In short: As long as the input lag is lower than 30 ms and it has at least one HDMI 2.1 port so you can get the most out of resolution, an LED TV is a great budget option for gaming.
Every few years, televisions get a major overhaul. LED TVs used to be all the rage years ago, but now it’s all about OLED and an even newer technology called QD-OLED.
But are LED TVs still good for gaming? Let’s talk about it.
The refresh rate is good enough for most games
In terms of refresh rate, LED TVs tend to be 60 or 120Hz. The higher the number, the smoother the animation, and the gameplay on the screen will appear to the human eye.
This means that a 120Hz display, which updates itself 120 times a second, will look slicker and more natural than your average 60Hz screen which only updates itself 60 times a second.
The refresh rate of LED TVs is good enough for most games.
However, the refresh rate depends on the game and the console, and since most games don’t go past 120 frames per second, having a higher refresh rate LED TV isn’t very useful.
A PS4, for example, only supports a refresh rate of up to only 60fps, so you won’t need an LED TV monitor that supports anything higher if you’re playing games using an older console.
For first-person shooters, 120Hz is probably good enough for most gamers. But if you play competitive online FPS then you might want a monitor with a faster refresh rate.
Usually, I’d recommend a monitor with a top refresh rate of 144Hz, which allows you to run most games with uncapped frame rates on a next-gen console, like the Xbox Series X and PS5.
Response time depends on the price
Not to be confused with refresh rate, which determines how many frames per second your display can show, response time determines how fast each frame can change.
A response time of less than 5ms is considered ideal for a gaming display, though many modern gaming displays have a response time of 1ms or less.
LED TVs, however, can be a mixed bag. Some lower-end models have a slow response time that causes motion blur, while other high-end TVs have a super fast response time.
RTINGS.com did an amazing job of testing over 399 TVs, some of them LED TVs, and made a helpful table on the response time of each television screen. You can see the results here.
Based on the results, the worst LED TV had a partial response time of 9.4 ms while the best LED TV had a partial response time of 2.7 ms, which is good enough for most games.
Most LED TVs have “Game Mode” to reduce input lag
If you’re in the market for an LED TV for gaming, look for a “Game Mode” which is a feature that optimizes the settings for gaming and should be available on modern televisions.
The feature also reduces input lag, which is the amount of time that it takes to show your action on the screen after you press a button. The higher the input lag, the longer the delay.
Ideally, you’d want this number to be 30 ms or lower for gaming.
In addition to Game Mode, other features can also make gameplay smoother and speedier, such as Variable Refresh Rate, which allows the TV to adapt to the game you are playing.
As long as the LED TV has a Game Mode, it’s good enough for gaming.
Better in bright rooms
LED TVs get significantly brighter, so they can fight glare from light sources easier. This makes them excellent for HDR gaming, although the contrast isn’t as strong as on OLED TVs.
I think it ultimately depends on where you intended to play games, though.
If you mostly play games in dark rooms with the curtains drawn, the OLED will look better. They have the best contrast ratio and more vibrant colors in my opinion.
However, if you play in brighter rooms, LED might be worth considering instead. Reflections are still noticeable on an LED TV, but at least you can still see the image.
So, are LED TVs good for gaming?
When it comes to gaming, LED TVs are still the standard on the market because they’re available in all shapes, sizes, specifications, and price points.
LED TVs are good for gaming because of their ideal refresh rates, good response time, and other gaming features such as Variable Refresh Rate and Game Mode.
LED TVs also have good brightness and reflection handling, which is better than plasma TVs and newer OLED TVs when gaming in brighter, well-lit rooms.
As long as the input lag is lower than 30 ms and it has at least one HDMI 2.1 connection so you can get the most out of resolution, an LED TV is a great budget option for gaming.