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Here are the best HDR TVs for your Xbox One S

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HDR stands for high dynamic range, a technology that renders images closer to what the human eye actually sees. This resolution is created by both balancing and better contrasting light and dark areas. Color equilibrium is the secret behind stunning HDR realistic images.

The Xbox One S is HDR-compatible, but you also need an HDR TV set to enjoy the full spectacle offered by this technology. In this article, we’re going to list the best HDR TVs to use with your Xbox One S console.

As expected, HDR TVs come with a high price tag, but the crystal clear images they deliver are worth every penny.

Best HDR TVs to buy in 2023 Samsung KU6300 HDR TV

Samsung’s KU6300 HDR TV series relies on the latest display technologies currently available to render stunning, crystal-clear images. The 4K UHD resolution creates images that are 4 times sharper than full HD since its PurColor technology accurately expresses colors in life-like details.

UHD Dimming perfectly blends color, contrast, and sharpness, delivering a vibrant viewing experience. Last but not least, its Upscaling Picture Engine upgrades lower resolution movies and TV shows to a near ultra high-definition experience.

Samsung’s KU6300 HDR TVs feature a slim design that adds a modern touch to your living room. Smart Remote lets you navigate your Smart TV and control other devices in a simple and smart manner.

The KU6300 series includes 7 HDR TV models:

You can buy these HDR TVs from Amazon or Samsung for from $499.99 to $1,499.99, down from $649.99, and $2,299 respectively.

Sony XBR55X850D HDR TV

Sony’s XBR55X850D HDR TV reveals incredible 4K HDR details for unique gaming and movie experiences. HDR video content delivers stunning color and contrast, with impressive highlights and fine detail.

The TRILUMINOS Display technology that Sony uses on its XBR55X850D HDR TV increases color depth, offering rich and vivid colors with more shades of red, green and blue.

Thanks to Sony’s refresh rate technology (Motionflow XR 960), fast moving action sequences movies and games look smooth and clear.

You can buy the Sony XBR55X850D HDR TV set from Amazon for $998.99, down from $1,198.99 for the 55-inch model or $7,998 for the 85-inch TV set.

Hisense H7 HDR TV

Expert tip:

Hisense H7 is equipped with the following inputs: 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB ports, 1 LAN port for Ethernet, 1 RF input, 1 L/R audio input, 1 RCA component input, and 1 RCA composite input.

There are 4 Hisense H7 HDR TV models available:

Hisense 43H7C2 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Hisense 50H7GB2 50-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Hisense 55H7B2 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Hisense 65H7B2 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

The price for the Hisense H7 ranges from $368.00 to $992.94. You can buy the Hisense HDR TV models listed above from Amazon.

LG OLED65B6P HDR TV

The LG OLED65B6P HDR TV set has three unique features: Perfect Black, Cinematic Color, and OLED HDR. The individually illuminating OLED pixels can brighten, dim and power off to achieve perfect black. LG OLED TVs have a color palette that matches the hues seen in modern digital cinemas.

This TV is capable of delivering over a billion rich colors and infinite contrast on a flat screen. Dolby Vision is an elevated HDR standard that faithfully matches filmmaker intention. The crystal-clear Harman Kardon sound together with the stunning image quality create worlds that almost feels real.

Quick note: When you connect the LG OLED65B6P HDR TV to an Xbox One S to enjoy HDR games, you need to go into General settings and turn on HDMI Ultra HD Deep Color to the HDMI input you’re connected to. This is because HDR only auto-detects when you stream from the built-in apps on the TV.

You can buy the LG OLED55B6P Flat 55-Inch HDR TV for $1,997.00, down from $2,499.99 from Amazon. The second model, the LG OLED65B6P Flat 65-Inch HDR TV costs $2,997.00 down from $3,999.99.

LG UH6030 HDR TV

The LG UH6030 HDR TV series offers incredible details, fully immersing you into the action. It has three key features:

8.3M Pixels, 4 times the resolution of FHD TVs

HDR Pro

webOS 3.0: LG’s best Smart TV just got better.

The IPS panel relies on in-plane switching to deliver rich colors and strong contrast ratio even at wide viewing angles. In this manner, any seat in the house becomes the best. The TruMotion 120Hz technology lets you see movies and video games and high-speed action with no motion blur.

The following LG UH6030 HDR TV sets are available:

You can buy them from Amazon, for a price tag ranging from $600 to $999.00.

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The Best Tvs For Gaming In 2023

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Written By Mike Epstein

Updated Jun 20, 2023 10:10 AM

The best TVs for gaming offer some very specific features that may differ from a typical top TV list. With the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, video game consoles have the processing power to run games that look sharper, brighter, and more vibrant at smoother frame rates. While you can play games on any TV with an HDMI port, there are a series of specs that you need to get the most out of those powerful consoles. Simply picking the best 4K TV isn’t necessarily enough. Let’s talk about what makes the best TVs for gaming and look at some of the best options you can buy right now.

How we picked the best TVs for gaming

Prior to joining Popular Science, I’ve written about the gaming industry and technology for nearly 10 years at a variety of publications, including IGN, Gamespot, GamesRadar, PCMag, and Digital Trends. In other words, I have been playing video games professionally for a long time. More specifically, I covered the rise of the first 4K/HDR-compatible consoles—the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro—and spent a good deal of time learning how to tell the difference between a good video game screen and a great one.

To pick the best TVs for gaming, I relied on a combination of hands-on testing and viewing, combined with professional reviews and critical analysis. We’re currently evaluating the latest TV models as they arrive.

The best TVs for gaming: Reviews & Recommendations

So now that we’ve covered all the ways picking a “gaming TV” differs from picking a TV for watching TV and film, it’s time to get to the good part. Based on our testing and research, these are the best TVs for gaming you can pick up right now. We’ve done our best to provide you with some options based on criteria you may have, including what high-end console you have and display technology. All of these TVs, though, should provide you with the features you need to make your games look great.

Best overall: LG C2

Why it made the cut: The LG C2 checks all the gaming TV boxes, offering a sharp, bright OLED with a high refresh rate.

Specs

Sizes: 42, 48, 55, 65, 77, and 83 inches

Display Type: OLED

Refresh Rate: 120Hz

Adaptive Sync: FreeSync, G-Sync

Ports: HDMI 2.1 x 4, USB-A x 3,

HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision

Pros

Wide size range

Sharp, vibrant picture

High refresh rate with adaptive sync support

Four HDMI 2.1 ports

OLED evo improves brightness over previous models

Cons

Low brightness compared to similar QLED models

Best for PS5: Sony Bravia XR A90J

Why it made the cut: The Sony A90J doesn’t have every single gaming-focused feature, but it has all the stuff PS5 fans need making it the best gaming tv for PS5.

Specs

Sizes: 55, 65, and 83 inches

Display Type: OLED

Refresh Rate: 120Hz

Adaptive Sync: N/A

Ports: HDMI 2.1 x 2, HDMI x 2, USB-A x 3,

HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision

Pros

OLED with Incredible color and contrast

High refresh rate

HDR and Dolby Vision

Reportedly brighter than LG C1

Cons

No variable refresh rate

The Sony Bravia XR A90J was the company’s flagship OLED in 2023 and it delivers an absolutely incredible picture. Like the LG C1, it offers incredible vibrant colors and the signature “perfect” blacks of an OLED display. In general, I find Sony tends to be the “upgrade” brand—you have to pay extra for their stuff, but you get what you pay for. For multiplatform gaming, the A90J falters because it lacks adaptive sync support and only two out of four HDMI ports support HDMI 2.1. Luckily, the PlayStation 5 currently doesn’t support adaptive sync, so that’s no loss for PS5 players. And, if you’re locked in on a single 4K console, chances are you don’t need more than two HDMI 2.1 ports. 

Plus, it is one of a handful of new Sony Bravia XR TVs that supports a series of “perfect for PlayStation 5” features, including Auto HDR tone mapping, which automatically calibrates your HDR, and “auto genre picture mode,” which switches between standard mode and lag-reducing “game mode” whenever you turn on a game or start watching a movie or TV.

Best for Xbox Series X: Samsung QN90A NEO QLED

Why it made the cut: While it isn’t an OLED, Samsung’s QN90A offers incredible color and contrast, along with most of the key gaming features.

Specs:

Sizes: 43, 50, 55, 65, 75, 85, and 98 inches

Display Type: QLED

Refresh Rate: 120Hz

Adaptive Sync: FreeSync

Ports: HDMI 2.1 x 1, HDMI x 3, USB-A x 2,

HDR: HDR10

Pros

Mini-LED-powered QLED TV delivers incredible brightness and strong contrast

120Hz with FreeSync

Absolutely incredible size range

Cons

No Dolby Vision

One HDMI 2.1 port

While we generally recommend an OLED display for gamers, all things being equal, Samsung’s QN90A NEO QLED is a reminder that there’s an exception to every rule. Samsung’s highly touted flagship Neo QLED TV features Mini-LED TV and local dimming, allowing for tremendous brightness that you won’t find on OLED screens while offering highly precise color. Of course, it also has all the gaming-focused features we want to see—including an HDMI 2.1-powered 120Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync, which the Xbox One and Series consoles support. It isn’t a perfect fit, as Samsung TVs don’t support Dolby Vision, but given the small amount of natively supported content, we chose to prioritize the best picture, even at the expense of a minor, feature-related blemish.

Why it made the cut: The TCL 6-Series is arguably the best television under $1,000 right now and the new Google TV adds additional, gaming-friendly features.

Specs

Sizes: 55, 65, and 75 inches

Display Type: QLED

Refresh Rate: 120Hz

Adaptive Sync: Yes (Not FreeSync or G-Sync)

Ports: HDMI 2.1 x 2, HDMI x 2, USB-A x 1,

HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision

Pros

High refresh rate

HDR10 and Dolby Vision

Comparatively affordable

Cons

Adaptive sync doesn’t support industry standards

It should come as no surprise that TCL, a brand well known for its really strong budget and mid-range smart TVs, offers the best value in gaming TV for under $1,000. The TCL 6-Series is a crowd-pleaser, offering a bright QLED picture and 120Hz refresh rate. The newest version of the 6-Series, which features Google TV instead of Roku’s smart TV operating system, adds two HDMI 2.1 ports and, reportedly, improved picture quality, making it the superior option for top-of-the-line gaming setups.

It does come with some tradeoffs, of course: While it supports adaptive sync, TCL isn’t officially compatible with FreeSync or G-Sync, so its variable refresh rate may not be as reliable as other choices. That said, you are getting most of the things we look for in a gaming TV for substantially less than most of our top picks.

Best older model that’s still great: LG G1

Why it made the cut: The LG G1 may actually be a slightly better TV than the LG C1, even if its high price keeps it out of the top spot.

Specs

Sizes: 55, 65, and 77 inches

Display Type: OLED

Refresh Rate: 120Hz

Adaptive Sync: FreeSync, G-Sync Compatible

Ports: HDMI 2.1 x 4, USB-A x 3,

HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision

Pros

Incredible picture

Brighter than C1

High refresh rate with FreeSync and G-Sync

4 HDMI 2.1 ports

Cons

More expensive than top pick, despite only a minor upgrade

The LG C1, our top pick, is realistically the best OLED TV you can buy right now, but did you know that LG makes more than one OLED model? If you’ve done some research already, you’ve probably heard of the slightly brighter, but substantially more expensive LG G1. It has everything the LG C1 has: sharp, vibrant colors; that OLED brightness control; the high refresh rate with FreeSync and G-Sync compatibility. According to reviewers, it even goes a step further and amps up the brightness over the C1, mitigating its primary technical weakness. As at other publications, the G1 fails to earn the best overall rating because that little extra touch of brightness will cost you a few hundred dollars on top of an already steep price. While it isn’t as financially efficient for TV buyers, the G1 is an excellent TV if the C1 isn’t available.

Best LED: Sony Bravia XR X90J

Why it made the cut: Even without an OLED panel, the Sony Bravia XR X90J offers an incredible picture and all of Sony’s great suite of gaming-focused features.

Specs:

Sizes: 50, 55, 65, and 75 inches

Display Type: LED

Refresh Rate: 120Hz

Adaptive Sync: FreeSync

Ports: HDMI 2.1 x 2, HDMI x 2, USB-A x 2,

HDR: HDR10

Pros

Very bright picture w/ local dimming

High refresh rate w/ FreeSync

Cons

Expensive for standard LED TV

The Sony Bravia XR X90J, for a “standard” LED TV, sure seems to check all the boxes. Its high brightness ensures that you get bold, vibrant colors and maximized HDR in your TV, movies, and games. It features the same great suite of gaming features as its OLED counterpart, the Bravia XR A90J, including Sony’s “perfect for PlayStation” configuration options. While it doesn’t achieve the same contrast as the OLEDs on this list, it goes toe to toe with those TVs in many ways … including the price.

What to look for when buying a TV for gaming, specifically

The basics of picking a gaming TV aren’t that different from picking a TV in general. Many of the basic requirements, like picking the right size for your space, do not change because you have a controller in your hand. Likewise, many of the super-technical aspects, such as wide color gamut and good viewing angles, are incredibly important for picking any TV.

Resolution

Let’s start with the easy part. If you have PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, or Xbox One X, you want a 4K TV. Even if you don’t have a 4K-capable console, like the Xbox Series S or Nintendo Switch, you likely still want a 4K TV, because some consoles feature supersampling technology that can enhance a game’s fidelity without taking the resolution a full step higher. 

Luckily, we’ve reached the point where most new TVs are 4K TVs, so you’re covered no matter what you get unless you’re shopping in the very low-end models. And though Sony and Microsoft have said the current consoles have the power to run games in 8K, it is not possible to do so yet and adoption is moving very slowly, so we do not recommend spending an absurd amount of money on tech you won’t be able to use for the foreseeable future.

Backlight type

The big question, with regards to visual fidelity, is what kind of display technology should you look for in your gaming TV. At this juncture, it mostly comes down to three major categories: LED, or “light-emitting diode”; OLED, or “organic light-emitting diode”; and QLED, or “Quantum dot … yeah, you get it.” We have a full-length explanation running down the differences among all three technologies, so I’m going to give you the short version.

As you can see by the names, all three versions are variations on LED technology, which runs electricity through a power cell to emit light. A standard LED TV does this uniformly for the whole screen using a backlight array that shines through an LCD panel. High-end QLED displays augment that basic LED technology by adding dots on the display that enhance the brightness of the backlight, allowing for a brighter screen and sharper, more precise colors. These TVs fit into a category called “transmissive” because they rely on a backlight shining through colored filters. 

Despite the name, OLED TVs are something of a different breed called emissive TVs. They feature a large number of small diodes that individually light up to illuminate the screen rather than relying on an LCD panel. This allows the display to turn individual lights on and off, allowing for a wider range of brightness and the darkest possible blacks.

With the options currently out there, OLED is, generally speaking, the superior display type for gaming. It allows for the best use of HDR, which creates an array of different in-game lighting conditions. QLED also enhances this to a degree, at least in theory. Generally speaking, OLED and QLED sets sit at the top of the TV food chain right now, so we’re basically just saying, “The good TVs? Yeah, they’re really good.” The important thing to note here is that, all things being equal, gamers should go for an OLED over other types of TVs.

High-Dynamic Range (HDR)

High-Dynamic Range, or HDR, is a display technology that allows your TV to create a wider range of lighting conditions on screen by making different parts of your screen brighter than others. The actual “range” refers to the difference between the brightest white and the darkest black. My favorite example is walking into a cave or other unlit space: Without HDR, games have to choose by making you unable to see and pretending that the cave is magically lit, but colored darker. With HDR, games can actually simulate that grainy, textured low-light look of peering into the dark.

On TVs, there are two primary HDR standards: HDR10 and the more exclusive Dolby Vision. Experts say that Dolby Vision ultimately produces a better picture, but there is relatively little content for it. Both Xbox Series consoles and PS5 support HDR10, but only the Xboxes support Dolby Vision. Even on Xbox, though, only a small fraction of games from the past two generations support it. Luckily, every modern TV supports HDR10, so you don’t have to choose. If you play games primarily on Xbox, you may want to go the extra mile of looking for a Dolby Vision-capable set.

Regardless of standard, though, not all HDR is created equal. The technology relies on brightening the TV to different degrees, so it’s very important that your TV actually gets bright enough to do that. Ideally, you want a TV whose maximum brightness is 1000 NITS or higher to ensure optimum performance.

Input lag and “Gaming Mode”

In the menus of most modern TVs, you’ll find options for different display modes, including an option specifically for playing games. Generally speaking, TV gaming modes remove certain processing elements to reduce the amount of time it takes for the TV to process what’s happening on screen, which reduces input lag.

Input lag, or latency, is a gap in time between when you press a button on your controller and when the action occurs on screen. There is always some amount of input lag because your console or computer needs to process your inputs and send them to the screen, but it should be imperceivable in ideal conditions. If you sometimes feel like you press a button at a precise time, but you miss your window, that may have been because of a lag issue.

Obviously, this list will avoid TVs with notorious input lag and/or game mode issues, but if you’re thinking about whether or not to use “game mode,” just try it and see. The worst-case scenario is that you don’t notice a difference in how you play and you turn it off.

Refresh rate

Refresh rate-related features are the hottest new features in TVs right now and they’re making waves because of video games. Refresh rate, a core feature in gaming monitors for PCs, represents the number of times your TV can redraw the entirety of the screen to reflect a change in what it’s showing each second. For video games, it effectively translates to the maximum frame rate your TV can handle: If it maxes out at 60 Hertz (Hz), as most TVs made before 2023 do, that means your TV can output at up to 60 frames per second.

The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles have the ability to run some games at up to 120 frames per second, but in order for you to actually see that, you will need a TV with a 120Hz refresh rate. We’ve noticed an uptick in interest in monitors for PS5 and for Xbox Series X, and I imagine that the frame rate gap is part of the reason why.

TV manufacturers are already responding; at CES 2023, most of the major manufacturers showcased new 120Hz TVs. It’s still a high-end feature, but something that we expect will filter down into new sets over the next few years.

In addition to higher refresh rates, TV manufacturers are also starting to support adaptive sync technology into TVs. Adaptive sync, or variable refresh rate, is a display technology in monitor hardware and software that allows your screen to adjust its target frame rate to match the computing power of the device delivering its image. This minimizes input lag and prevents some display glitches like screen tearing, a visual distortion where two frames of animation overlap.

There are two versions of adaptive sync: Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync. As with gaming monitors, you’re more likely to find TVs with FreeSyncs support than G-Sync, though some TVs can play with both standards. Outside of PC, the only consoles that support adaptive sync are the Xbox Series and Xbox One consoles. There have been rumors about Sony adding adaptive sync support to the PS5, but it is not available now.

HDMI 2.0 and 2.1

If you want to play a game in 4K at 120 frames per second, you will need to plug your TV into an HDMI 2.1 port. Despite the fact that it’s generally treated as a single, ubiquitous port, there are many versions of HDMI. The ports all look the same and newer ones are always backward-compatible so you’re never asked to throw out cords if you get a TV with newer ports, so most people wouldn’t even notice until you’re locked out of using a feature.

As we explain in our best HDMI cables roundup, newer HDMI standards can transmit more data per second than older versions, which roughly translates to a resolution and frame rate for TV, film, and games. The most common port you’ll find now is HDMI 1.4, sometimes called “high-speed HDMI,” which can output in 4K at 30Hz: That’s what you need to watch TV and movies in 4K. To play games in 4K at 60Hz, you need HDMI 2.0, aka “HDMI UHD,” which can handle 4K resolution at 60Hz with HDR10. The highest standard is HDMI 2.1 or “Ultra High-Speed HDMI,” which unlocks 4K at 120Hz or 8K at 60Hz.

As you may expect, both the PS5 and Xbox Series X support HDMI 2.1 out of the box. But to use the consoles at their highest level of performance, you will need a TV with the same. At the start of 2023, that’s pretty rare, but the coming wave of 120Hz TVs will generally come equipped with HDMI 2.1 ports to match their high refresh rates.

FAQs

The nitty, gritty details of picking TVs can, honestly, get exhausting very quickly. Wide color gamut, viewing angles, brightness levels … if you stare at these numbers on a spec sheet they can start to turn to gibberish real fast. In the end, the best thing to do when picking a TV is to do the eyeball test: If you can and feel safe doing so, go to a store and see what TV looks right. If you can convince somebody to run a game demo for you instead of the usual electronics store tech demo, even better. The gaming-related features of a TV are, surprisingly, slightly less obtuse. For the time being, they’re a little more straightforward: Is it bright enough? Is it fast enough? And, frankly, at this point, even those questions are reserved for those who plan to spend a lot of money—$1,000 or more—on their next TV. For a lot of people, the best gaming TV is still the best overall TV you can afford.

More TV roundups to help you find the perfect set

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

Best Indie Games For Pc, Ps4 And Xbox One

Freed from the constraints of marketing departments and AAA budgets, indie developers have been putting out some of the weirdest and most interesting games out there, and thanks to support from Valve, Microsoft, and Sony, it’s never been easier to find and buy the best indie games, whether you play on console, PC, or just on your phone. 

Still, there are thousands of great indie games out there, and it can be a bit daunting if you don’t know where to start, so with that in mind, we’re rounded up a few of our favourites.

We’ve played every one of the games in our list (most of them for more hours than we’d care to admit), and they range from open-world survival epics to short, intricately crafted stories. They’ve all got one thing in common though: we think they’re brilliant.

Oh, and if you want to find more great games for specific platforms, we’ve rounded up the best games (indie or otherwise) for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Android.

Inside

Amazon,  PlayStation Store, Xbox Store,  Steam, GOG

A spiritual sequel to the also-very-excellent Limbo, Inside is a 2D puzzle platformer that pairs brilliant gameplay with a surreal, one-of-a-kind story. You play as a young boy breaking into a mysterious facility under the cover of darkness, uncovering more and more mysterious goings on as you delve deeper, all of which is relayed entirely without dialogue.

Mechanically, you’re typically tasked with finding your way from the left of the screen to the right. That might mean figuring out how to cross a divide or climb over a wall, how to activate a mechanism or evade an enemy. At times Inside is sedate, leaving you time to ponder, while at others it forces you to work at breakneck speeds.

Supported by striking, shadowy art, Inside is that rare sort of game that just gets better and better as it goes on, with each section somehow an improvement on the last. It all builds and builds towards a climax that is breathtaking, exhilarating, revolting, extraordinary and more, and alone represents the best 15 minutes of any game in 2024.

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Amazon,  PlayStation Store, Steam

The sleepy, empty village of Yaughton deep within the Shropshire countryside has a secret to tell, but can you figure out what it is? And most importantly, what happened to the residents of the village?

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is one of the most visually stunning indie games we’ve come across, providing an accurate depiction of a typical sleepy English village in all its glory. Everything, from the sounds of leaves rustling in the wind to the creaky gates opening, help the player believe that they’re really in Yaughton. As you wander through the empty lanes and houses, you’ll discover pieces of a sprawling puzzle presented as monologues from residents of the village. Beautifully scripted and intriguing, the monologues enable a strong emotional connection with each of the characters and their personal issues. When paired with the haunting originally-written soundtrack, the last words of the residents can leave a lasting effect.

Every monologue is related, but with no real UI or a way to recap what has been said, it’s up to you to put it all together and work out what really happened. The non-linear design of the game means that you can play it more than once, and hopefully come across parts of the story that you initially missed to give you a better understanding of what happened. Winner of a BAFTA Game award, very few games are more deserving of a place in this chart.

Firewatch

PlayStation Store, Xbox Store,  Steam, GOG

If you go into the woods today, you’re sure to find a compelling murder mystery, great characterisation, and stunningly rendered sunsets. That’s how the rhyme goes, right?

Anyway, the point is that Firewatch is pretty great. It belongs to that nebulous ‘walking sim’ genre, which is basically code for ‘you walk around and explore and let the plot gradually unfold’. That plot sees you step into the shoes of Henry, a volunteer in a U.S. national park tasked with watching out for fires during a hot summer. You’re in radio contact with Delilah, the volunteer in the next tower over, but that’s about it, and otherwise you’re simply left to explore and gradually uncover evidence that there may be something more sinister going on.

The gameplay itself is pretty simple first-person exploration, and the focus is really on the ambiguous narrative and your slowly unfolding relationship with Delilah. Firewatch gives you just enough dialogue options to make sure you can have your say, without ever compromising Henry’s base characterisation, and by the end of the four-hour story you’re almost certain to feel pretty heavily invested.

It also just so happens to be one of the most beautiful games of 2024 – which is all the more impressive coming from a small indie studio.

FTL: Faster Than Light

Subset Games, Steam, GOG, App Store

If anyone ever tells you that there’s never been a truly great Star Trek game, point them towards FTL. Sure, you may not get to control Captain Kirk or face off against the Klingons, but this is Star Trek in all but name.

You’re in charge of the crew of a spaceship, tasked with directing them to man the various weapons, shields, and engines or repel alien boarders. You’ve also got to worry about diverting limited power resources to the various systems, putting out fires, repairing damage, and targeting specific sections of enemy ships. Don’t worry if that all sounds like too much to keep on top of – FTL lets you pause at will to issue commands and plan your next move.

It’s not all lasers and explosions though. Between encounters you have to explore the galaxy, pushing your luck in mini procedurally generated encounters that could reward you with resources, upgrades, or crew – or could throw you into another risky fight.

It all seems simple enough, but there are hidden depths here, not to mention devilish difficulty and a dangerously compulsive ‘just one more playthrough’ loop. Prepare to sink a lot of hours into this one.

Aaero

PlayStation Store, Xbox Store,  Steam

It’s a little hard to describe Aaero, but here goes: it’s a twin-stick-dubstep-rhythm-shooter. Make sense? Probably not.

First things first, it’s a rhythm game, along the lines of Guitar Hero or cult classic Rez. You control a spaceship travelling down a cylindrical path. A track worms its way down the level around the edges of the cylinder, shifting in time with the beat, and you have to use the left control stick to keep your ship in the right spot. 

At the same time though, you’re under attack from some robotic alien enemies, and have to use the right stick to lock on to up to eight at a time, firing the right trigger to blast at them – all while you’re still trying to keep your ship following the beat. 

The 15 levels are each paired to a different song, all squarely at the dubsteppier end of electronic music, and there are three difficulty levels to master, along with a more relaxed ‘Chill out’ mode. Throw in monumental boss battles (also in time to the beat) and secrets dotted around the levels, and you have one of the most compulsive games of 2023. 

Even if you don’t like dubstep, Aaero will prove pretty hard to resist. Get past the initially steep learning curve, and you’ll find the best rhythm game in years.

Papers, Please

Steam, GOG

We’re willing to bet you’ve never played a game quite like Papers, Please. It takes a fictional version of a war-torn Eastern Europe for its setting, but instead of casting you as a soldier or a spy, you’re something much more humble: an immigration officer.

Stationed in your border control outpost, your job is to apply the increasingly byzantine rules handed down to you each morning, detailing which passports, visas, and permits people need to enter the country, while diligently inspecting each for evidence of fakery. Let in the people you should, and you’re rewarded with the wages you need to buy food, medicine, and heating for your family. Get the rules wrong, and your pay packet takes a hit.

So what’s the wrinkle? Well, as anyone watching American politics should know, morality and immigration policies occasionally collide. Will you separate a husband and wife because one of their visas has expired? Turn down a desperate refugee seeking asylum? Let in a man who you know plans to exploit vulnerable women? Doing the right thing might cost you your life – or your family’s – how far will you go?

Frostpunk

Amazon, Steam, GOG, Humble

Papers, Please not depressing enough for you? Try Frostpunk, a downright miserable city sim from the developers of the rather brilliant (and also incredibly dark) This War of Mine.

You’re in charge of building what may well be the last city on earth, huddled around a coal generator in the frozen north after a new ice age has swept across the planet. That means that in addition to the usual city sim problems like managing construction resources and food, you’ve also got to worry about the encroaching cold, which starts off below freezing and only gets colder from there.

You’ve also got to track your city’s levels of both hope and discontent to avoid a full-scale crisis. To help you with that, each day you’re able to pass a new law, which range from innocuous things like legalising pubs, to pragmatic steps like authorising amputations, to the downright authoritarian – opening propaganda centres or forcing children to work down the mines.

There’s a thin plot that you can uncover by sending scouts out into the frozen wasteland, but really this is just a story of survival, challenging how far you’re willing to go – and what you’re willing to give up – to keep humanity alive.

Superhot

Amazon, Xbox Store,  Steam,  GOG

You’d be forgiven for thinking that first-person shooters haven’t seen much in the way of major innovation in recent years, mostly focusing on getting bigger, louder, and shinier. Luckily, it turns out there was still space to do a major shakeup of the FPS – you just had to break it first.

On the surface, Superhot might look like just about any shooter. You run around, find guns and other weapons, and take on ever-increasing numbers of enemies – admittedly in a novel, minimalist, wireframe artstyle. So what makes Superhot different? It’s all about time. Namely, if you’re not moving, neither is it.

The game world stands still (well, almost – it slows to a crawl) whenever you stop, giving you time to catch your breath and plan your next move. You can see bullet trails in the air and eye up potential weapons and opportunities, making this about the closest you’re going to get to feeling like Neo in The Matrix. And if you’re not obsessively muttering “SUPER. HOT.” to yourself under your breath by the end of the game, you’re doing it wrong.

Her Story

Steam, GOG, Play Store, App Store

Cast your mind back to the early ‘90s and you’ll find a strange world where videogame cut scenes ignored their own engines and sprites in favour of ‘full motion video’, filming their own footage, traditionally complete with hammy actors and dodgy effects.

Fast-forward to 2024 and the FMV genre enjoyed a brief, spirited revival in the form of Her Story, which not only featured FMV footage but actually built the whole game out of it.

Load the game up and you find yourself facing a virtual computer desktop, browsing a collection of police interview footage related to a homicide. The videos aren’t available in full though, or arranged chronologically – instead you can only search via keyword to access individual brief clips, piecing together out-of-order hints about what happened and who is really responsible.

The gameplay itself is minimal – you just watch the videos and try to pick the best keywords to search for the most vital footage, but unpicking the story’s twists and turns and scouring each clip for clues is undeniably compelling. Fair warning though – the game leaves a lot open to interpretation, so if you’re hoping for a neat, tidy resolution, you might be disappointed.

Ark: Survival Evolved

Amazon,  PlayStation Store, Xbox Store,  Steam

If, like most of us, you love the idea of Jurassic Park and roaming around forests with dinosaurs then look no further than Ark: Survival Evolved, an open world game available for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

So, what do you do? Like with many online open world games, there’s not much of a narrative – you just have to try and survive the environment and all its inhabitants. In this case, that’s around 123 different dinosaurs on land, water and in the air, along with other online players that can join your tribe and help you thrive, or can make your life in Ark a misery. Oh, and you’ll have to keep an eye on your water and food levels too, or you’ll die of thirst and starvation. It’s brutal in the Ark.

The coolest part of Ark: Survival Evolved? You can not only tame the dinosaurs that you come across on your travels, but you can ride them. That’s right, saddle up and ride a T-Rex or soar through the skies on the back of an Argentavis. Coolest open-world dinosaur game ever.

The Sexy Brutale

Amazon, PlayStation Store,  Xbox Store,  Steam, GOG

In the grand old vein of Twin Peaks and Lost, The Sexy Brutale is all about the weird. From the moment you wake up, mask stuck to your face, greeted by a vaguely demonic looking woman in red, things are, well, off kilter. And it never really lets up. 

You’re in the midst of a masked ball. Except the staff are killing the guests. And not just through nice traditional means like guns (though they have those too) – they opt for more theatrical methods, like death by psychic demon fish.

Sadly, as with Twin Peaks and Lost, The Sexy Brutale nails the atmosphere but can’t quite stick the ending – the story falls apart a bit. But it’s enough fun along the way to be worth the trip.

Rust

Steam

Rust, another online open world survival game, is one of the most popular open world games on Steam at the moment. The only aim? To survive. You’re dropped in a rather bleak environment with the aim of surviving by scavenging, hunting and building.

There’s not much in the way of storyline or NPCs, meaning that you’ll mainly be up against other online players (and really annoying dogs that want to eat you), making things much more interesting. Team up as a squad or go solo, it’s up to you. But, if you get caught, you’re dead and left with nothing.

Rust depends a lot on the community playing it, and while there are trolls, the community is friendly and, in some experiences, even indulge in a little bit of roleplay. We’ve been told of players who have been held up and robbed at gunpoint by other players, while others have been handcuffed and kidnapped, only to be imprisoned until the captors let them go.

None of this was scripted, it just happened – and it’s little instances like that, that make Rust worth playing. You never quite know what you’ll find.

Aporia: Beyond the Valley

Steam, Green Man Gaming

How many games have you played that manage to get by without a single word?

Aporia: Beyond the Valley is a first-person puzzle game (think Myst) that tasks the player with exploring the seemingly lifeless ruins of Ez’rat Qin, piecing together what happened to the civilisation that seemingly collapsed.

All of the storytelling is either environmental or through a series of mute animations, but if you pay attention there’s enough to figure out just what happened here, and that wordless narrative is one of Aporia’s greatest strengths.

The puzzles are variable, with a few that are dead-simple and a handful that are more satisfying chin-scratchers, most notably a giant one involving redirecting the flow of water around a huge square.

The soundtrack is eerie and beautiful, and the world is at times jaw-dropping, though at launch it’s all let down a bit by some disappointing bugs – we didn’t encounter anything game-breaking, but textures don’t tend to load smoothly, ladders and glitchy and fiddly, and other small gripes pop up every now and then.

Aporia isn’t quite polished then, but there’s enough of a vision here to make it well worth devoting a few hours to ambling around Ez’rat Qin to see what you can find.

Astroneer

Xbox Store,  Steam

Astroneer is, essentially, everything we wanted No Man’s Sky to be but wasn’t: open world (or should that be open solar system?) exploration with friends. While the game is still in pre-alpha and is fairly basic in terms of what it offers at present, what it does feature is promising.

The planets are widely varied in terms of not only resources but flora (sadly, not fauna just yet) and are dotted with crashed ships, caverns and other secrets ready for exploring. The planets provide stunning vistas, and we really like the low-poly art style.

In terms of gameplay, it’s a third-person exploration game where you’re in the boots of an Astroneer on an alien planet. Upon arrival, you have only your shuttle to provide life, but through discovering new technologies and harvesting resources, you’ll be building vehicles, trade bays and even spaceships to other planets before you know it.

We really like the terrain editing tool in Astroneer, providing players with an intuitive way to re-shape the environment to get across steep drops and dig down into the underground tunnels with ease.

Friends can easily join a single-player game via Steam and help explore and build, although none of the discoveries or materials found will transfer to their own saves – it’s all for the host. We imagine this process will be improved as development continues and new features are added. If you were disappointed with No Man’s Sky in 2024, give Astroneer a go.

Here Are The 10 Best Classic Movies On Netflix

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Netflix is mostly focused on offering its subscribers new and original content. However, there are also lots of classic movies on Netflix. From dramas from the 1950s to the best movies of the 1970s, 1980s, and even 1990s, there’s plenty of critically-acclaimed films on Netflix. Let’s take a look at the best ones. You can sign up for the service  at the link below:

Netflix

Netflix is still the leading premium streaming service, with over 200 million worldwide subscribers. It offers thousands of movies and TV shows to binge watch, including its always growing list of original films and series, including Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more.

See price at Netflix

The best classic movies on Netflix

Editor’s note: We will regularly update this list of the best classic movies on Netflix.

The Guns of Navarone

My Fair Lady

Apocalypse Now Redux

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Also read: The 10 best movies on Netflix you can stream right now

However, this isn’t a simple retelling of King Arthur’s journey to find the Holy Grail. From the projectionist accidentally putting the wrong film in the projector at the beginning of the movie, to Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot, Monty Python and the Holy Grail messes with your expectations from the very beginning and never lets up. It’s a lock for one of the best classic movies on Netflix.

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

Warner Bros

Director Ridley Scott went back and reedited his classic 1982 sci-fi drama for this edition of the film. It is still one of the best sci-fi movies of all time, with Harrison Ford playing a cop who’s been recruited to terminate a group of rogue androids in the near future of Los Angeles. It’s definitely one of the best classic movies on Netflix, and one of the best 80s movies of all time.

Full Metal Jacket

Warner Bros

Stanley Kubrick brought his considerable directing talents to tell this unique tale set during the Vietnam War. The first half shows soldiers training to go to war, with one of the most unexpected endings of all time. The second half shows the US going to war in mostly urban areas, which gives the film a different look compared to other Vietnam War movies. It’s one of the best classic movies on Netflix you can watch.

Bonnie and Clyde

Warner Bros

This 1967 drama made stars of Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as they portrayed the real-life 1930s bank robbers Bonnie Parker and  Clyde Barrow. This film went much further in violent content compared to other movies at the time and definitely is not for kids.

Stand by Me 

War

This coming-of-age film, based on Steven King’s short story The Body, finds four friends in Maine who go on a journey to see a dead body. However, the trip turns into much more than just getting a cheap thrill for these boys.

White Christmas

Paramount

Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye play two former WWII soldiers in this 1954 musical, who become successful music producers. They tag along with two singers, played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen to a holiday inn in Vermont, only to discover it’s owned by Crosby and Kaye’s former military commander.

The inn is in danger of shutting down, due to a lack of snow and guests. The foursome try their best to stage a musical at the inn to save it. The storyline doesn’t matter much; what matters are the Irving Berlin songs featured in White Christmas and sung by the cast, including the title tune (which actually debuted in an earlier movie, Holiday Inn).

The Exorcist

Warner Bros

This 1973 horror movie reportedly caused many audience members to get sick while watching it in theaters. Two priests try to get rid of a demon that’s taken control of a 12 year old girl. This movie contains some of the most iconic horror film sequences in history. 

Classic movies on Netflix – honorable mentions

Here are a few more classic movies on Netflix that didn’t make our top 10 list:

Silverado  – A group of cowboys clash with the leaders of a corrupt Wild West town in this classic Wester film.

She’s Gotta Have It – Spike Lee made his feature directing and writing debut with this black-and-white 1986 comedy.

Taxi Driver – Robert De Niro plays the psychotic taxi driver Travis Bickle in this classic film from director Martin Scorsese.

Mobile Suit Gundam – This 1981 Japanese anime movie is the start of the long-running Gundam sci-fi franchise.

Annie – This 1982 adaptation of the hit musical is fun for the whole family.

These are our picks for the best classic movies on Netflix. We’ll update this post with new titles once they hit the streaming service.

Here Are The 7 Best Live Streaming Tv Services

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

In the era of streaming TV, services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus have become popular ways for people to “cut the cord.” However, those services offer movies and TV shows (mostly) on demand. There is still an audience that wants to watch live television, particularly for sports, news, and other major live events. For those users, live streaming TV services are the way to go.

Here are the best live streaming services that are currently available. As you can see, they all have very different lineups of channels, prices, and features.

Best live streaming TV services

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best live streaming TV services regularly as new ones launch.

Comparing the services

Sling TV has two main plans to choose from, and each costs just $35 a month.

It also offers lots of add-ons for extra channels, along with free cloud DVR.

The Sling Blue plan has over 50 cable TV channels for live streaming TV, which includes local Fox and NBC channels in select markets. It costs $35 a month. Sling Orange has over 30 different channels, including three ESPN sports cable channels. It also costs $35 a month. If you get both Sling Blue and Sling Orange plans, you pay $50 a month.

There are also extra plans that you can add to Sling Blue and Orange plans. The Sling Sports Extras plans cost $10 a month and add a number of sports cable channels to Blue and Orange. There are also Comedy, Kids, News, Lifestyle, and other plans you can add for $5 a month each. In addition, there are tons of other ala cart channels you can add to the plans, including most of the major pay cable movie channels (with the exception of HBO).

Sling TV includes 10 hours of free Cloud DVR storage which can be expanded to 50 hours for an extra $5 a month. There are also tons of free live tv streaming movies and TV shows available on-demand, and even more than you can rent online.

Why you should buy

Lots of channels available for Sling Blue

Tons of choices for add-on channels

Free content on demand

Why you should pass

Only 10 hours of Cloud DVR for free

No HBO option

No local CBS or ABC stations

Only one profile

Hulu has lots of on-demand current movies and shows with a solid amount of live TV channels and most local stations.

Its Cloud DVR features have 50 hours of space at no extra charge.

Why you should buy

Tons of live TV channels

Lots of current movies and shows on demand

Generous amount of free cloud DVR

Includes Disney Plus and Hulu

Why you should pass

It’s on the high side of price ranges

YouTube TV has over 85 channels for the price of $65 a month.

It also has a 14-day free trial and unlimited DVR storage.

Why you should buy

Tons of live TV channels for a reasonable price tag

Free 14-day trial

Unlimited DVR storage

Why you should pass

You can’t keep your DVR recordings forever

4K streams require an extra fee

DirecTV Stream offers free access to the Max streaming service with its Premier plans.

It also supports up to 20 devices on one account and you can get unlimited DVR storage.

Why you should buy

Free HBO/Max on its Premier plan

Unlimited cloud storage with an extra fee

Stream up to 20 devices at home

Regional sports channels included with most plans

Why you should pass

The basic Plus plan has a high price for what you are getting

Some local channels in some markets are not included

Fubo TV is made for the major sports TV fan although it also has lots of other channels to choose from.

It also has a 7-day free trial and up to 1,000 hours of cloud DVR storage.

Fubo TV started out as a live streaming TV sports service only. However, it has since evolved into a more mainstream streaming live TV service. Its Starter package costs $65 a month and has over 100 channels, including many local and international sports channels. It also includes 30 hours of cloud DVR storage and support for up to two streams at one time. The Pro plan costs $70 a month, and boosts the cloud DVR space to 500 hours, plus three streams at once, with unlimited streams while at home. For $80 a month, you can access the Elite plan, with over 150 channels, along with up to 1,000 hours of DVR storage. There are also lots of other channel lineups that you can add for additional fees.

Just recently, Fubo TV added the popular ESPN channels, which makes it even better for live sports viewing. Normally it has a 7-day free trial but as of this writing you can get two weeks to try it for free if you are a new subscriber.

Why you should buy

Great service for sports fans

Lots of channels for the money

Up to 1,000 hours of cloud DVR storage

Why you should pass

Not as many platforms supported compared to others

Not all local channels available in some markets

Philo TV has 65 channels for the low price of $25 a month.

It also has a 7-day free trial, unlimited DVR storage, and up to 10 profiles per account.

Philo TV is the definition of a bare-bones live streaming TV service. For just $25 a month, you get 61 live cable TV channels. You also get a seven-day free trial and a whopping 10 profiles per account. You can also stream on up to three devices at once. There’s also unlimited cloud DVR storage, although your recording will disappear after 30 days. Recently, the service added access to two movie channels, Epix and Starz. Both are available as add-on channels to Philo TV’s service.

Platforms for the service include Android, iOS, Android TV, Roku sticks, boxes, and TVs, and Amazon Fire TV sticks and TVs. It’s also available for the Apple TV box, Windows and Mac PCs.

Why you should buy

Lots of channels for one low price

Up to 10 profiles per account

Unlimited cloud DVR storage

Why you should pass

DVR recordings disappear after 30 days

No local channels

No live sports

Frndly TV – Lowest price for a live TV service

Frndly

What makes it “the best”

Frndly TV is a highly curated live streaming TV service made for family-friendly viewing.

Plans begin at just $7 a month.

This is a very unusual live streaming TV service. Frndly TV is made specifically for family-friendly television watching. It includes channels like the many Hallmark cable TV outlets, along with UpTV and other channels that don’t offer more adult content. The basic plan costs just $6.99 a month for 37 channels, with a feature that automatically records shows up to 72 hours in the past. You can get unlimited DVR storage for 3 months for the $8.99 a month Classic plan. There’s also a $10.99 a month Premium plan that boosts the storage time to 9 months.

Why you should buy

Ultra-cheap

Unlimited cloud DVR storage for Classic and Premium plans

Why you should pass

Limited channel selection

HD resolution only on the Classic and Premium plans

Only one stream at a time on the basic plan.

Xbox One: Here’S Where To Start

Xbox One: Here’s where to start

So you’ve just gotten an Xbox One as a gift this holiday season: there are a few things you’ll want to do before you star going hog-wild with it. The first – of course – is bringing in the Day 1 Update. After that, you’ll have to decide what you’ll be wanting to do with your machine from the get-go: download the entertainment apps, download the free game demos, or jump right in on a game you also happen to have gotten with the machine.

The first wave of Xbox One games include beastly third-person fighting games like Ryse: Son of Rome and Dead Rising 3, setting you up against an army of the living or an army of the undead. If you’ve not gotten one of these right off the bat, there’s a fully entertaining Dead Rising 3 demo you can download through the games store for free. Have a peek at our quick gameplay demo of this monster here:

For those of you wishing to see the full extent of the abilities of your Kinect, you’ll want to start in a relatively quiet room by saying “Xbox select”. You could also head to the handy Xbox One Gesture and Voice Commands cheat sheets for easy guidance through the whole collection. If your Xbox can’t hear you for whatever reason, you’ll want to head to Settings – Kinect – Kinect doesn’t hear me.

Extending your abilities with the Kinect camera beyond the user interface will require you (for the moment, until more games make use), to download Zoo Tycoon. In our demonstration of the game you’ll not see a whole lot of Kinect usage, but you’ll want to try that following: feed an animal, then head to the monkeys and make faces at them. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Finally for a full-on utilization of the Xbox One’s ability to work with in-game purchases, you’ll find Killer Instinct. This game is totally exclusive to the Xbox One and makes a great case for purchasing your games digitally. The basic game is available for free – you’ll be able to play with Jago in a couple of color combinations – and you can play the full gamut from the start – until you’re addicted and can’t stand but to dive in with more.

The only downside of apps like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu Plus is the cash you’ll have to drop to watch through Xbox. You can redeem a 1 month free trial right out the gate, but after that you’ll be paying either $9.99 USD per month or $59.99 USD for a full 12 months. Up to you, but you’ll likely be giving in one way or another before too long – obey!

For those of you having a peek at this guide before you decide to purchase the Xbox One, feel free to have a peek at SlashGear’s full Xbox One Review. It’s so very inclusive you’ll want to tear your hair out before you’re done!

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