Best 4K and 8K TVs for Xbox Project Scarlett Windows Central 2019

Microsoft has laid the foundations for Xbox Project Scarlett, its next-generation console slated for next year. Pursuing 8K and 120Hz gaming with future-facing hardware, there's no better time for a TV upgrade. However, the Samsung Q8F 4K HDR TV remains our top pick in 2019, despite Scarlett's high ambitions.

Best Overall: Samsung Q8F

Microsoft kicked off its Project Scarlett reveal outlining the flagship's planned capabilities, pitching support for up to 8K resolutions. However, 8K remains far from common among both display manufacturers and content creators. Given that Xbox One X often falls short of native 4K at higher framerates, Scarlett's high ambitions allude to a device more consistently offering 4K 60Hz as a minimum. It's why the Samsung 8QF is crowned our top pick for budding Project Scarlett owners looking for a TV upgrade in 2019.

Already a perfect pairing with existing Xbox One consoles, Scarlett will only draw the best from these sets in 2020. Boasting a 4K HDR panel available in 55-, 65-, 75-, and 82-inch configurations, the Samsung 8QF leverages Samsung's QLED technology, recognized for improved colors and contrast. Games and movies present sharp and vivid on Xbox One X, with benefits likely further accentuated with Project Scarlett. While higher-end 4K HDR sets surpass the 8QF's visuals and feature set, Samsung's 2018 range balances quality and affordability like no other.

Pros:

  • 4K, HDR support
  • Gorgeous picture quality
  • Unmatched value
  • Sleek design
  • Multiple sizes up to 82 inches

Cons:

  • Won't deliver the best of Project Scarlett
  • Poor viewing angles

Best Overall

Samsung Q8F

Samsung's excellent Q8F does it all

Ignoring the QLED marketing jargon, this 4K HDR TV series is a good option for existing Xbox owners to enjoy 4K gaming, extending to Project Scarlett.

Best Budget: TCL S517

The TCL S517 offers a panel ideal for budget-conscious gamers ahead of the next generation, and shouldn't be overlooked. The entry-level bundle is an existing Xbox One X favorite, with benefits extending to those preparing from Project Scarlett in 2019 too. While it won't push the upcoming device to its limits, TCL provides a taste of 4K for less.

Starting low with a super-affordable 43-inch panel and extending to 49-, 55-, and 65-inch models, the S517 lineup fits any mid-sized living room. It sports a 4K HDR panel with a 16ms response time to cover the gaming essentials, although its brightness and colors fall short against the broader market. But when wrangling a tighter budget, those savings can't be ignored.

Pros:

  • 4K, HDR support
  • Affordable
  • Insane value

Cons:

  • Low brightness
  • Poor viewing angles
  • Won't deliver the best of Project Scarlett

Best Budget

TCL S517

The baseline, affordable 4K HDR TV

The TCL S517 is a budget option worth considering. The display won't be as bright as more expensive TVs, but don't complain when it's cheaper than a console.

Best 8K: Samsung Q900R

Microsoft is aiming high with Xbox Project Scarlett, topping out at an ambitious 8K resolution, with up to four times the on-screen pixels as Xbox One X. However, with 4K adoption still on the rise, 8K remains far from commonplace for the average living room. The Samsung Q900R is among the first 8K devices on the market, leading the next-generation with its razor-sharp but costly setup.

We struggle to recommend 8K TVs in 2019, given the numerous hurdles buyers will face. The infamous early adopter fee still lingers, and ongoing price drops signal a substantial disparity between current and 2020 values. The console's final internals and feature set also remain unconfirmed, making 8K hardware a high-risk investment.

However, for those eager to jump into an 8K experience, the Q900R will draw the best from Scarlett. The clarity of 8K complements the vivid colors of an HDR-enabled QLED panel, alongside praised artificial intelligence (AI) upscaling for existing content. While available from $2,500 for the 55-inch configuration, 65-, 75-, and 82-inch variants better highlight the benefits of 8K.

Pros:

  • 8K resolution
  • Breathtaking images
  • Praised AI-backed upscaling
  • Cheapest price yet
  • Up to 82-inch variants

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • High-risk investment
  • Limited 8K content

Best 8K

Samsung Q900R

Experience the 8K future, today

While 4K is still the go-to for 2019, this early endeavor from Samsung packs a stunning 8K HDR QLED panel into a sleek (and pricey) package.

Best 120Hz: Samsung Q80R

High framerate gaming is another fundamental pillar of Project Scarlett, pledging experiences up to 120Hz at 4K resolution. Outputting more frames per second results in smoother gameplay and potentially reduced reaction times, all attributed to an elevated gaming experience. However, your display must be capable of such refresh rates to achieve the results.

4K and 120Hz require a high bandwidth connection granted by the HDMI 2.1 revision, currently limited to a small pool of future-facing sets. It leaves the Samsung Q80R our top high framerate living room pick, achieving 1440p at 120Hz, with Samsung suggesting 4K lies ahead via bandwidth workarounds.

The Q80R also boasts FreeSync support, AMD's variable refresh rate (VRR) technology that eliminates screen tearing, adapting the refresh rate of your display to that of outputted content. Already functional on Xbox One and confirmed for Project Scarlett, it keeps games buttery smooth frame-by-frame.

Pros:

  • 4K, HDR support
  • 120Hz-ready at 1440p
  • FreeSync support
  • Vibrant QLED panel

Cons:

  • No HDMI 2.1 support
  • 120Hz games library unclear

Best 120Hz

Samsung Q80R

Keep it smooth in style

Among the few living room-friendly 120Hz-capable displays, the Samsung Q80R offers the flexibility of high fidelity 4K and silky smooth high framerates.

Bottom line

Given the infancy of 8K gaming, 120Hz on consoles, and much of Xbox Project Scarlett's ambitions, the Samsung Q8F is our top TV ahead of Microsoft's next flagship.

While it won't draw the best from the upcoming console, 8K remains a high-stakes investment without confirmation of the final features. With a bright, vivid image and reasonable price point, this TV is a capable all-rounder to start your next-generation experience.

As more details get confirmed for Project Scarlett and we get a closer look at how the ambitions for it match the reality, we'll continue to bring you more recommendations.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Matt Brown is a staff writer at Mobile Nations for Windows Central. Following years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he's focused on the world of Xbox and Windows PCs. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

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