Should you buy a new 120Hz TV for Xbox Series X?
What does 120Hz mean for Xbox Series X?
Microsoft enters the next generation with Xbox Series X; its latest flagship console headed to store shelves later in 2020. With sizeable hardware advancements comes a leap in graphical fidelity, pushing higher resolutions and framerates, and richer worlds over the existing Xbox One family. The inclusion of a solid-state drive (SSD) has also become a signature of Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, with reductions in load times and speedier asset streaming, helping draw the best from the hardware.
The Xbox Series X includes several advancements over the existing Xbox One, including maximum resolutions up to 8K and 120 Hz refresh rates. The former relates to the image resolution, determining how many pixels appear on-screen, and the clarity of gameplay. The refresh rate, measured in hertz (Hz), reflects how many times per second that image changes. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother and more fluid gameplay can be.
But games outputting 8K resolution or 120 frames-per-second (FPS) gameplay representing the pinnacle of Xbox Series X and don't represent the majority of games. Microsoft indicates the common baseline will be 4K resolution at 60 FPS, with many future titles targeting this middle ground. However, many fall above or below this median, with Assassin's Creed Valhalla reportedly targeting 30 FPS, and several upcoming projects eyeing up 120 FPS.
Our extensive list of Xbox Series X Optimized games captures the full spectrum of confirmed titles, including resolutions, framerates, and more. We currently know of five games targeting 120 FPS as of publication: DiRT 5, Gears 5, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Orphan of the Machine, and Second Extinction. These all indicate 120 FPS support in development for Xbox Series X, compatible with capable displays with 120Hz output.
Should I buy a 120Hz TV for Xbox Series X?
While several upcoming Xbox Series X titles target 120 FPS support, these represent a fraction of the landscape. Not all Xbox Series X games will output 120 FPS, and many plan to discuss an additional mode, scaling down graphics in the process. While 4K resolution and 120 FPS is possible for some, compromises in graphical fidelity may result.
When in the market for a new 4K TV, several newly-refreshed lines feature native 120Hz refresh rates. But many still use HDMI 2.0, failing to support 4K and 120Hz simultaneously, and instead restricted to 4K at 60Hz, or 1440p at 120Hz.
Those that support HDMI 2.1 can often provide both 4K and 120Hz through the same feed but emerge considerably more costly. Any 4K TV with 120Hz support is a welcome pairing, but for the average player, don't go hunting a new TV just for 120 FPS gameplay.
With Xbox Series X gunning for availability later this year, we recommend the Samsung Q60 QLED TV when in the market for a TV capable of 120Hz gameplay. This high framerate living room pick from Samsung supports 4K resolution at 60Hz, or 1440p at 120Hz, providing the flexibility to switch between top-tier graphics, and higher performance. However, the Q60 requires buyers to opt for the 55-inch variant or larger to secure that 120Hz support.
Opting for 120Hz doesn't have to break the bank.
Among the growing lineup of living room-friendly 120Hz-capable displays, the Samsung Q60 offers affordable flexibility of high fidelity 4K and smooth framerates ideal for the next Xbox.
LG has led the charge with OLED displays for some time, and the latest refresh of the LG C9 continues that trend. This panel delivers unmatched clarity and color, available in 55-inch, 65-inch, and 77-inch models. You also gain HDMI 2.1 support with both 4K resolution and 120Hz gameplay simultaneously, drawing the absolute best from any future 120 FPS games. There's onboard variable refresh rate support, too, eliminating screen tearing across the Xbox library.
The Full Package
The full experience in a pricey package.
The king of the pack excels when looking for 4K gaming at 120Hz, ideal for pushing your Xbox One to the max, or drawing the best experience from Xbox Series X.
Xbox Series X/S
Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Games Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.
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