Gamers needs low price VRR panel, from UK, models only in US sending me crazy

Lemsipper

Novice Member
So as the title says, I do watch TV and movies, but the vast vast majority of time spent on my TV is using my computer to watch youtube and play video games. I don't own a monitor, all my media is consumed via TV as I have a small flat and don't feel like I need two screens when modern TVs are so feature rich. My current TV is a Panasonic TX-55CR852B. It's a curved 55" TV I bought used for I think less than £200 when I didn't have a good gaming PC and didn't know nearly as much about all kinds of gadgetry as I do know, it was just a cheap 4K tv to start me off in 4k land.

So the main features I want are a 120hz panel and VRR. I've seen on Rtings the samsung Q60R supports VRR but only a maximum of 60hz at 4k, up to 120hz at 1080p, this sort of configuration is FINE by me, as achieving high frame rates at 4k is just not realistic, if I want the high refresh experience I will always be playing at a lower resolution.

Obviously other things like contrast and colour performance do matter to me, but the priority is much lower down the chain, and I really don't care about viewing angles as I live alone and always sit straight in front of the TV.

The main frustration for me has been finding TV models on online buying guides featuring TCL (which apprently DO sell to UK market but under different model names? so frustrating) and also one of note is the Vizio P series Quantum, which looked great until I realised vizio only supply north American markets.

So if possible a guide as to any low cost TVs that support VRR with a max refresh of 120hz, available in UK i'd really appreciate it as all the info I find online caters to American markets and also I found omit some TVs with VRR completely possibly because the performance in other areas isn't so good (like the Q60R). I'm open to consider really any models with VRR that are budget friendly.

Something to note is i'm going to be watching the used market a lot, so if there are any TVs a year or two old that aren't sold new anymore, still mention those. I don't know if features like VRR is on any TVs from like 2018 or 2019, that's why i'm asking here. Sometimes I see OLEDS like LG B7 going for like £400-500, seems like a great bargain for an OLED, maybe it's possible to get one with VRR?

EDIT: Lighting condition are pretty much always soft, lamp in the evening, my living room window doesn't get direct sunlight it faces nextdoors side. It's not a very well lit flat in the day due to it's position at the rear of the main building. Also, I know 120hz VRR are high end features usually so when I say low cost I mean in relative terms, as low cost as possible.

EDIT AGAIN: I've just read from a look through the forums, about VRR not working on some HDMI 2.1 TVs and PS5 not supporting it, well I use PC so... I assume that should work fine with VRR?

Thanks in advance
 
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vickster

Distinguished Member
Have you had a look through the gaming TVs guide?
 

Lemsipper

Novice Member
Have you had a look through the gaming TVs guide?
Yeah I have found that thread, but the recommendations don't mentioned specifically if the VRR feature is there, it's just a general "these are great, these are pretty good, these are ok"
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Yeah I have found that thread, but the recommendations don't mentioned specifically if the VRR feature is there, it's just a general "these are great, these are pretty good, these are ok"
The models in the high tier have both VRR and good HDR reproduction.
Models in lower tiers you make more sacrifices. For example:
Sony XH90/XH92 - Only 750 nits brightness, so not really a good option for future proof gaming with HDR. Known blur issue in 40-120hz mode.

LG Nano85 and up - They uses IPS panels, so are very limited in terms of HDR performance, blacks, contrast. They do have HDMI 2.1 VRR with a 40-120hz range.

Others:
Models like the Samsung Q70T which have a single HDMI port like the other TVs are not recommended due to poor HDR performance and poor value for money. If you want a TV with a VA panel and don't care about HDR then its the cheapest avenue to VRR 40-120hz.
EDIT AGAIN: I've just read from a look through the forums, about VRR not working on some HDMI 2.1 TVs and PS5 not supporting it, well I use PC so... I assume that should work fine with VRR?
Read about the known issue in the guide relating to gamma curves. All TVs currently suffer from 'flashing' which is noticeable in some titles more than others. As the game changes frame rate, each frame isn't tracking the correct gamma level, so the picture can become suddenly brighter and darker. Its believed this is a hardware issue, and won't be fixed on current TVs.

There is also another specific issue related to blur in 120hz mode, but its exclusive only to the Sony XH90.
 

Lemsipper

Novice Member
The models in the high tier have both VRR and good HDR reproduction.
Models in lower tiers you make more sacrifices. For example:
Sony XH90/XH92 - Only 750 nits brightness, so not really a good option for future proof gaming with HDR. Known blur issue in 40-120hz mode.

LG Nano85 and up - They uses IPS panels, so are very limited in terms of HDR performance, blacks, contrast. They do have HDMI 2.1 VRR with a 40-120hz range.

Others:
Models like the Samsung Q70T which have a single HDMI port like the other TVs are not recommended due to poor HDR performance and poor value for money. If you want a TV with a VA panel and don't care about HDR then its the cheapest avenue to VRR 40-120hz.

Read about the known issue in the guide relating to gamma curves. All TVs currently suffer from 'flashing' which is noticeable in some titles more than others. As the game changes frame rate, each frame isn't tracking the correct gamma level, so the picture can become suddenly brighter and darker. Its believed this is a hardware issue, and won't be fixed on current TVs.

There is also another specific issue related to blur in 120hz mode, but its exclusive only to the Sony XH90.

Thank you ver much for the detailed reply. Something important i've learned in the past week, although I haven't gotten it to work fully yet, Nvidia fast sync eliminates tearing without the lag of v-sync, if I can use this then VRR isn't really needed. Making the only essential feature 120hz high refresh, and making good HDR performance more important also, I've yet to experience HDR fully, I guess it's the number one visual improvement I should give it more weight. Are there any models that aren't on your list say maybe a year or two old that have good HDR and 120hz panels that I might find used? Otherwise i'll be referring to your guide a lot, thanks
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
The limiting factor will be HDMI bandwidth. HDMI 2.0 had a max resolution of 1440p at 120hz, and that was using YCbCr 4:2:2 rather than RGB 4:4:4 (the latter is what you'll use mostly for non-HDR PC gaming). On HDMI 2.0 TVs most people game 4k 60hz, some prefer a bit more blurriness at 1440p for the higher frame rate.

HDMI 2.1 its possible to do 4k 120hz RGB 4:4:4 so TVs that are old aren't really a benefit unless you are fine sending the TV a less than native resolution, game at 60hz...or you are happy to have some colour conversion/quality loss going on.

TVs that are a few years old use HDMI 2.0 ports, its only in 2019 that some TVs had HDMI 2.1 and 2020 that it started to get more popular.

Right now the cheapest avenue to HDMI 2.1 and good HDR would be a TV like the Samsung Q80T or LG BX OLED. Looking at the second hand market the 2019 LG OLEDs are almost similar to the 2020 ones with HDMI ports, so a B9 or C9 from 2019 would also be suitable.

What kind of budget are you working with?
Do you intend to pair the TV with a PC capable of pushing high FPS at 4k or do you plan to dial down the resolution and frame rate in some games?
 

Lemsipper

Novice Member
The limiting factor will be HDMI bandwidth. HDMI 2.0 had a max resolution of 1440p at 120hz, and that was using YCbCr 4:2:2 rather than RGB 4:4:4 (the latter is what you'll use mostly for non-HDR PC gaming). On HDMI 2.0 TVs most people game 4k 60hz, some prefer a bit more blurriness at 1440p for the higher frame rate.

HDMI 2.1 its possible to do 4k 120hz RGB 4:4:4 so TVs that are old aren't really a benefit unless you are fine sending the TV a less than native resolution, game at 60hz...or you are happy to have some colour conversion/quality loss going on.

TVs that are a few years old use HDMI 2.0 ports, its only in 2019 that some TVs had HDMI 2.1 and 2020 that it started to get more popular.

Right now the cheapest avenue to HDMI 2.1 and good HDR would be a TV like the Samsung Q80T or LG BX OLED. Looking at the second hand market the 2019 LG OLEDs are almost similar to the 2020 ones with HDMI ports, so a B9 or C9 from 2019 would also be suitable.

What kind of budget are you working with?
Do you intend to pair the TV with a PC capable of pushing high FPS at 4k or do you plan to dial down the resolution and frame rate in some games?

I'm using an Nvidia 3060 ti, and i'd like to be able to play high fidelity games at 4k HDR (<60 is fine here and expected) and also HDR movies sometimes, and if I need fast action gaming 120fps i'd be playing at 1080p. My GPU is pretty capable and should be fine for this., but it does have 2.1 outputs so maybe I should invest in a capable TV now... I'm familiar with the differences between HDMI 2.1 and earlier, but as I understand it, as long as I understand it, HDMI 2.0 is ok for what i've outlined above? Or maybe it can't quite do 4k60 full 4:4:4? I thought it could.....

Yes the Q80T is one of the only ones that's made my shoftlist from the research i've done so far, as well as some Vizio and TCL models I was frustrated to find don't exist in Europe, which brought me here for advice.... I looked on Rtings and saw lower Samsung models some support VRR, like Q60R but as you mentioned the HDR performance is poor in these models? I was also considering nano90 but they aren't up to much according to your list.

What you mentioned about the B9 and C9 LG OLEDs is exactly the kind of info I was hoping to get, thanks, anything else you can think of for used market with HDMI 2.0 assuming what I said above is correct, i.e I don't need both 4k and 120hz at the same time, either 4k60 OR 1080/120.

My budget isn't really dead set, i'm hoping to get something used for maybe £500 but if there really isn't anything good I might up it. I'm willing to wait i'm pretty patient.

Could you also explain why the mid tier and below in your list you recommend disabling HDR, surely on is better than nothing?

Thanks!
 
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Dodgexander

Moderator
The Samsung Q60R is a 2019 model, it is 120hz unlike the newer Q60T but it does only have HDMI 2.0 ports. From what you've said that's fine for you as you'll be dialling down the resolution to play at a higher frame rate anyway.

Regarding HDR on the mid tier models, it will be hit or miss depending on the title. Speaking only about gaming, many titles are mastered with high nits in mind..but luckily some HDR games are now including adjustments you can make to limit the peak output of brightness making it still useful to have HDR on displays that fall short when it comes to peak nits.

HDR has different aspects, you can see better colours than SDR, but the main draw is increased contrast and colour volume, both nearer to black and in the brightest parts of the image. If a title is designed to have parts that have bright highlights then those highlights will be lost on TVs with reduced peak nits...and the picture can be a lot flatter.

The problem comes with a bad combination of the source and a low nit display, or bad performance with local dimming that makes the TV a lot less uniform. Can make the picture seem to dark in some places, too washed out in others. TVs in the mid range typically cut down both on nits and local dimming.

If you want just a dabble in HDR a TV like the Sony XH9005 is fine, but you may get some problems with HDR occasionally. Ideally you want to aim for the XH9505. The Samsung Q80T would be a good balance between the two.
 

Lemsipper

Novice Member
Ok, this is great info thanks for your help. Something I have noticed, for say, the samsung Q80T, I have been searching rtings, wondering whats the difference between Q80t and Q80r, and it appears it is just the year of manufacture? Is there any reason to avoid previuos models like Q80r? And also the Q70 and Q60 why are they inferior? So so much for someone not familiar with the TV market...
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
R is the 2019 model, T 2020. They are also pretty different TVs despite what Samsung want you to believe.

Q60R 2019 is really more similar to the Q70T 2020
Q70R 2019 is really more similar to the Q80T 2020.
Q80R 2019 is really more similar to the Q85T 2020.
Q85R 2019 is really more similar to the Q90T 2020.

Q60T is really more similar to Samsung's cheapest models like the TU7000 than the others.

Q90R wasn't really replaced, probably most similar is the 8k Q900T.
 

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