Opinion: The PS5 is already giving the TV market a much needed shake up
Earlier this month, Sony revealed a price and launch date for its XH90 4K TV – along with the exciting news that it will support 120fps on next-generation gaming consoles. It’s safe to say the timing isn’t a coincidence.
Video is built up of individual frames moving in succession, with most TVs able to process around 30fps. This leaves our brains to fill in the gaps between images. TVs with High Frame Rate – or HFR – video enabled are capable of processing an increased number of frames per second, essentially leaving less to the imagination.
While a low frame rate is perfectly fine and sometimes even preferable for TV and movies (the addition of more frames can make it look artificial), the added frames are incredibly useful for streaming fast moving footage. 24fps isn’t as good at capturing quick moving objects or tracking fast camera pans, which can cause video to suffer from blur or introduce a slight stutter.
If there’s one situation you won’t want to miss one second of the action it’s with videogames, and the next-generation of consoles have that covered. Both Sony and Microsoft have confirmed that their respective PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles will be capable of running a game at 120fps in 4K, allowing the consoles to deliver faster and more consistent gameplay.
Related: What is HFR and why should I care?
Unfortunately, you need more than just an HFR-enabled console to get slick performance from your games. Tech-forward gamers will also need to get their hands on a display that’s capable of pumping out 120fps, and that’s where TV companies are beginning to make a move.
Not only is Sony readying its TV lineup for 4K/120fps, but Samsung and LG have registered their interest into bringing more HFR displays to the market (although LG’s solution for its 2020 TVs doesn’t offer the full bandwidth).
Sony’s timing is not a coincidence, seeing as the company is set to start this new decade with one of the biggest console launches later this year. Thanks to the PS5, gamers will need a display capable of handling the console’s speedy 120fps frame rate to get the optimal performance out of their upgrade and Sony has come prepared.
The demand for HFR displays hasn’t manifested completely out of the air. PC gamers have been looking into HFR options to fit into their rigs for years. You only need to visit a PC building forum to see that the market for 120fps displays has been growing for years now – next-gen consoles are ready to bring that want out into the mainstream.
Related: PS5 vs Xbox Series X
It isn’t all in the hands of TV manufacturers, however. With prices ranging from £1299 to £3299, Sony’s new displays aren’t cheap. Games developers need to step up and provide games that can take advantage of the next-gen consoles’ increased frame rates if gamers are to see the TVs as a worthwhile investment.
As is, it’s tempting to see the release of the PS5 and the 120fps Sony TVs as a (rather expensive) package deal. We’ll have to wait until later this year to find out whether being able to experience the fast-paced action in all its glory is worth doling out the extra cash.