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Help me pick a new TV for ESO

BejaProphet
BejaProphet
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I’ve got Xbox series X, and fiber optics. My limiting factor is my TV which can’t display the newest HDR settings on ESO. Problem is that my budget is very tight.

So, cheapest TV that will give me the optimal graphics on Xbox series X ESO?
  • fred4
    fred4
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    You'll probably have to be more specific what price bracket you're shopping in. I recently got a Samsung QN90B, 50". This is a conventional LCD TV, albeit a fairly high-end one with a VA panel, local dimming, and 144Hz refresh support at 4K. TL;DR, I'm happy with it.

    If you are in my price bracket, your main consideration is whether to go OLED instead, e.g. specifically the LG C2 (or C3 this year). With my use of the TV being ESO for the majority of the time, I was not convinced I wouldn't have burn in problems eventually. I like keeping gear for a very long time. If it doesn't die, I'll keep this for at least a decade. I also have zero tolerance for finnicky gear that might require screen savers, hiding the Windows task bar, and so on. Thus I chose not to go for OLED.

    I play ESO on PC and I do not use HDR. With an RTX 3070 and everything cranked to max, it looks great. No issues with blooming whatsoever, as long as you watch head on. I have local dimming on high. The 50" and smaller variants of this particular TV (the Samsung QN90B) use VA panels, which means decent contrast even without local dimming (5K:1), but crap viewing angles. It's a tradeoff. The larger variants have a surface coating that improves viewing angles, but reduces native contrast and can cause rainbow-like reflections when light shines on the screen. They also have a marginally lower refresh rate (120Hz).

    My standards for black levels and contrast are high, as I had been using a JVC D-ILA projector, which excelled in this regard. The local dimming of the QN90B is a downgrade that you occasionally notice in video content. However this is rare, and in ESO I don't notice it at all. I would go so far as to say you don't need a TV with local dimming for ESO in SDR. You could go cheaper.

    On the other hand, if you want HDR, I think you'll have to splash out. As far as I can tell cheap TVs may technically support HDR, but may not have the peak brightness to actually deliver it. You'll need a TV with local dimming for that, or you need an OLED, and possibly a high-end 2023 model at that. OLEDs deliver true blacks and bright highlights, which results in very high contrast and depth perception you don't otherwise get to the same degree. However the downside of OLEDs is that they struggle to deliver full-screen brightness. They aren't great in bright rooms and they can't deliver HDR when the image is predominantly bright, rather than just having bright highlights.

    Last year's OLEDs drop to about 200 nits when displaying bright images. That's basically a good SDR level in a completely dark room, but no more. This happens because OLEDs consume a lot of power for a bright picture. They get hot and it either kills them or reduces their lifespan, if the electronics don't curtail the brightness. I've read the C2 had weird issues where it would progressively get even dimmer during prolonged hockey games (probably fixed with over the air firmware updates now). The C2 is also not all that suitable for desktop use, because is aggressively modulates the brightness when you pop up a white (browser) window. An LCD TV like the QN90B, on the other hand, can do 600 nits brightness full screen. When it comes to highlights in darker scenes, both OLEDs and LCDs can do anywhere from 1K to 2K nits on the highlights. A good HDR-capable unit that is.

    OLED is basically a somewhat immature technology as far as I can see. If you want one and you want HDR, you're ideally looking for a Samsung S95B from last year, the S95C from this year, or a high end LG G3 with micro-lens array from this year. I'm guessing this is probably beyond your budget, so the wise thing may be to focus on the SDR performance of your TV.

    Does ESO even support HDR? I can crank the QN90B up in SDR mode, but the map gets really bright when I pop it up and hurts my eyes (watching in the dark). I also tried actual HDR in Horizon Zero Dawn, but I can take it or leave it. The sky is really bright when you look up and buildings look darker against the horizon. That may be realistic, but it's not necessarily a good thing for gameplay. It actually makes the visibility of stuff worse.

    The TVs I've been talking about are fairly expensive. 1K to 2K $ or € even in the smaller sizes. What you get is HDR, high refresh rates, and high contrast. Does the XBox do more than 60Hz? If not, I would just look for a good 60Hz SDR TV.
    PC EU (EP): Magicka NB (main), Stamina NB, Stamina DK, Stamina Sorcerer, Magicka Warden, Magicka Templar, Stamina Templar
    PC NA (EP): Magicka NB
  • fred4
    fred4
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    OK, so I note the XBox Series X does 4K, 120Hz, HDR. In that case you're shopping in the same bracket as I was, but those TVs are double the price of the XBox here in Europe. If you drop down the range or buy something older, the refresh rate is usually the first thing you lose. The local dimming too and, without that, you don't really get HDR. You get an LCD TV that maxes out at 500 to 600 nits for highlights instead. If it hits those values, that's probably still pretty good. It's hard to say without seeing it, but going to a shop didn't help me at all. It was bright and all the TVs were configured to play to their strengths. OLEDs showed a lot of night scenes with highlights. Conventional TVs just showed bright stuff. Even the QN90B didn't play anything that would give it's specific weaknesses away, e.g. when the local dimming just can't cope. The off axis blooming is visible at home at an acute angle, but was impossible to judge in the shop. Luckily on axis viewing is fine, like I said.

    Samsung make QD OLED panels, LG make the WOLED panels, somewhat different technologies. While the panel manufacturing divisions of these companies are independent, other manufacturers all use those panels when it comes to OLED. You're not going to find substantial performance differences by going to other brands. Sony tends to be more expensive for no good reason. Panasonic just doesn't have the same market presence here. The value brands seem to be TCL and HiSense. Check out rtings.com, I guess.

    Last year's OLEDs are probably fine for ESO, since ESO has dark and medium brightness scenes for the most part. However, I wouldn't buy an older OLED than that. The technology has suffered from burn in. Apparently that was prevalent a few years back, when the technology was newer. The same is possibly true for the S95B, which was a new technology last year. Samsung have been tweaking the firmware, which they automatically push to your TV if it's on the Internet. There seems to have been one firmware causing burn in on the S95B last year, e.g. by running it too hard / too bright.

    LCD technology is more mature and not moving as much. I'd buy something like a QN90B, e.g. last year's model, over a QN90C any day, if available for a better price. I think some of the QN90Cs may have ADS panels as well. Better viewing angles, but lower native contrast. Hard to say whether that's good or bad. Since I view head on, it sounds like a step backwards for me personally.
    Edited by fred4 on April 24, 2023 11:32PM
    PC EU (EP): Magicka NB (main), Stamina NB, Stamina DK, Stamina Sorcerer, Magicka Warden, Magicka Templar, Stamina Templar
    PC NA (EP): Magicka NB
  • BejaProphet
    BejaProphet
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