As Fast As Possible

Monitors usually have lower input lag, higher refresh rates, and a faster response time than TVs which make them a better choice for gaming. However, TVs are larger and more affordable which makes them great for watching movies and TV shows as well as console gaming.

Wondering if you should get a new TV or a new monitor?

Whether you are considering using a TV as a PC monitor (or vice versa) or you are just looking for a brand new screen, you should know all the differences between these two types of displays before making the final decision.

We’ll fill you in on everything you need to look out for when buying a new TV or monitor for both everyday use and gaming.

TV vs Monitor – Everyday Use

tv as a monitor for gaming

Screen Size

When buying a new TV most people prioritize the size of the screen. However, screen resolution and panel type, among other things, play a bigger role when it comes to the image quality.

Since more and more content is being available in 4K Ultra HD resolution, if you are buying a brand new TV nowadays, it should definitely support 4K.

Overall, for the same amount of money, you could either buy a 4K 43″ monitor or a 4K 50″-55″ TV.

Screen Resolution

While TVs are only available in Full HD and 4K UHD resolutions, monitors have an in-between option called QHD with 2560×1440 pixels. Moreover, there are ultra-wide monitors with 21:9 aspect ratio for a more immersive viewing experience.

The ratio of screen resolution/screen size is called pixel density which measures how many pixels per inch are there. Broadly, 1920×1080 resolution is fine for a 32-inch TV, but not for a monitor larger than 24″.

This is because low pixel density makes small items on-screen such as text appear smudgy and blurry if you’re looking at the screen from a close range. The chart below depicts ideal watching distance for a particular screen size/resolution.

best tv for monitor

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

If you’re buying a high-end 4K TV, it should also support HDR which provides you with a brighter and more vibrant image quality for the compatible content.

While HDR is widely supported for TVs in terms of both hardware and content, HDR monitors are just beginning to surface; what’s more, there’s not a lot of HDR content for PC and Windows’ HDR implementation is very buggy.

Features

In case you don’t watch regular, scheduled TV programme but rather stream or download your favorite TV shows and movies, you can just connect your TV to the PC and stream from there. Or, you could get a smart TV with built-in Internet access via ethernet or WiFi and stream via its applications.

TV vs Monitor – Gaming

using a tv as a monitor for gaming

After you’ve considered all of the above-mentioned points, there are additional things to keep in mind when looking for a display for gaming.

Input Lag

When it comes to console gaming, a TV can be a better choice since you are sitting further away from the screen, so the display can be bigger. However, you need to make sure that the TV has some sort of image post-processing bypass mode, usually simply called “Game Mode”.

This feature considerably decreases input lag which is a must if you want a smooth and responsive gameplay. We recommend that the TV has less than 32ms input lag; ideally, less than 16ms.

Response Time

Another important thing to keep in mind is the display’s response time speed and since TV manufacturers don’t put this spec on the paper like they do with monitors, you will have to do some research.

While an average IPS panel monitor has a response time speed of ~5ms, an IPS panel TV will have around 15ms which will result in more visible ghosting and trailing of the fast moving objects.

In short, if you’re looking for a TV for gaming, make sure it has low input lag (Game Mode feature) and it should preferably have an IPS panel as VA panels have a slower response time.

Refresh Rate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTY9uDD0x14

A gaming monitor can have a refresh rate up to 240Hz which provides you with the most responsive and fluid fast-paced gaming. TVs, on the other hand, are usually limited to 60Hz. Some TVs support 120Hz but only at 1080p.

Furthermore, some TVs offer features such as LG TruMotion120 which is supposed to convert 60 FPS (Frames Per Second) content into 120 FPS. However, these are fake frames and will more likely have a bad effect on the image and gameplay experience. You can read more about this frame interpolation technology here.

Overall, if you want a high refresh rate TV, make sure it’s ‘true 120Hz’ and not using motion interpolation, also known as the ‘soap opera effect’.

Adaptive-Sync

gaming monitors vs tv

Some gaming monitors offer variable refresh rate or adaptive-sync technology such as AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-SYNC.

This technology requires a compatible graphics card (AMD for FreeSync monitor, NVIDIA for G-SYNC) and in turn, provides you with a dynamic refresh rate which removes all screen tearing and stuttering.

Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X gaming consoles also support AMD FreeSync. Furthermore, Xbox One X and S also support 120Hz, unlike other consoles.

So, in this case, a FreeSync 120Hz+ gaming monitor is a perfect choice if you play both PC and console games. Also, keep in mind that some TVs will soon support AMD FreeSync as well.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a lot of differences between a TV and a monitor and the choice between the two mostly depends on what type of content you’ll be watching and what games you will be playing.

Writer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time on writing for DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.

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