Uninformed consumers expect that every digital TV will provide a clearer and sharper picture compared to their analogue counterparts. This expectation has also extended to their favourite gaming console. While some high definition television brands and models will meet this expectation, others can disappoint gamers who are looking for that fantastic gaming experience.Manufacturers of High Definition Television (HDTV) sets provide elaborate specifications about their models as part of the advertising and promotion campaigns. However, most consumers don’t fully understand what these specifications really mean and why they are important in making their decision on which HDTV to buy for gaming purposes.The main thing to understand is that high definition TV was designed for broadcast television viewing and not for gaming consoles. Gaming console makers are constantly adapting or redesigning their gaming consoles to match the standards set down for high definition digital broadcasting and displays. Some of the higher priced HDTV brands offer direct gaming console modes that are matched for popular gaming consoles.This article provides a brief education on the 5 key factors to consider when looking for a HDTV for playing video games. This will assist you to make an informed decision without the confusion that surrounds gaming with the Sony Play Station 3 (PS3), Microsoft XBox 360, or the Nintendo Wii.1. Bigger HDTV Screen Sizes Are Better For GamingThe bigger the screen, the easier it will be to see the details in the graphics used in the games. Games appear to be more realistic with larger screens. If your HDTV screen is not large enough, then you may see a black strip at the top and bottom or sides of the picture to make the game fit within the screen. Consider HDTV screens that are greater than 24inches (60cm) in size.2. LCD Screens Are Better Than Plasma For GamingPlasma HDTV screens can suffer from “image burn-in” from constantly playing the same video games. Image burn-in occurs when static images are left displayed on a plasma screen for very long periods. This is the case with some video games that don’t have a changing backgrounds. Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) HDTV screens like those used for computer monitors, do not suffer from burn-in problems.3. Higher Scanning Resolutions Are Better For GamingMakers of HD TV use two different scanning mechanisms to produce a picture on a HDTV screen. One mechanism is an “interlaced raster scan” and the other is a “progressive scan”. A progressive scan will display all the horizontal lines that make up each picture frame in sequence. In comparison to an interlaced scan, all the odd horizontal lines are shown first and then alternately the even horizontal lines of the picture changing back to the odd lines in rapid succession.A standard definition TV (SDTV) uses 525 (US NTSC) or 625 (Europe PAL) horizontal lines and is also known as “480i resolution” for US NTSC and “576i resolution” for PAL where the “i” stands for interlaced raster scanning. Interlaced video produces an annoying flicker that blurs the detail of video pictures. The flicker can be reduced with special filtering called anti-aliasing but this tends to reduce the clarity of the picture. High definition TV is shown using 720i or even 1080i resolutions.Progressive scanning produces crisper and sharper pictures with no flickering compared to interlaced scanning for the same picture frame rate. High definition pictures are shown using either 720p, 1080p, 1440p or 2160p resolutions where the “p” stands for progressive scanning. HDTV with progressive scanning is usually more expensive than the lower resolution HDTV models. A typical LCD computer monitor resolution will start at 720p and may support higher resolutions.4. Higher Refresh Rates Are Better For GamingPicture frame refresh rate is a measure (in Hertz or Hz) of how many times per second each picture frame is refreshed on a video display. Generally, the higher the refresh rate, the faster the display can respond to changing pixel colours thus reducing, and in some cases eliminating, picture blurring and judder when watching fast moving action scenes such as live football.LCD screens that have a high response time (in milliseconds or ms) are often unsuitable for playing fast paced computer games. A response time of less than 15ms is considered to be sufficient for most video gaming given the human eye can not perceive changes faster than about 10ms. Brand name LCD HDTV manufacturers are producing models with 120Hz refresh rates and 4ms pixel response rates which is adequate for gaming consoles.5. HDTV With Game Mode Is Better For GamingMore recently, some HDTV makers have recognised that consumers also want to use their high definition televisions to play fast-action online and console games. This has lead to the development of a “games mode” to give you an instant reaction with the game controller. The principle behind the game mode is to optimize the reaction time and the picture quality of the TV to be closely matched with the higher resolution 1080p capable video game consoles such as the PS3 to give the gamer more realism.What You Need To Know About The Popular Gaming ConsolesThe Nintendo Wii only provides support for up to 480p resolution so you don’t need a HDTV for using this gaming console. The XBox 360 gaming console supports 720p and 1080i resolutions so it can be used with a HD TV. The PS3 supports 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p resolutions making it a versatile gaming console that can be used with a broader range of high definition TV display resolutions.RecommendationsWhen shopping for a HDTV for gaming consoles, look for at least a 24inch (60cm) LCD screen that supports 720p and 1080p, offer at least a 100Hz refresh rate and has a game mode. As with all technology, you basically get what you pay for. But given that high definition digital sets are continuing to come down in price, it is worth looking at HDTV models that can also support gaming consoles such as the PS3 and the XBox 360. Make sure you change the settings on both your HDTV set and your gaming console to support HD resolutions to experience the best these technologies have to offer.