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Monitor vs TV for Computer (2021): Which One is the Better Choice?

When it comes to choosing a display for your computer, you have the option of either buying a PC monitor or a TV set. A PC monitor like the Acer Predator XB271HU and a TV such as the TCL 50S425 can both be used as your screen but which one is more suited for you?

Before deciding on which one to get, you should know that while they do have a lot in common, there are still major differences between them. Don’t worry, we’ll help fill you in on all the details.

Monitor vs TV for Computer Comparison Chart

MonitorTV
 Acer Predator XB271HU bmiprz 27' WQHD (2560x1440) NVIDIA G-SYNC IPS Monitor, (Display Port & HDMI...TCL 50S425 50 Inch 4K Smart LED Roku TV (2019)
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
ModelsAOC G2590PX, LG 34GN850-B, Acer Predator XB271HU (image)Samsung 65-inch Class Crystal 4K UHD, TCL 50S425 (image)
Screen Size15.6 – 43 inches24 – 88 inches
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080 Full High Definition (FHD)
1920 x 1200 Wide Ultra Extended Graphics Array (WUXGA)
2560 x 1440 Quad High Definition (QHD)
3440 x 1440 Wide Quad High Definition (WQHD)
3840 x 2160 4K or Ultra High Definition (UHD)
1920 x 1080 Full High Definition (FHD)
3840 x 2160 4K or Ultra High Definition (UHD)
Aspect RatioWidescreen 16:9, 16:10, Ultrawide 21:9Widescreen 16:9
Refresh Rate60Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz, 240Hz60Hz, 120Hz
Input Lag~10ms20ms and above
Response Time1-10ms16ms and above

Screen Size and Resolution

Monitors are available in 16:9, 16:10 and 21:9 aspect ratios and are more varied when it comes to screen resolution. TVs have larger screens.

Monitors come in various aspect ratios such as the ultrawide LG 34GN850-B (left) while TVs like the TCL 50S425 (right) are limited to 16:9.

When buying a new monitor or TV, the first consideration is usually the screen size. The size of the screen will mostly depend on your viewing distance and of course, the size of your desk/workspace. PC monitor sizes range from 15.6 to 43 inches while TVs range from 24 up to 88 inches.

Equally as important as the screen size is the screen resolution. TVs are limited in this area as they are only available in FHD (1080p), 4K UHD (2160p) and 8k (7680×4320). PC monitors, on the other hand, have a bit more options to choose from. Aside from FHD, 4k and 8k, they also come in QHD (2560x1440p) for the 16:9 models.

Monitors also come in different aspect ratios aside from the standard widescreen 16:9. There are 16:10 models and ultrawide 21:9 models like the LG 34GN850-B. These aspect ratios provide more screen real estate and this should definitely be a consideration if you need that extra space.

Refresh Rate and Adaptive Sync

Monitors have higher refresh rates than TVs and for serious gamers, this should be a priority.

Adaptive sync technology and higher refresh rate greatly improve gaming.

Refresh rate is the number of times per second that your display updates the image on the screen. This is important if you plan on gaming on your computer as it prevents screen tearing, jerky movements and stuttering.

It is also noticeable even with basic computer tasks such as surfing, word processing and more. Actions such as scrolling, mouse movement and dragging windows is smoother with a higher refresh rate display.

As for adaptive sync or variable refresh rate, gamers are the ones that will benefit most from this. It basically allows for the smoothest experience when gaming as the display’s refresh rate matches the frame rate of your GPU, thus, completely eliminating stuttering and tearing.

PC monitors have the advantage in this area as there are simply more options to choose from. Monitors come in 60Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz and 240Hz models. Gaming monitors also come with either AMD Freesync or NVIDIA G-Sync adaptive sync technologies.

As for TVs, most are limited to 60Hz. There are 120Hz models as well but most of them are “fake” 120Hz and use an effect called “motion smoothing.” Some newer TV models also come with AMD Freesync but not NVIDIA G-Sync.

Input Lag

Input lag is not noticeable for basic computer tasks but for gaming, it is very important.

Input lag is more prevalent in TVs than monitors.

Input lag is the time it takes for your input to show on the screen. For example, when you type something, you want to see it on the screen immediately. Another example is when playing games using a controller, if you are trying to move your character, you want your character to move without any delay.

Input lag is usually not an issue and not noticeable with basic computer tasks so a PC monitor or a TV is perfectly fine.

However, if your computer is primarily for playing games, then input lag is a big deal as it can hinder you from enjoying your games or playing competitively. In this case, you want something that has minimal input lag such as the AOC G2590PX.

TVs usually have a problem with input lag when it comes to gaming because the image that you see on the screen goes through a lot of post-processing. Most TVs, however, come with a “Game” or “Gaming Mode” to bypass the processing and reduce the input lag. If you are going to buy a TV for playing games, make sure that it comes with a bypass mode.

Response Time

Monitors have faster response times than TVs but TVs compensate for it by having a “Game Mode”.

Response time is better in monitors but TVs can also perform well when bypass mode is on.

Response time is the time it takes your screen to change colors from white to black and vice versa. Screens with slower response times can be prone to ghosting, this is when there is a faint double image on the screen because it is not fast enough in shifting colors.

Most PC monitors have fast response times – under 10ms. TVs, however, have slower response times because the priority is image quality, so a lot of post-processing is performed. The bypass mode that we mentioned above can also lower the response time so make sure that if you are buying a TV for gaming, it has that mode.

Color Accuracy

Monitors are more accurate while TVs are more vibrant.

Monitors (left) produce more accurate colors while TVs (right) have a more saturated and vibrant image.

Color accuracy and image quality is very important if your computer will be used mainly for photo and video editing, as well as anything that requires accurate color reproduction. If this is the case, you should definitely get a PC monitor instead of a TV because monitors are made and calibrated to ensure that colors are as accurate as possible.

TVs, on the other hand, place more importance on beautiful images instead of accuracy, so using them for photo or video editing purposes is not recommended.

Verdict

Choosing to buy either a monitor or a TV for your computer will largely depend on how you will be using your PC.

If you are a serious gamer that wants to have the best experience possible, you should definitely go for a monitor such as the Acer Predator XB271HU because it has minimal input lag, fast response time and a high refresh rate. You also have an option to choose from standard 16:9, 16:10 and ultrawide 21:9 to further suit your needs.

If you are a professional or if you are going to use your computer for work doing everyday computer tasks such as word processing, surfing or writing e-mails, we still recommend a monitor. A TV screen is not optimal for long time viewing, especially at close distances when compared to a monitor.

We recommend buying a TV such as the TCL 50S425 for computer use when your PC’s main purpose is to be an entertainment/media hub or an HTPC or if you just want a bigger screen to watch movies and play games.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Is a monitor or TV better for a computer?

It will depend on how you will be using your computer. Generally, a monitor is better because smaller screens have more pixels per inch. This results in a better image quality and it will be easier on your eyes.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is it better to play console games on a monitor or TV?

It depends on what console you are playing on. If you have an Xbox One, then playing on a monitor is better because it supports higher refresh rates. For other consoles, you can play on either a monitor or a TV.

๐Ÿ“Œ Can I use a 4k TV as a computer monitor?

Yes, you absolutely can. In fact, a lot of professionals use 4k TVs as their monitor due to the larger screen and high resolution. A good 4k monitor is the Samsung 65-inch Class Crystal 4K UHD.

๐Ÿ“Œ Why are computer monitors more expensive than TVs?

Monitors are more expensive because they are expected to show an image how it is meant to be seen. Meaning, no post-processing effects, just the raw image.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.