. Adjust the contrast to make sure dark scenes are sufficiently visible without losing detail in brighter areas. Achieving a good contrast balance helps in spotting enemies lurking in shadows! High is usually good - say 70-80%.

5. Best gaming TV backlight setting

Backlight settings make your TV screen brighter. Finding the right balance can help make details easier to see while making it comfortable to pay for longer. Again, you probably want to have this at about 50%. If you have an OLED TV, you won’t need to worry about backlighting.

6. Is noise reduction good for gaming?

Noise reduction is a feature that aims to reduce visual noise or graininess in the image. While it can be great for certain types of content, it's generally recommended to disable noise reduction when gaming. Especially if you’re playing on a next-gen console like a PS5 or Xbox Series X.

Noise reduction algorithms can introduce processing delays, meaning you’re likely to get more lag. By keeping noise reduction off, you’ll keep gaming sessions smooth and uninterrupted.

Don't forget your console settings

As well as your TV settings, you’ll want to check the ones on your console too. Go to the TV output settings on your console. Make sure it’s set to at least 720p, 1080p or 4K UHD - the higher the better.

Once in your console’s TV settings, you should find everything else you can do to improve your gaming experience - whether that’s enabling Dolby Vision or a higher refresh rate.

That’s everything you can do to make sure your setup doesn’t affect your gameplay. All that’s left is to fire up your favourite title and hone your skills, whether you prefer the battlefield in Call of Duty or the green pitches of FIFA.

Handheld consoles

Just because you’ve got a Switch or a handheld console PC, doesn’t mean you should neglect TV settings when playing on the big screen. Simply play with the TV settings about, and then find out what you can adjust on your console. Asus’s handheld console PC (known as the Rog Ally) is easy to connect with HDMI, Type-C or USB-C cables. It might not have quite the resolution of a PS5 or Series X, but it will play on your TV screen at a very respectable 1080p!

So, hopefully that will help make gaming perform best on your TV. But how about PCs? Is it worth having your gaming PC in the living room or is it better to use a dedicated monitor? We found out whether you should use a TV or monitor for computers.

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