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This is the year to buy a gaming TV

For the very first time games, not movies, are driving the TV agenda. The result is the biggest shake-up in screen technology for years.

If you’re in the market for a new flatscreen, listen up. There’s about to be a seismic shift in the TV landscape, a telly-quake that will quite literally change the way you watch the box.

Driven by the next-gen gaming market, a combination of revolutionary new display technologies and advanced functions are conspiring to make 2021 the most exciting year for TV launches since the first sighting of 4K back in 2012. Let’s unpick the immediate future of television.

Mini LED – it’s big news

The biggest TV development in 2021 is the arrival of Mini LED, a triple-threat display innovation that promises a quantum leap in HDR performance, particularly for upper mid-range models, HFR (High Frame Rate) support for next-gen gamers and freedom from image retention, or burn-in. Three manufacturers are leading the charge.

Samsung will sell Mini LED sets under a new ‘Neo QLED’ moniker, LG has christened its incoming models ‘QNED’, and Philips is calling its offerings (rather unimaginatively but winning points for clarity) ‘Mini LED’.

Imagine thousands of microscopic LED lights, all under precise control, in a display that’s both wonderfully thin and able to give OLED pictures a run for their money.

Mini LED will feature on Samsung’s flagship 8K QN900A model, but may also appear on the 8K QN800A (details are a bit vague at the moment). The brand’s 4K TV range-topper, the QN90A, will also use a Mini LED light source.

While Samsung is positioning its Mini LED models at the top of the TV tree, rival LG is placing at least some screens into the more competitive midrange. Christened QNED, they’ll sit just above stablemate Nanocell LED TVs, which use a conventional backlight.

LG’s first QNED Mini LED TV models, the QNED99 and QNED95, claim a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, with 2,500 dimming zones.

Philips will follow with two TVs using Mini LED technology later in the year. The 9636 and 9506 Series will ship in 65- and 75-inch screen sizes.

Remember, crucially Mini LED doesn’t just raise the bar when it comes to LCD TV imagery, it also has another trump card that OLED struggles to match. It’s free from burn-in, and that’s a big deal for gamers who often have to contend with plenty of static imagery on-screen. With OLED, burn-in anxiety remains all too real.

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