Will your TV handle Xbox Series X games that run at 120 fps?

One of the tidbits revealed during the first Xbox 20/20 event today is that Dirt 5 supports 120 frames per second on Xbox Series X. Publisher Codemasters’ racing game is coming in October, but it supports Smart Delivery. So if you get it for Xbox One, you’ll get the Xbox Series X version at no additional cost.

And what does the Xbox Series X-optimized version of Dirt 5 get you? In an interview with the Xbox team, Codemasters confirmed that Dirt 5 supports the next-gen console’s high-framerate feature. This means you can drive around the rally racer at 4K and 120 frames per second.

High framerate is one of a number of key features for the next-gen consoles. And that makes sense. Racing games already have nearly photorealistic visuals. More graphical effects are not going to make much of a difference to the presentation of a Dirt 5. So this enables Codemasters to put that extra horsepower toward running the game faster.

But can your TV run Dirt 5 at 120fps?

OK, so the Xbox Series X can run Dirt 5 at up to 120fps, but that’s not going to matter if you don’t have the right display. High-refreshrate content is common on the PC, but consoles have primarily topped out at 60fps. Because of this it hasn’t matter that most TVs top out at 60Hz. But it is a problem for the next-gen consoles.

To actually see Dirt 5 running at 120fps, you’ll need a TV that runs at 120Hz or faster. That means the TV updates its frames 120 times every second. The good news here is that a lot of TVs already have this feature. The bad news is that even if you have an HFR panel, support is a lot more complicated than that.

The issue comes down to the audio/video interface running between your TV and the Xbox Series X. Let’s get into the wild world of HDMI 2.1.

To get the most out of your Xbox Series X, you’ll need a TV with HDMI 2.1

HDMI is an A/V standard that should make it easier to connect various consumer electronics. But not all HDMI ports are the same. Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox Series X supports HDMI 2.1. To ensure you squeeze the most frames at the highest resolution out of the next-gen console, you’ll need a TV that also supports HDMI 2.1.

And right now, chances are slim that you already own a TV with HDMI 2.1. If you bought a TV in the last year … well, even then you probably don’t have the necessary port.

HDMI 2.1 is the next-gen interface that supports a data bandwidth of up to 48Gbps. This enables you to run 12-bit HDR 4K video at up to 120Hz (although even some TVs that support HDMI don’t go all the way to 48Gbps — it’s a mess).

Do you have the 2020 Samsung Q800t, which is an awesome television for gaming? Or did you get an LG OLED over the last 12 months? If no, then you’re almost certainly going to need to upgrade.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll never get to experience high-refresh rate. If you have a TV with HDMI 2.0, you could still choose framerate over resolution. I do this with the PC I have connected to my HDMI 2.0b television. I run games at 1080p120 instead of 2160p60.

And if you find yourself having to pick between the two, I would go with framerate. That’s easier to notice when you’re 10 feet away from your display.

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