When it comes to next-generation consoles, there’s only one brand on everyone’s lips – Sony. Yes, the PlayStation 5 has been a runaway success for the Japanese firm with the console almost always sold-out from every retailer in the UK. Those who have been lucky enough to snag the games machine can resell their new toy at a hugely inflated profit thanks to the low stock levels across the globe. But if you’ve been thinking of treating yourself to a new telly to go with your new PlayStation, the obvious choice might not be the best.
While it might seem like it makes sense to stick with Sony for the ultimate gaming experience… you might be better off with one of its rivals.
Believe it or not, Sony has been a little behind the curve when it comes to supporting one of the core technologies that powers the next-generation of gaming. Yes, while other manufacturers, including Samsung, LG, and Panasonic have added HDMI 2.1 to their sets for some time, if you treated yourself to one of Sony’s 2020 line-up during lockdown last year, you’ll be lucky if you have one of these all-important ports.
While Samsung included at least one HDMI 2.1 on its priciest models and LG included four with every OLED model, Sony only fitted a single HDMI 2.1 to one of its 2020 8K line-up. When it comes to 4K sets, only the mid-range Sony XH90 enjoyed support following a software update months after its initial launch.
So, what’s the big deal with this port? Well, think of HDMI 2.1 as a freshly-tarmacked four-lane motorway – it offers much more bandwidth than previous standards. As such, you’ll be able to enjoy higher resolutions, higher frame-rates, and more from your Blu-ray players and game consoles. From the outside, an HDMI 2.1 connection looks identical to its predecessors, so you don’t need to worry about buying a truckload of new cables to take advantage of the speeds.
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Likewise, if you don’t have any HDMI 2.1 kit yet, you’ll still be able to use the new port for slower, HDMI 2.0 cables.
However, if you do have a console that can leverage that expanded bandwidth (48Gbps compared to 18Gbps with HDMI 2.0) then you’ll be able to play fast-paced action games at 120 frames-per-second and enjoy titles in stunning 8K picture quality. Clearly, for those who want to eke the most out of their new console… it’s a must-have.
Thankfully, Sony seems to be correcting its lack of support for HDMI 2.1 with its 2021 line-up of TVs. Multiple HDMI 2.1 ports have been confirmed for the A90J OLED. The next model down, the A80J OLED, will have a single 2.1 port. A number of the new mid-range TVs coming soon from Sony, including the XJ95 and XJ90, will have at least one HDMI 2.1 too.