A key selling point of the next-gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles can’t be used on the vast majority of TVs

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"Marvel's' Spider-Man: Miles Morales" is an upcoming PlayStation game. Sony

© Sony
“Marvel’s’ Spider-Man: Miles Morales” is an upcoming PlayStation game. Sony

  • This November, both Microsoft and Sony are launching next-gen video game consoles.
  • Both companies are promising consoles capable of producing more dazzling visuals than ever before: 4K resolution at 120 frames-per-second.
  • Like previous console generations, that visual leap requires a new type of television that’s capable of supporting such high-res gameplay — and those TVs are rare and very expensive.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

This November, Microsoft’s new Xbox and Sony’s new PlayStation are scheduled to go head-to-head in a competition for control over the next generation of video game consoles.

With that new generation comes the next major leap in graphics technology: Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are boasting 4K resolution games at a stunningly high refresh rate of 120Hz. What that means in English is extremely crisp image quality paired with very smooth motion. Games on both new consoles are promised to look better than ever.

a person standing in front of a mountain: Websites for the Xbox Series X (left) and PlayStation 5 (right) highlight the visual capability of their respective consoles. Microsoft/Sony

© Microsoft/Sony
Websites for the Xbox Series X (left) and PlayStation 5 (right) highlight the visual capability of their respective consoles. Microsoft/Sony

Whether your television is actually capable of producing those visuals is another question altogether.

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For a television to display 4K resolution games running at such high frame rates, it needs to support those specs — and the vast majority of TVs do not, including many many new sets that support both 4K resolution and HDR visuals. That’s because TVs with support for such high frame rates with 4K resolutions are still brand new, and most are still prohibitively expensive.


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You’re looking at $950 on the low end — and much higher if you want something larger than 55 inches — for TVs that support those specs. Beyond producing 4K resolution visuals at 120Hz, TVs that fully support the next-gen consoles also need a new type of HDMI port to handle all that data: HDMI 2.1. 

The latest version of HDMI is only available on the newest modern TVs — many existing 4K and HDR TVs don’t have it, and there’s no way to upgrade an existing port. 

In so many words: If you want to take full advantage of the power of the upcoming PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, you’ll almost certainly need a new television. 

Got a tip? Contact Business Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email ([email protected]), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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