7 Things to Consider Before Using Your TV as a Monitor

Your living room is probably the most comfortable place in your house. It has a big, comfy couch and a giant TV perfect for binge-watching your favorite shows.

But what if you could use that TV as your computer monitor? You’d be able to work from the comfort of your couch and have a giant screen to work on.

If you’re considering using your TV as a PC monitor, there are a few things to remember. We’ll list seven considerations before you use your TV as a PC monitor. By the end, you’ll know whether using your TV as a PC monitor is right for you.

1. Size

The size difference between a regular computer monitor and a TV is perhaps why you’re considering replacing your monitor with your TV. But, as tempting as it may feel to look at everything on the bigger screen, the gigantic size difference can be quite a headache.

For instance, if you want to change the viewing position of your usual PC monitor, you can just tilt or turn it on your desk. The same process can be pretty difficult (and mostly not possible) if you want to use your TV as a monitor on your desk. If you’ve mounted your TV on the wall and are going to use it from a distance, then there may not be a need to change the viewing angle.

But, again, if you’re going to place it on your desk, things can become impractical. A colossal TV will probably have such a huge footprint that you won’t have enough space on your table for work. But if you’re still planning to push through with it, consider getting a VESA mount to leave some room on your desk. Check out our VESA mounting guide to ensure you get the right arm for your TV.

On top of that, if you manage to use your TV on the desk, you will probably be sitting too close to it, which will strain your eyes too. This is because, with a huge TV, you will have to move your eyes side-to-side a lot to look at different areas of the screen.

2. Resolution

Resolution is the total number of pixels on your display. A 1080p (1920×1080) display has a little over 2 million pixels. You might wonder why the resolution is an issue when both your TV and monitor have 1080p displays. Well, that’s because your TV displays those 2 million pixels through a 55-inch panel, while your monitor can display the same amount of pixels through a 27-inch panel.

Since the smaller-sized monitor has the same number of pixels as your TV, every inch of your regular PC monitor packs significantly more pixels. This term is called Pixel Per Inch (PPI), and the higher the PPI, the sharper the image will be.

A low PPI display might not be an issue if your TV is hung on the wall and you’re looking at it from a distance. However, if you put your TV on the desk, you will see an inferior image quality compared to the monitor. In short, the TV wouldn’t make a great display for your PC.

3. Input Lag

As the name suggests, input lag is the time it takes to display any movement on the screen, which you’ve registered using a mouse or keyboard. When you physically move your mouse, the time it takes to move for the cursor on your screen to follow your mouse movement is input lag.

Most TVs have 20 to 30 milliseconds of input lag, whereas most regular PC monitors usually have less than 5 milliseconds. If your TV is equipped with a gaming mode, you can expect the input lag to be as low as 8 milliseconds, but most gaming monitors have an even lower input lag of 1 to 2 milliseconds. That’s why it’s one of the things you should look at if you’re buying a gaming monitor.

While 30 milliseconds might seem minute, if you plan to use your TV monitor for gaming, you need the input lag to be as low as possible. So, using your TV as a monitor might not be a good option if you like gaming.

4. Response Time

Response time refers to the time it takes for each pixel on the panel to change its colors. Since TV screens are made for movies and videos, they prioritize better image quality with higher contrast and richer colors. However, all this image processing leads to a higher response time.

Dedicated PC monitors are usually more inclined toward providing a sharper image and don’t need too much processing, resulting in a significantly lower response time.

On average, if a TV screen has a response time of about 15 milliseconds, its monitor counterpart will have a 5-millisecond response time. A higher response time can make it difficult to play competitive games, leading to motion blur and a visual phenomenon called “ghosting”.

5. Refresh Rate

The number of times the display panel updates within a second are called the refresh rate. A regular TV has a 60 Hertz refresh rate, meaning your display can be refreshed 60 times in one second.

On the other hand, high-end monitors commonly have a 120 Hertz refresh rate, with some models going as high as 240 Hertz. Hence, they make everything feel significantly smoother.

Refresh rate matters a lot in gaming, so when you play competitive games on your TV, you might feel a difference in smoothness compared to your monitor.

6. Color Compression

Chroma subsampling is a technique used to compress the size of an image. In most TVs, you won’t see any difference in image quality. However, if your TV has 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, you will notice that the text appears smudged when looked at closely.

Before using your TV as a monitor, make sure your TV can be switched to 4:4:4 chroma subsampling, or at the very least, to 4:2:2. This way, the inferior image quality will be negligible, and you can still read texts properly.

7. Color Accuracy

TVs tend to process images a lot which can cause a higher response time. While image processing makes movies and videos look good on screen, the colors appear inaccurate.

Consequently, if you plan to edit pictures and videos, the display must be as color accurate as possible. TVs are simply not that color accurate when compared to monitors.

Think Again Before Using Your TV as a Monitor

There are many differences between a TV and a monitor. Unless you have a TV with cutting-edge technology that contains all the bells and whistles of a high-end monitor, you should use your TV as a monitor for watching movies and videos.

For gaming, it’s always better to use a monitor as the image and video quality are more accurate. If you like having a bigger display for your computer, you can also build a multiple-display setup. It not only looks good but is also quite practical for multitasking.

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