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.
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.
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.
I’ve been using my OLED TV as a PC monitor for six months — here’s what happened
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(Image credit: Future)
You probably think the notion of using a 48-inch TV as a PC monitor sounds weird, right? I can’t blame you. Ignoring logic (and the grumblings of my depleted wallet), I nevertheless decided that using one of the best TVs to do my day job on sounded like a terrific idea.
The main reason I started using an OLED TV as a work display? Rewind six or so months, and I found myself less than fully satisfied with my Samsung Odyssey G9. It’s a brilliant monitor for productivity, no question — that monstrous 49-inch 32:9 screen is a joy to multitask one.
I just wasn’t a huge fan of its picture quality.
Despite its impressive Mini-LED panel, the G9’s black levels just couldn’t compete with the 77-inch LG C2 OLED TV hanging in my lounge. There was no getting around it: I needed more OLED in my life.
There was no getting around it: I needed more OLED in my life
My solution? Sell the Odyssey G9 at a hideous loss to buy a 48-inch version of the LG C2 OLED. Because yes, these really are the sorts of ludicrous thoughts that run through my brain on a daily basis.
One excellent Black Friday deal later, and I was the proud owner of yet another LG C2 — still hands-down one of the best OLED TVs you can buy today.
Six months later, I think it was the right decision… just.
Thanks to the rapid response times of that glorious 4K/120Hz OLED panel, the C2 is a pleasure to use on a daily basis; be it pulling off headshots in Doom Eternal or editing images in Photoshop. But it’s not been all plain sailing.
The biggest issue with using a 48-inch TV as a PC monitor, is simply that it’s not terribly practical. Unless you have a home office that’s the size of an aircraft hanger, space is always going to be an issue with such a beast of a screen.
Hitting the big time
(Image credit: Future)
As you can see above, it doesn’t help that the LG C2 isn’t the only display scrapping for space on my L-shaped desk. I also own the brilliant Alienware 34 QD-OLED — comfortably the best ultrawide monitor I’ve ever used. While I do love my large and in charge dual displays, it’s a setup to both be enjoyed and endured.
Most of the time, I write and edit on the Alienware, as its 21:9 screen is so well suited for productivity. Working around that aspect ratio can become challenging, though.
While I love ultrawide as a concept, occasionally a good ol’ 16:9 screen is needed to get the job done. Whether taking virtual snaps in Steam to capture the best PC games or using the Windows 11 Snipping Tool to take 16:9 screenshots, sometimes you need a traditional widescreen display to save the day.
PC games look astonishing on the LG C2 OLED
There are obviously far sexier implications to using a 48-inch 4K TV as a monitor. For one thing, PC games look astonishing on the LG C2 OLED. Sure, I love using my main TV to play the best PS5 games, but very few of those can run at a true 4K/60 fps.
Thanks to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 sitting inside my PC though, I can enjoy playing the latest and greatest AAA games on my LG C2 at 4K/120 fps. Think Resident Evil 4 is good on Xbox Series X? Shooting through those frantic zombie battles at double the refresh rate on a beefy rig (that’s attached to an amazing OLED display) is something else.
(Image credit: Future)
Outside of gaming, using a 48-inch TV as a monitor isn’t always such a success story.
The sheer size of the display means I regularly have to crank my neck to an uncomfortable degree while web browsing. Even with a deep desk, I’m also forced to sit stupidly close to its screen — something my optometrist probably isn’t doing cartwheels over.
So what have we established about using an OLED TV as a PC monitor? A: my neck now sounds like a cement mixer. B: I look like I’m auditioning for The Exorcist every time I swivel my head across this ludicrously large dual monitor setup. And C: my eyes will probably fall out over the next six months.
Mostly though, using my OLED TV as a giant work and gaming monitor has been great. While I do worry about the prospect of OLED burn-in every now and then, I still love using my LG C2 OLED across a dual monitor PC setup.
Is it practical? Hell no. Do I love it all the same? To quote a certain bald-headed, beer-swilling wrestler from the late ‘90s… “OH HELL YEAH!”
More From Tom’s Guide
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Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal.
TOP 5 Best TVs as a Monitor for PC and Mac
Can I use my TV as a monitor for PC or Mac? Yes! Here are the best TVs to use as a computer, mini PC or laptop monitor.
The best TV as a computer monitor is essentially two products in one – a versatile screen that offers both home entertainment and a display for computing tasks on your Macbook or PC.
There’s a lot of overlap between the best 4K TVs and the best monitors: both tend to deliver high image fidelity, such as 4K resolution, and have high-speed data connections and ports. With TVs and monitors often having similar specifications, it’s not that hard to get a screen that fills both roles in your home, meaning you can limit the cost and space requirements by buying two separate displays.
The big advantage of using a TV is that there are many more options for choosing the size. Most monitors are in the 24-32 inch range, while TVs can be astronomically large. A large screen can be a handy tool to showcase your photography portfolio or showreel to groups of people, or just to see your work up close on a larger scale.
There’s a reason some TV manufacturers offer gallery stands or tripods as accessories to give you some flexibility in how you present images and allow you to place your screen in your home as thoughtfully as a piece of furniture, rather than simply by attaching the TV to the wall opposite the sofa.
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However, when using the TV as a PC monitor, you must remember where you will sit in relation to the screen! Sitting on the couch and balancing your keyboard and mouse on your lap is not the most ergonomic idea, so we highly recommend choosing a 50-inch or smaller TV. This size bracket is much better suited for closer viewing distances, with the added bonus of increased pixel density relative to TV size.
You have to be careful with color accuracy, contrast, and viewing angles—things that OLED TVs tend to excel at—because TVs tend to favor bolder colors and contrast over accurate image display. TV manufacturers don’t have to worry about designing the screen for sRGB and Adobe RGB, so we don’t recommend using the TV for photo or video editing.
In the meantime, any gamers will want to make sure their TV has the right spec to handle games well, especially given the input lag that TV visual processing can cause, otherwise we recommend looking into the best gaming monitors. But if you’re looking for a versatile screen that doubles as a home entertainment hub and large-scale PC canvas, here are our top recommendations.
Sony XR X90J 50″
Best TV to use as a computer monitor
Screen Size: 50″
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Panel type: VA LCD
Connectivity: HDMI: 4, USB: 3, Optical: 1
- Top Imaging
- 4 HDMI Ports
- Backlight Local Dimming
- A bit pricey
- Contrast can’t match OLED
Sony X90J TVs come in a variety of screen sizes, but for PC monitor use we prefer the smallest option ( 50 inches). All sizes are 4K resolution, so the “small” 50-inch screen has the highest pixel density in the range, and therefore a sharper image when viewed up close.
The image quality benefits continue with the inclusion of Sony’s top-end Cognitive Processor XR image processor, as well as direct local dimming LED backlighting for inky blacks and minimal backlight blur. You even have four HDMI ports, so there should always be at least one spare for inputting data from your computer.
All this quality comes at a price, but if you’re looking for a great TV that can sometimes be used as a computer monitor, this is a great choice.
LG UQ75 43″
Best Budget PC TV
Screen Size: 43″
Resolution: 3840 x 2160 900 35 Panel type: VA LCD
Connectivity: HDMI: 3 , USB: 1, Optical: 1
- Good value
- Low latency auto
- HDR10 and HLG HDR support
90 002 Cons
- Limited connectivity
The 4K screen resolution on a 43-inch TV really requires you to sit pretty close to see the improvement in resolution over a 1080p Full HD display. But that’s how a TV works best when used as a computer monitor.
What sets this little LG TV apart from similar “small” TVs is that it has the features you’d expect to find on more expensive models. There’s smart voice control with AirPlay and Google Assistant compatibility, and HDR10 Pro and HLG support for displaying high dynamic range content.
What’s more, if you plan to game on this TV, the low latency auto mode really comes into its own, switching the TV to game mode when a game input is detected, thereby reducing input lag.
LG C2 42″
Best OLED TV that can also be used as a computer monitor
Screen Size: 42″
Resolution: 3480 x 2160
Panel Type: OLED
Connectivity: HDMI: 4, USB: 3, Optical: 1 049 Low latency and G-Sync compatible
- Expensive compared to competitors
- Risk of screen burn
This best-selling OLED TV from LG is worth looking out for . Its OLED panel delivers vibrant colors, exceptional contrast, precise brightness control, and deep blacks for stunning images. You can look forward to high performance including HDMI 2.1, a 120Hz refresh rate and a host of gaming features such as VRR and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) which reduces image lag. All in all, the LG C2 is a great choice for gamers.
Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync compatibility ensures that B2’s frame rate matches your game’s frame rate, eliminating any screen tearing clutter. OLED screens have the potential disadvantage of burn-in where menu graphics could theoretically be permanently etched on the screen if displayed for a very long time unchanged, but this is unlikely to be an issue unless you display the Windows taskbar or Mac OS Dock all the time. on the screen for long periods of time per day.
You won’t find many 42-inch OLED displays on the market, but this compact size ensures the LG C2 works as both a TV screen and desktop PC monitor, offering the best of both worlds. The LG C2 also pairs with the LG Gallery Stand, but only in larger sizes, so consider what works best for you.
Samsung Q60A 43″
Picture quality that rivals an OLED TV for less money
Screen Size: 43″
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Panel Type: QLED VA LCD
Connectivity: HDMI: 3, USB: 2, optical: 1
- OLED competitor for image quality
- 100% DCI-P3 coverage
- Good price for a QLED TV
- Viewing angles will not match OLED
- 3 HDMI ports can limit
Samsung QLED (Quantum dot) TV sets new standards for brightness and color clarity. They can be considered superior to OLED TVs in some respects and are not subject to possible screen burn-in like OLED TVs. Oh, and the best part is, QLED TVs are significantly cheaper than their OLED counterparts!
Our top QLED pick is actually the cheapest model in Samsung’s current QLED range, the Q60A. Its 43-inch screen strikes the perfect balance between TV and computer monitor, while its 4K resolution keeps computer images crisp at fairly close viewing distances.
What’s more, Samsung claims that the QLED screen technology is also capable of displaying 100% of the DCI-P3 color space – something even a high-end computer monitor can’t handle. But its HDR and imaging capabilities of the Q60A don’t quite match Samsung’s larger QLED offerings, and viewing angles won’t compete with an OLED display. Three HDMI ports can also be a little limiting if you want to connect a lot of AV gear in addition to your computer, but we still think it’s a great combination of TV and computer monitor.
Samsung The Frame 43″
TV designed to showcase art at its best
Screen size: 43″
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Panel type: QLED VA LCD
Connectivity: HDMI: 3, USB: 2, optical: 1
- Aesthetically tuned TV
- Blends in with interior
- Great for displaying art
- Basic backlight
Samsung’s The Frame should be the perfect TV for aspiring photographers looking to showcase their work in style. This compact screen fits perfectly into your home with a dedicated Art Mode that lets you display your own images as well as classic art and paintings.
The 43-inch size can also be wall-mounted in both portrait and landscape orientations, making it a versatile display – just be aware that image quality won’t be on par with some of the more premium options in this ranking. , considering some basic side lighting that can result in inconsistent brightness across the screen. However, Samsung’s QLED technology offers a decent minimum standard for contrast and color saturation and should cover 100% of the DCI-P3 color space.
Read more – full Samsung The Frame review
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9 0048 Best Large Screen TVs
How I used old TVs as monitors / Sudo Null IT News0001
About four years ago on Habré I wrote an article about converting a paper cardiogram into sound format. At the end of this article, I posted a video I made that shows an example. Not all readers understood it, so I removed it from the article. However, many were more surprised not by the operations that were done in the video, and not even by the content of the article. Most of all I was hooked by the technique shown in the video – an old computer and a black-and-white monitor connected to it. An old black-and-white TV served as such a monitor. I do not remember why I decided to demonstrate an example on it. Of course, I understood that this would cause surprise, but I did not think that they would write about it in the comments.
The story goes something like this. I got my first computer relatively late, like many ordinary people, in the early 2000s (although it’s hard for me to judge others here). The computer was based on a Celeron 2.4 GHz processor, a GeForce FX5200 64Mb video card (Fig. 1) and a 17” LCD monitor. I was surprised by the presence of a video output connector on the video card for connecting to a TV. The connector was in mini-DIN format, i.e., standard S-Video (Fig. 2). I had already come across this interface (if I may say so), it was on a DVD player. I tried to connect a video card to a kinescope TV through this connector. Of course, we didn’t have flat-panel TVs back then.
Fig. 1. My first video card. Fig. 2. Connectors on the video card.
Two signals are output from the S-Video connector: a luminance signal (Y) and a color signal (C). Sync pulses are also transmitted in the luminance signal. The color signal is encoded in one or another color system (PAL, SECAM or NTSC, depending on the settings of the video card) and is transmitted on a subcarrier frequency. In order to connect such a source to a regular TV video input (tulip connector), you need to make a simple cord with a capacitor (classic circuit, Fig. 3). In this case, the chrominance signal is mixed through the capacitor with the main luminance signal, and such a signal is already a composite PCTS (complete color TV signal).
Fig. 3. Schematic of the S-Video–CVBS cord.
I was already informed in advance that it is not necessary to connect according to this scheme. It is possible to configure the video card so that the PDTS is immediately transmitted by the brightness signal. When a signal is output from a computer to a TV, of course, the quality in terms of picture sharpness drops noticeably. However, if you set the video card to the S-Video output and remove the mixing of the color signal (remove the capacitor in Fig. 3), then, obviously, the picture on the TV will become black and white. But at the same time, the image quality increases markedly: image ripples are removed. This ripple is caused by the chrominance subcarrier signal. If there is no chrominance signal in the video signal, then there will be no such crosstalk in the form of ripples either.
Shortly after graduating from high school, I moved with this computer to another city where I studied at the university. At the same time, I also wanted to have a computer at home when I come, for example, for the weekend. With my scholarship, I bought used components of an older computer: PSU, motherboard, RAM bar, video card (similar, but 32 MB), Celeron 1.8 GHz processor, HDD. At that time, I had not yet acquired a case, I found it a little later. Thus, I built a second PC for the house.
As for the monitor, it was not very easy then. Even a CRT monitor was then still in price. As you might guess, I used a TV as a monitor. At my personal disposal, since childhood, there were several old TVs. Among them was a color 3USCT, a black-and-white lamp and a black-and-white microcircuit-transistor. It was my hobby since childhood, I was engaged in TV repair.
A DVD player was connected to the 3USCT TV to the color module via the interface board via the RGB SCART connector. Knowing the configuration of the PC monitor interface, at that time I was thinking about connecting a video card to a TV via SCART. However, the hands have not yet reached this, and have not reached at all. With this connection, the crosstalk that I wrote about above, of course, is absent. At the same time, a high-quality color image is preserved. A connected DVD player is an example. I tried to connect it through the usual “tulip” of the PCTS to the 3USST TV color module, using the same interface board. The difference in image quality is obvious to the naked eye. But if the DVD player is connected to the TV via the PCTS output, then it is possible to increase the saturation of the image, making it more colorful, which is impossible when connected via RGB.
Fig. 4. TV 3USCT – Rear view. Fig. 5. Interface board with a SCART connector. Fig. 6. DVD player via RGB on 3USCT.
But black-and-white TV pleases my eye the most. In both TVs, I once made video and audio inputs and TV / AV switches a long time ago. In an older tube TV, I even made more outputs (Fig. 7, side of the TV). Through them, I used to connect a VCR. Using the RF output on the VCR didn’t really appeal to me. Yes, and in the case of a tube TV, devoid of the UHF range, a special UHF set-top box was required (I had a VCR with a UHF RF output, although there are also MV ones). And when the DVD player came along, I was able to connect it to a black and white TV using only the luminance signal. This removes ripples from the image, improving its quality. The brightness signal from the DVD player can be taken from both the S-Video connector and the component output. The component output is three tulips, from which three signals come out: a luminance signal (+ sync pulses) and two color difference signals. I had a full-fledged player in terms of the number of audio and video interfaces. I want to note that through a self-made video input, the image was not always contrasting (depending on the video source). And if I connected through a VCR that was used as an RF modulator, then the contrast was higher, but there was a little noise in the image. To supply the TV with a full-fledged video input, you need to design a special circuit that will match the input with the source.
Fig. Fig. 7. DVD player connected to a tube B/W TV via the Y output. 8. DVD player connected to m. -tr. b/w TV via output Y.Fig. 9. DIY audio / video input and switch on the back of the TV.
So, for my second computer, I used a black and white TV (which is not a tube) as a monitor for about two years, until I found a normal CRT monitor. In order not to spoil my eyesight, I was two meters away from the TV. At the same time, while working on a computer, I used the standard Magnifier program to enlarge the image area around the mouse cursor (Fig. 11). The screen resolution is 1024 by 768. By the way, the eyes got tired of the black-and-white image much less than from the color one.
Fig. Fig. 10. Computer connected to a lamp b/w TV. 11. Computer connected to m.-tr. b/w TV.
A few years later, I got a new black-and-white kinescope compatible with the TV in fig. 11, and immediately changed it. After the replacement, the contrast increased many times over. Apparently, the old kinescope was dead. Just in the video, which was mentioned at the beginning of this article, a TV with a new kinescope was demonstrated.