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What else should you pay attention to when buying a 4K/120Hz gaming TV?

Date: 2022/12/04

What else should you pay attention to when buying a 4K/120Hz gaming TV?

Even though the consumer electronics industry has been affected by various factors in the past two years, the prices of all kinds of electronic equipment that we can touch in our daily life have risen significantly, which has suppressed our desire to "chop hands" to a certain extent, but our demand for games has been very strong.

The reason is simple: in addition to more and more people becoming accustomed to the "stay at home" way of life/work, games have become an indispensable form of entertainment. The advent of next-generation consoles and the first batch of 3A game masterpieces for new consoles has not only intensified the phenomenon of game consoles being hard to find, but also greatly increased the demand for high-performance TVs. The new smart TV category "Game TV" was born under such a background.

But unlike the next-generation game consoles that can be almost "closed eyes and bought", the various specifications of smart TVs are intricate, and even veteran gamers who have experienced battles will inevitably have "difficulty in choosing".

With only 4K 120Hz, a seemingly mainstream technical standard, various TV manufacturers will guide users intentionally or unintentionally in various compromises between cost and price, causing them to have a wrong understanding of TV.

The actual needs of every gamer are different. This article may not be able to give you a standard answer, but at least it can help you sort out the various "tricks" under the TV specifications, so that you can avoid stepping on the pit when buying a smart TV. Find the right 4K 120Hz TV for your price and needs at one time.

"Full blood" HDMI2.1 interface

Speaking of next-generation game consoles, 4K 120Hz is of course the "starting standard" for many players who buy next-generation game consoles when choosing a matching TV. Even though the current game lineup is slightly insufficient, as next-generation game developers gradually adopt 4K 120Hz as the game screen display standard, and the next-generation console can natively output 4K 120Hz and 8K 60Hz game screens. As a consumer-resistant game display device,there is no interface equipped with full blood HDMI2.1 protocol.

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The full-blooded version of the HDMI 2.1 interface can provide a maximum bandwidth of 48Gbps, perfectly transmits 4K 120Hz, 8K 60Hz and other high-resolution and high-refresh video images.

In this agreement, the technology that attracts the most attention of gamers is the variable refresh rate technology (Variable Refresh Rate) known as VRR. The output of the game screen will change according to the real-time content, which can keep the frame rate of the screen refresh consistent with the input frame rate, and float at any time to ensure that the game screen will not be torn.

Currently, Xbox Series X already supports VRR technology. Recently, PlayStation officials also released a blog post, announcing that PS5 support for VRR will begin to be pushed in the next few months, which means that the two next-generation game console manufacturers represented by Sony and Microsoft will use this screen optimization technology as a standard for next-generation game consoles.

Even if the game itself does not support VRR, the game console can reduce the discomfort caused by screen tearing through real-time computing. The promotion of game console manufacturers has also enabled smart TVs that support VRR and HDMI2.1 protocols to obtain better picture display effects.

But it is especially worth noting that HDMI 2.1 is not a mandatory certification requirement. Devices that support the HDMI 2.1 protocol may not necessarily accept all the specifications on the official HDMI 2.1 parameter list. This is because in order to simplify the relevant standards, the HDMI standard management organization has currently cancelled the previous HDMI 2.0 certification. Even a 4K 60Hz TV that only supports HDMI 2.0 under the old standard may still appear in actual marketing under the name of supporting HDMI 2.1, which objectively causes serious misleading to many novice users.

But in all fairness, the original intention of the confusion of standards here is to help "TV/monitor manufacturers choose new features more flexibly", in other words, to further reduce the price of HDMI 2.1 certified equipment in different price ranges. After all, not every user is relatively hard-core console gamers, not every smart TV user has more requirements for VRR, 48Gbps bandwidth or even 8K picture quality.

After all, if judged completely according to the HDMI 2.1 paper certification standard, even the output bandwidth of the PS5's HDMI 2.1 interface is only 32Gbps, and the output bandwidth of the Xbox Series X is only 40Gbps, neither of which has reached the 48Gbps bandwidth standard advertised in the early days of HDMI 2.1. But this just means that the confusing HDMI2.1 protocol TV may bring players a vastly different gaming experience.

Therefore, even those users who use 4K120Hz as a key indicator for purchasing TVs still need to choose a smart TV equipped with a "full-blooded" HDMI 2.1 interface according to their actual game needs and against the key standards of the HDMI 2.1 protocol. Today, some flagship smart TVs even come standard with two to three full-blooded HDMI 2.1 ports.

Decoder chip

Software standards are important, but what actually supports the parameters on paper is the hardware configuration of the TV itself. To get a 4K120Hz picture output experience, hardware support is still essential. While these may be more obscure than the data on paper, there have been instances of rollover issues due to this situation. In the publicity, there are not a few products that confuse 120Hz MEMC with 120Hz intentionally or unintentionally. In some cases, it will even give users who do not understand the concept of technical terms, bringing the illusion that the former is more advantageous than the native 4K120Hz in terms of display effect.

This involves the concept of MEMC technology itself: its full English name is Motion Estimate and Motion Compensation, that is, motion estimation and motion compensation. The principle of the technology itself is to add a frame of motion compensation frame between two frames of images to make the picture look smoother.

For video/movie resources with only 60Hz or lower, and even most streaming media resources, this effect is immediate. Therefore, MEMC technology has almost become a standard software optimization in the smart TV industry in recent years. But for next-generation game consoles that already support 120Hz screen output, native support for 120Hz screen output instead of the so-called "120Hz MEMC" is of course the best choice.

Screen

When it comes to the 4K120Hz display effect of smart TVs, the parameters of the screen itself are of course indispensable: peak brightness, color accuracy, and color gamut are actually factors that will affect the final actual look and feel of the TV. However, some TVs that claim to be 4K120Hz are actually limited by the fact that the screen itself only supports the highest refresh rate of 60Hz, which is achieved through algorithmic frame insertion.

At present, the popular algorithm solutions for smart TVs are mainly divided into two types, except for the “black frame insertion” that will reduce the perceived brightness: one is HSR frequency doubling technology. That is, by adjusting the timing, and automatically compensating for pixel charging in the panel, the display effect of doubling the refresh rate is realized. Another DLG feature: 120Hz refresh rate is visually achieved by scanning two rows of pixels at the same time with the help of difference.

These two implementations have many limitations in use, and of course they cannot be compared with the game screen displayed by the native 120Hz screen: the former (HSR) will compress the vertical resolution of the screen display, and the latter (DLG) is often due to the TV panel itself. Only supports up to 60Hz refresh rate, the so-called "4K 120Hz picture" has actually lost half of its clarity.

Summary

As gamers become the main user group buying 4K120Hz TVs, more and more brands are deliberately blurring these concepts in marketing. This is also the reason why some manufacturers have begun to put forward the concept of "full link" in the sales promotion of 4K120Hz standard smart TVs in recent years. s reason.

Of course, the most important thing is that before buying a smart TV, you should clarify your needs and know more information, so that it is not easy to "fall out of the pit" when buying a 4K120Hz TV.


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