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Ultra-ultra settings: how 8K TVs are going to transform gaming

There's no better place to see the future of technology than at CES in Las Vegas, and from smartphones to smart homes the tech on show at CES 2019 was every bit as impressive as we expected – but it was the 8K TVs showcased by the likes of Sony, LG and Samsung that really blew us away.

So what is 8K TV?  8K refers to the screen resolution – in other words, the number of pixels in the screen area. The more pixels there are, the better the image clarity. 8K TV has four times more pixels than 4K images, with a resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels, which equates to a total of 33,177,600 pixels. That means it's quite simply the clearest picture you've ever seen. 

But why should gamers care about 8K? Well, if you're a fan of stunning graphics and crystal-clear images then you most certainly should; if you think Assassin's Creed Odyssey looks pretty in 4K, wait until you see it running on 8K. 

Even better, these new 8K TVs are coming with built-in HDMI 2.1, which means they'll be able to support 8K content at 60fps. However, currently the Xbox One X is the only console to implement HDMI 2.1 (as it's a new standard). In addition, both it and the PS4 Pro are well into their life cycles, so Sony and Microsoft probably won't prioritize 8K first-party games for them. 

In other words, we may not actually see games harnessing the potential of 8K TV for a while. While it's possible for next-generation consoles such as the Xbox Two or PS5 to make use of 8K, it's unlikely they will for a multitude of reasons – it's far more likely that PC will nail 8K gaming first, followed by the Xbox Two X or PS5 Pro, or whatever those consoles will be called. 

While 8K TVs may not be beneficial for gamers right this second, investing in an 8K TV will set you up for future console generations such as the (again we're guessing at the names) PS6 or Xbox Three. 

So, if you have some cash to splash, or simply want to swoon over the latest 8K offerings, here we present the best 8K TVs from CES 2019 for your perusal. 

Sony Master Series Z9G 8K HDR TV

Kicking us off is the massive Sony Master Series Z9G 8K HDR TV, measuring in at  85 or 98 inches (depending on your preference). The 8K monolith is powered by Sony's X1 Ultimate processor, and sees the return of the Backlight Master Drive from Sony's 2016 Z Series TVs. But What does that mean? More enhanced contrast and precision-controlled brightness, that's what. 

The problem with Sony's offering is that it's absolutely huge, and the average person couldn't feasibly fit it in their home. But if you can fit it in, then you'll enjoy a gaming experience unlike any other – you'll almost be able to see the pores on Geralt of Rivia's sweaty brow.

We don't know the price tag yet (expect it to be huge) but we do know that it'll be available in the second half of 2019.

Samsung Q900R QLED TV

Next up is the Samsung Q900R QLED. Like Sony, Samsung's 8K offering is an absolute monster, available in 65, 75, 85 or 98 inches, if you have the room. The Q900R uses artificial intelligence to upscale SD content to 8K HDR.

The Samsung Q900R is already available; however certain sizes are only available in the UK, while others are only available in the US. Either way, it'll cost you a pretty penny, with the 85-inch model setting you back $14,999 in the US, which converts to around £11,600 or AU$21,000; the price for the 98-inch model hasn't even been announced yet. Check out our review for the full list of available sizes and prices.

LG 8K OLED Z9 TV

If you can't fit 98 inches into your home, then how about 88 inches? Still no? Well, that's the only size LG's 8K OLED Z9 TV is available in, complete with 8K upscaling and 'improved noise reduction' for clean, smooth images. 

The Z9's incredible detail levels and the extra resolution give the picture a greatly enhanced sense of depth, making for a more immersive gaming experience.

LG Nano Cell 8K LED TV (75SM99)

If you're looking for something slightly more feasible space-wise (and probably price-wise as well) then LG's SM99 75-inch LCD TV with 8K resolution may be the television for you.

The LG Nano Cell 8K LED TV (aka the 75SM99) has a high-end a9 Gen 2 processor and High Frame Rate to deliver that 8K magic, although the image clarity isn't quite as stunning as from the other TVs on this list, with oversaturated images and poor black level performance. But if you're not super-fussy then the Nano Cell could be right up your 8K street.

Check out all of TechRadar's CES 2019 coverage. We're live in Las Vegas to bring you all the breaking tech news and launches, plus hands-on reviews of everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops and smart home gadgets.Read More



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