Pros and Cons of Using a TV as a Computer Monitor – A Retro Gamers Perspective


How do you go about choosing the right monitor? Should you buy that freesync model from the computer store or use your spare TV? Is response time also an important factor?

When I watched movies and played computer games on a 20-inch monitor, I found it lacking. I tried to hook it up to old television sets, smart TVs, and so on, but to no avail.

In addition to explaining how to connect your monitor to your laptop, this post also discusses monitors vs TV when it comes to gaming.

Can You Use a TV as a Computer Monitor?

It is ok to connect a TV to a computer monitor, since it is a monitor.

However, three important things need to be remembered before setting up your TV as a Monitor:

  • If you would like to use a television as your computer monitor, then you should expect to pay more. This is due to the high pixel density of the televisions in comparison to their monitor counterparts.
  • A TV screen may have a different sharpness from a laptop or computer screen. IPS monitors produce sharper graphics and texts because of their high pixel density. We explained IPS technology here
  • There are different accessories needed for TVs as opposed to computers (IPS) or non-Thin-Film monitors (TN). The input/output ports on the TV should be determined before you proceed.

How to Use TV as a Computer Monitor

TVs may be used as monitors, provided your computer’s graphics card supports them. Here’s how:

1. Check compatibility – your TV must be compatible with the computer (also referred to as the graphics processing unit) in order for it to work. 

You ought to start by looking for HDMI ports on your TV and your GPU (most modern TVs have these). You may also use the HDMI-to-mini-HDMI cable or the male-to-male HDMI link to connect your TV to your monitor. 

2. Consider using an alternate cable – If HDMI is unavailable (but a DVI port is), you’d be better off purchasing a DVI-to-HDMI cable, which would act as an adapter for older TVs and PCs without HDMI ports.

Consider buying an adapter that will enable your TV to connect to your computer if it does not have an HDMI connection.

Should I Buy a Monitor or a TV for My Computer?

Due to the availability of options, it can be challenging to decide whether to purchase a computer monitor or a TV. The price range of a monitor can range from $400 to $1,000, but a TV unit can be found in any of those ranges. 

Therefore, price cannot be the only factor to take into account. 

Features to Consider Before Switching Your Monitor with a TV

There are several components that could affect your gaming or movie-watching experience before switching from your monitor to a TV. These include:  

Resolution and Pixel Density

Pixel density refers to the number of pixels per inch (PPI) and resolution refers to the dimensions of your screen in pixels. Both of these details are important if you are considering using a larger TV screen as a computer monitor.

Compared to a 40-inch television, a 27-inch monitor can have the same amount of resolution but has about 140ppi pixel density compared to only 40ppi on the TV. 

If that is the case, the display with lower pixel density will give images that are less clear than what you are used to with screens with higher pixel density.   

As a result, TVs usually have low pixel density since viewers typically watch them from a distance. However, a computer monitor usually has an increased pixel density since users usually sit closer to the screen. 

Input Lag

The input lag occurs when the mouse moves beyond the screen. This can occur when opening a folder, starting a program, double-clicking, and so on.

In general, you want a TV with an input lag of less than 20 milliseconds.

Having input lag is a big issue if you’re going to use the TV to stream sports or stream movies, but not if you’re going to play games.  

Color Compression

Since the TV compresses the images and texts, you should expect a reduction in image quality when using it as a monitor.

The blurriness and reduced picture quality will be more noticeable if the TV is placed in front of your desk (instead of high up the wall).

In most modern TVs, picture settings can be changed to 4:4:4 using chroma subsampling. If you’re still in the market for a TV, find one with subsampling. 

Response Time

Pixels on your screen change colors every time response time is reached. 

A computer monitor’s response time will be faster than a television’s, but if you buy an HDTV with a game mode setting, you won’t have this problem anymore. When you choose this setting, your TV’s response time will improve dramatically, but for a much higher price than the monitor.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate is the rate at which an image “refreshes” per second on a display. 

Often times, the refresh rate on a monitor can range from 60Hz to 120Hz, while on a TV it may only be 60Hz to 120Hz. 

You should know that the faster your screen s refresh rate, the more responsive it is to demanding tasks such as editing or gaming. In general, 120Hz is enough for most applications. 

HDTV features to keep in mind

These considerations are very useful if you are planning to replace your small computer monitor. Using an HDTV alone would cause eye strain or migraines.

You should only be concerned with these factors if you’re going to wall mount the TV. 

Why You Shouldn’t Use a TV as a PC Monitor

If you still haven’t figured out why a TV when used as a computer monitor is a bad idea, listen up to these reasons. 

Differences in Connections

Almost all TVs and monitors have HDMI input, which enables games consoles and computer monitors to display movies and TV shows. HDMI is an industry standard, so you’ll find it everywhere.

Some monitors do not have HDMI inputs. Some use DisplayPort or other connections. The difference in connections can make connecting your display challenging if done incorrectly. 

TVs Are Much Larger – You’ll Need To Move Your Head a Lot

It is not sensible to buy a 40-inch TV if your space is limited. On the other hand, it is optimal if you plan to set it up in your room. up a 50-inch TV as your monitor and the display is meant to be seen from across the room, then using a TV as monitor wouldn’t be an issue.

Make sure the resolution matches your set-up. For example, if you have a 1080p screen on the desk, it may look blurry close up, even if it produces quality images if hung from a wall across the room. 

Not only would blurry images strain your eyes, but you’d have to make a lot of head movements while watching, gaming, or editing. 

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