If you’re picking up a PS4 Pro this week, odds are that you either currently own or plan to buy a 4K TV sometime in the future. You might be planning on scooping one up on the cheap this Black Friday, and with ridiculous deals like Kolhs’ $249 4K TV from Chinese manufacturer Haier, the temptation is everywhere. Don’t be fooled as not all 4K TVs are created equal: your new PS4 Pro was created to make your games look glorious, so don’t just settle for “slightly better.”
Shopping for a TV has been pretty straight forward in the last 5 years, as we’ve seen really good HDTVs for reasonable prices. But now as gaming and content providers transition towards 4K and HDR, it’s easy to make a buying mistake. Before making that next big 4K TV purchase to enjoy your new PS4 Pro, keep in mind a couple of key points.
Where is your 4K TV and PS4 Pro being placed and how far away are you sitting from it?
If you’re setting it up on your desk, than you can probably find something at a decent price. Smaller 4K sets (or even monitors) with the specs you need are priced pretty fairly . It’s when you go bigger that things can get confusing. Keep in mind how far away you’re sitting from your 4K TV: if you’re in an average-sized living room and sitting 4 to 5 feet or more away from the TV, you’ll need at least a 55″ display (according to Crutchfield‘s recommended home theater TV and viewing distance) to notice improvements over 1080p content.
Sure, PS4 Pro games and 4K content will get that initial ‘wow’ factor on displays smaller than 55″ but if you’re looking for details, you’re just not going to find them. If you settle for a smaller 4K TV, maybe you can just squint super hard the entire time you’re gaming and it will work? But, that doesn’t sound like fun to me.
Compromises are made on Black Friday TVs.
This isn’t really an electronics industry secret anymore at this point but in case you didn’t know, many retailers have TV manufacturers build custom “doorbuster” SKUs for Black Friday. These SKUs are made to generate the early
stampede foot traffic for retailer doors. Retailers request that manufacturers target a specific price point and in order to land at that sweet spot, corners are cut somewhere along the way.
Whether it’s the 4K TVs refresh rate, HDCP version, RGB support, or even HDR10 support, you’ll find that most large size 4K TVs under $500 wind up leaving one of these boxes unticked. If you’re buying a 4K TV because of the PS4 Pro you need to know going into it that — if you want to maximize your experience — you will need 60Hz refresh (though you should really aim for 120Hz if you can afford it), HDMI 2.0 (the 4K delivery standard), HDCP 2.2, HDR 10 and RGB support.
Will a “lesser spec’d” 4K TV get the job done? Sure. Is it worth it in the long run? Probably not.
Look to the future of 4K content.
Right now (and probably for the next 6 months or so), outside of games on PS4 Pro or movies and TV shows on Netflix, Amazon and YouTube there’s not too much 4K content out there. Next year (maybe?) we will see Microsoft’s official entry into “True 4K Gaming” with Project Scorpio, and by then we will be in much different place as far as 4K games (and existing games being patched) are concerned. With two mass market 4K consoles on the market, it will be a no-brainer for developers and publishers to build and release titles with 4K enhancements in place.
Taking the aforementioned above in mind, consider your 4K TV purchase an investment. Don’t buy a cheap 4K TV for PS4 Pro this Black Friday: buy a good 4K TV (a great one if you can afford it) not just for PS4 Pro, but for all the high resolution and HDR gaming magic that’s coming to us in the future.