I’ve been asked what the best setup for console gaming would be. We’re going to need a TV, a gaming console (Playstation or XBox), headphones or a surround sound system.
Let’s start with the TV, we don’t need to discuss the console here, you’re either a Playstation fan or an Xbox fan, both are great consoles, why you choose one above the other is a matter of personal preference, I’ll not mess with that. Back to TVs, most TVs nowadays have 1080p resolution. As long as your TV has this functionality, you’re going to have the best in terms of picture quality.
What does 1080p mean? It’s the number of lines your TV can produce, the more lines, the more pixels (dots of colour) displayed on the screen, the better it looks. If you compare a TVs resolution to a computer monitor, some computer monitors have the functionality to output higher resolution, but mostly, gamers play at 1080p and your mainstream monitors have 1080p resolution output.
You can get higher resolution on a computer monitor, but it comes at a premium. You’ll need a decent Graphics card to handle the extra resolution output. I would say, the standard resolution for gaming is 1080p, no need for more. When 4K monitors become mainstream we’ll have something further to talk about, but we’re not there just yet.
Sure, the TV is large, the pixels are larger, but you typically sit further away from a TV than you would a computer monitor, so relatively speaking, you’ll see or experience the same picture quality on both.
Next up, refresh rates (Hz), the speed at which your TV can produce a picture . This shouldn’t be too much of a worry on your TV. The refresh rate is how many frames or pictures your TV can output per second. TVs with 600Hz technology for example, refreshes the image up to 600 times a second. A game should typically be played above or around 30 frames per second, so on that front your TV is suitably built for purpose, perhaps a little overkill. You don’t need such high refresh rates to have a great gaming experience, most modern TVs can output the required refresh rate for decent gaming.
Concepts such as response times and lag come into effect when you’re a professional gamer, playing first person shooters for example, and the reason is because these gamers need the entire system to respond as quickly as they make a move, and we’re talking milliseconds here. If you’re a professional or aspiring gamer you’ll be looking for a monitor with a response time of less than 5ms, for the rest of us though, and specifically on console gaming, it’s not a worry. You’re going to get the best gaming experience, because the game, the console and the TV are designed to work together seamlessly.
Cabling is another area we can discuss. I’ve read quite a bit on any potential improvement in picture quality you can get using a HDMI cable with gold connectors vs. a standard HDMI cable. Let’s keep in mind that HDMI is a digital signal, 1’s and 0’s, so gold isn’t going to change the 1’s or 0’s, but it could help with the signal strength if you have a long cable, and by long, we mean more than a few meters. That’s as much as the ‘gold’ part helps. Suffice to say that there are many opinions on this subject, but in the end you’re not going to notice a difference. The only point you need to consider is that the HDMI cable has the latest technology included, at this time it’s v1.4a. However, I think that in light of the indecision of gold or not, if you can get a good one that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, then you may as well get it. Can’t hurt. Below is an example of a gold-plated HDMI cable, don’t get me wrong, it looks good, but it’s going behind your TV, so only you’ll know it’s gold-plated.
Now we come to sound, which makes up a large part of your gaming experience. If you’re lucky enough to blast your surround sound speakers while playing, great, but if you have a significant other or little ones, you’re probably playing with headphones. When it comes to sound, I say get the best you can get. If you can get a set of Turtle beaches, Trittons, Astro A40s or similar, or Sennheisers, I think you’re on the right track. I’m a big fan of Astro Headsets, check out their site if you’re interested: Astro.
Have a look at some of these great headphones:
I think we’ve covered what you’ll need for a great gaming experience with your console, be it the Playstation or the Xbox. Why not go ahead and load Assassins Creed Black Flag or The Last of Us and enjoy console gaming as it’s meant to be enjoyed!
What setup do you have? Do you think you have the best setup for console gaming? If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know in the comments below.