Should I use a TV as a computer monitor?
When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works.
(Image credit: LG)
In the early days of computing, monitors were just TVs. Then the HD revolution happened and monitors really came to the fore. Now we’re coming full circle again and we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to massive 4K and even 8K TVs with multiple HDMI 2.1 connections that cost less than a top-end monitor. Can you just use one of the best gaming TVs in place of a display, and possibly more importantly, would you actually want to?
The first part of that question is simple enough to answer: Yes, you can use any TV with HDMI inputs in place of a computer display. If you’re looking at 4K TVs, you’ll want a graphics card that has at least an HDMI 2.0 port (HDMI 2.0a or later for HDR10 displays). That allows for 4K at 60Hz, with 24-bit color. Newer TVs support HDMI 2.1 which will handle 4K at 120Hz and 8K at 60Hz providing your computer also supports HDMI 2. 1.
In terms of graphics cards, only the most recent offerings support HDMI 2.1. We’re talking Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30-series and the AMD Radeon RX 6000-series here. If your hardware meets these requirements, using a TV will work fine—after all, this is precisely what most console gamers do. But there are other items to consider.
This leads us to the second part of the question: Should you use a TV as a computer monitor? This isn’t quite so straightforward, as it depends on factors like how you use your PC, where you plan on putting the TV, your household environment, and more.
What’s awesome is how incredibly affordable TVs have become. 4K monitors start at 27-inches and cost as little as $250, while 40-inch models cost $500 or more. But 4K 32- to 45-inch TVs can be had for as little as $200-$300. Here’s what you need to know if you’re looking to buy such a TV for computer use.
55-inch TVs are commonplace these days, but you’ll do well to hit those dimensions with a monitor. (Image credit: Samsung)
Traditionally, the biggest potential problem has been input lag. Some TVs do a lot of signal processing and can add 50ms or even 100ms delay to the signal before it appears on the screen. If you’re watching video content, this doesn’t matter, but it’s a serious drawback on an interactive PC display.
The good news is recent TV models are much better on this front, and some now offer a ‘game mode’ that disables video processing. If the TV has one of those, lag is less of a problem. Otherwise, buy at a location where returning the TV won’t be a problem.
Two other things to check for are overscan and signal support. Some TVs still do a moderate amount of overscan, where the outside five percent of the signal is discarded. Check if this can be disabled in the menus, or alternatively, you can use the AMD or Nvidia control panel to adjust the output to better fit your TV.
As far as signal support, many TVs use Y’CbCr instead of RGB signals, and if the TV only supports 4:2:2 or (even worse) 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, there can be a loss in image quality. For watching videos, chroma subsampling may not be a problem, but with text interfaces, it can create noticeable fuzziness on the edges of letters. In short, you want a TV that supports 4:4:4 chroma subsampling.
There are plenty of great 4K TVs for PC gamers these days, like the 48-inch LG OLED48CX. (Image credit: LG)
Other items to consider are how you plan to use your TV-as-a-display, your user interface, and the location. For desk use, where you sit close to the display, a moderately sized 32- to 45-inch 4K TV is probably as big as you’d want to go—don’t get 1080p, as the pixels can be very large.
It’s worth noting that most TVs lack height adjustment too, so plan on getting a VESA compatible TV and stand if that’s something you want. For living room use, larger displays (55-inch and more) are often best, and you’ll want to consider input options. And if you’re sharing the living room with multiple other people, you might need a second TV or PC.
For input, a lapboard for your keyboard and mouse, along with wireless peripherals, are almost required. Just note that the ergonomics of sitting on a couch with a lapboard are often much worse than sitting in a good computer chair at a desk. There’s a reason consoles use game controllers. Learning to play most PC games with a controller and only keeping the keyboard and mouse around for occasional use is a good approach.
You don’t have to drop a fortune on a 4K TV either, with the likes of this 43-inch 4K TV strarting at $258. (Image credit: Hisense)
One nice benefit of HDTVs is that they almost universally have much better speakers than computer monitors. The computer displays I’ve used that have audio often include small speakers that are lacking in volume and quality—they can work in a pinch, but games and movies won’t sound as good. TV speakers aren’t perfect, but you can easily live with TV audio output on your desk.
With the above information in hand, you can now decide whether a TV as your PC display is the right choice for you. There’s no universal answer here, but with the improved quality of TVs and lower prices, plus the ability to use your PC as the center of your home theater, it’s certainly worth a look.
If you can find a great deal on a 4K TV, you might even decide to replace your aging monitor and join the Ultra HD crowd. Thankfully, even with 8K and higher resolution displays starting to appear, we’re not likely to move beyond 4K for many years. A good display investment today could well last until 2030.
Sign up to get the best content of the week, and great gaming deals, as picked by the editors.
Contact me with news and offers from other Future brandsReceive email from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors
Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He’s very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.
Ultrawide monitors are overrated, here’s why I use a 4K TV instead
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
Optimizing for maximum productivity was my number one goal when I decided to redo my home office earlier this year. Like any self-respecting techie, it was clear that a large-screen monitor was going to be the centerpiece of my desk setup. My requirements were straightforward: plenty of screen real estate to work with, decent color accuracy, and aesthetics. And so began a long journey of researching some of the best ultrawide monitors around, since every internet guru says that’s the way to go.
As the headline makes clear, I ended up making a hard pivot towards a 4K television instead. Here’s why.
Different strokes for different folks
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
Right off the bat, understanding how you use your computer is key. Gamers might want a gaming monitor with ultra-fast refresh rates, movie enthusiasts might need the crazy 21:9 aspect ratios some monitors afford. But what I wanted was a huge canvas for multitasking.
Related: Don’t buy a gaming monitor unless you really, truly need one
I’m not a PC gamer. My use case centers entirely around consuming copious amounts of content, research, and writing. On any given day, I’ll have well over 40 tabs open, Spotify and Slack in the background, and perhaps a few terminal tabs for any tinkering I might be doing.
An ultrawide monitor is a good fit for most of those tasks but isn’t the ideal solution. Sure, the ultrawide aspect ratio allows you to open things, well, wide, but most websites aren’t designed with extensive horizontal views in mind.
A larger 4K display is almost as good as two ultrawide monitors mounted above each other.
A large screen 4K monitor, on the other hand, gives you similar levels of horizontal viewing space but significantly more vertical viewing space as well. It almost amounts to having an additional ultrawide monitor on top. That additional vertical viewing space is what really got me excited about the prospect of using a 4K TV as a monitor.
My monitor of choice
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
My “monitor” of choice ended up being a 43-inch Samsung Frame TV that I picked up for around $700 in India. The clean aesthetics and zero-gap wall mount were high up on the list of factors that aided my decision. You see, I did not want to clutter my desk with multiple monitors. In fact, I wanted to forego a monitor arm as well to maximize my desk space.
The Samsung Frame TV barely takes up any desk space, which was a prime consideration for me when designing my office space.
Mounted to the wall, the Samsung Frame TV barely sticks out an inch and doesn’t intrude on my limited desk space. I also end up setting it to the built-in art mode to shuffle through artwork when I’m reading a book on the lounge chair behind me, or just spinning some records. It helps reduce the work desk aesthetic and makes the room feel a bit cozier. If aesthetics are not a prime consideration for you, you could, of course, get a similar quality panel for a lower price.
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
While the Samsung Frame TV certainly doesn’t have the best-looking panel in Samsung’s portfolio, let alone the broader lineup of monitors and televisions on the market, once color calibrated, it looks good enough to me and more than suffices for my photo editing needs. It also lacks high-end features like a 120Hz or higher refresh rate, but once again, that wasn’t a prime consideration for me.
It’s all about productivity
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
My day-to-day use, as I’ve already mentioned, involves dozens of tabs and windows. The default window management in macOS, however, is borderline useless. I make use of an app called BetterSnapTool to tame how apps behave in various zones of my monitor.
My daily configuration varies between five to six windows open simultaneously. With a grid of six windows open, I effectively get six 17-inch monitors on display. Now, this might sound very small in today’s day and age, but it works perfectly well for glancing at reference information, Spotify playlists, or office chats.
When reading longer articles, I switch to an alternate configuration where the window spans the full height of the 43-inch display and effectively gives me the equivalent of a side-mounted 24-inch monitor.
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
Being a fully virtual space, you can, of course, mix and match screen sizes to your heart’s content till you find the most appropriate setting for your use. In fact, as I’ve discovered after a few months of use, a large monitor like this is best used if you are looking for multitasking nirvana. Most apps or websites simply do not scale well to such a large size.
Also read: I bought an ultrawide monitor for productivity, and here’s what I learned
My colleague Bogdan recently wrote about his journey with an ultrawide monitor. I echo his statement that an ultrawide monitor only makes sense if you have a very specific use case. Unless you are working with tools that can span the width of the monitor, all that horizontal space will often go waste. Using a 4K television instead grants you double the height as well to effectively double the space you have to work with.
There are several other advantages to using a television as a monitor. Price, for one, was a big consideration. Yes, I splurged almost $700 on the Frame TV for the aesthetics, but you don’t have to. 4K television prices have never been lower, and it is possible to get a very good-looking television for just a few hundred dollars. In most cases, you will have to spend a significantly higher amount for a high-quality 4K ultrawide monitor.
Some ideas: The best 65-inch TVs you can buy
Additionally, the television also comfortably doubles up as a, well, television when I want some downtime and wish to catch up on some YouTube videos or documentaries.
Moreover, I’ve found myself making use of built-in niceties like Airplay support for beaming my iPad’s screen over to the TV or smart assistant support for controlling the lights in the room.
The television disadvantage
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
Using a TV as a monitor does come with its downsides. Primary among those is the lack of support for modern conveniences like USB-C. The simplicity of using a single cable for video output and charging can’t be overstated, and my setup means that I’m still stuck in dongle hell. My old OWC dock doesn’t support 60Hz over 4K, so my only option is to either use two cables or invest in an expensive dock.
You’ll have to get creative with mounting a webcam on a display this large.
Built-in web cameras are also out of the picture. I’ve never been too big on video calls but the pandemic reinforced the importance of those. I find myself in several briefings or work calls and having the webcam switched on helps a lot with catching onto visual cues. The television, predictably, does not come with a built-in webcam. Additionally, when using a display as large as this, you will have to get a bit creative with positioning an external web camera. I discovered that mounting the camera to the top of the display mostly just focused on the top of my head, and I’ve since placed the camera over to the side on top of my studio monitor.
Is it worth using a 4K television as a monitor?
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
Samsung 43-Inch The Frame 4K Quantum HDR Smart TV (2021)
See price at Amazon
I’ve spent the last couple of months with the Samsung Frame TV hooked up to my Macbook and I can’t say I’ve found myself regretting my purchase. The expansive screen real estate has been a dream for catching live streams while chatting with colleagues. Moreover, the ability to snap six or more windows comfortably has been a game changer for my personal use case.
The huge screen real estate has had a tangible increase in my productivity and I can’t see myself going back to a smaller display.
I was initially skeptical of having a short two-foot viewing distance between myself and the display, but that has not really been an issue. Despite that, I don’t think it is the perfect match for everyone. Lacking high-end features like a 120Hz refresh rate or an ultrawide aspect ratio makes it a non-starter for gamers. Users with less intensive workflows might also find it a bit overwhelming to work around the scaling issues of such a large display.
For me, however, I just can’t see myself going back to a smaller or ultrawide display. The sheer flexibility of being able to arrange windows just the way I like for more information density or additional context makes it the obvious choice.
Are you using a 4K television as a monitor? How has your experience been? Let us know in the comments section.
Have you considered using a 4K television as a monitor?
Is it possible to use the TV as a monitor
Modern gadgets and devices are perfectly combined with each other so that users can use all their functionality to the fullest. Therefore, a TV is not only a box for watching TV channels and standard programs. With simple manipulations, it can become a game console, home theater or computer monitor, which is convenient to surf the Internet or make video calls. How to use the TV as a monitor? What models are suitable for this and what is needed for this? Let’s figure it out.
Often users want to connect a TV to a computer if the main monitor is broken, or they just want to watch video content on a large and high-quality screen. This is possible, but first you need to know which TV can be used as a monitor.
Globally, most modern TVs are suitable for this, but not all will provide you with the necessary quality. Here are the parameters that the device must meet in order to use it in this way:
- High resolution. Ideally 1920 × 1080 pixels, because a smaller limit will not give a clear picture. The image will be grainy.
- Diagonal. For basic tasks like watching movies or making video calls, 32 inches is enough. For games, more is better.
- Availability of the necessary connectors, the most common connection option via HDMI. You can also use a DVI cable.
Next, let’s talk in more detail about connecting a TV, if you are interested in using a TV instead of a monitor.
Can the TV be used as a monitor: connection options
The TV can be used as a second monitor via cable connection or Wi-Fi. Consider all options.
The easiest way to connect with cables. To do this, you need to have the appropriate connectors on both the TV and the computer. There are several options here:
- HDMI. As noted above, this is a universal connector that all modern TVs are equipped with. With it, you can easily connect your TV to external devices and transfer high-quality sound and image to it.
- DVI is also a fairly modern cable, but it is only suitable for video transmission. An additional cord must be used to produce sound.
- VGA – unpopular, because not a very new type of connector. It is less common, but is used to transmit images.
When connecting a cable connected to the HDMI connector, you need to go to the appropriate settings on the computer and select the TV as the main monitor. Put the necessary checkboxes, click “Save” and you’re done.
If the required cable is not available, you can also connect the TV using Wi-Fi. This is convenient, because you do not need to be limited to the size of the wires. Consider whether your TV is modern enough and whether the Internet speed is sufficient (optimally from 30 Mbps). You can connect the TV via DLNA, using WiDi software or via an external Wi-Fi adapter. Detailed instructions for each connection option can be found on the Internet.
TV set-top box or TV instead of a monitor pluses and minuses
The use of a television as a monitor is popular for two purposes. Firstly, to have Internet access on the TV and, accordingly, watch a variety of films. Second, play games. All this is possible with modern smart set-top boxes based on Android. They allow you to fully use the Play Market without using a lot of cables and unnecessary manipulations.
The only downside is that you need to buy a set-top box, although the prices are very different, and you can choose a fairly cheap model.
TV, as a monitor, also has certain disadvantages:
- high eye strain, unless the TV is connected via Wi-Fi and it is possible to place it away from the system unit;
- often not clear enough;
- inconvenient work with a PC due to a non-standard large screen, for example, working with documents.
If you want to use a TV instead of a monitor temporarily, then this is an idea worth considering. But if you want to surf the Internet on a regular basis, use online libraries and watch movies on the big screen, then it’s better to think about buying a TV set-top box.
You can buy a variety of set-top boxes, cables and accessories for TV in LeoBox
You can order smart set-top boxes and various accessories at an inexpensive cost in our LeoBox online store. All products presented on the site have the best reviews. We only work with trusted brands. We have affordable prices and qualified consultants who will help with the choice. You can order delivery of goods to Kyiv, Kharkov, Dnipro, Odessa, Lviv, Zaporozhye and other cities of Ukraine.
Sign in with
TV like a monitor. How to use your TV as a monitor.
Wednesday, Lipnya 5, 2017
5 easy steps to use your TV as a primary monitor
If you have never used your own TV as a monitor, you are missing out. Most modern TV models are very easy to connect to other devices. If you do not go into details, then for this it is enough to determine the type of cable with which the connection will be made, and configure the two devices connected to each other accordingly. Following the simple instructions that will be indicated in this article, you can spend just a few minutes of your personal time connecting and setting up your TV and computer.
Why is the number of people choosing to use the TV as a monitor for a computer or laptop on the rise? Let’s list several common reasons:
- The need to get a more “large-scale” and “spectacular” picture. This is especially true for moviegoers and for those who like to spend time playing computer games. TV selection here
- No monitor. This solution allows you to find a way out if there is no computer monitor, especially since monitors can be several times more expensive than TVs in terms of cost.
- The need to use a laptop as a desktop computer or the need to connect an additional monitor. This is an important point, because, by making the appropriate settings, you can use the TV as a laptop, while not duplicating the screens, but expanding them, which allows you to get two desktops between which you can move the mouse cursor.
The very connection and configuration of devices will not take much time, just follow simple instructions.
As you understand, there are a lot of additional advantages in working with a computer connected to a TV, but you should not forget about some inconveniences. To weigh all the pros and cons, we suggest learning about the pros and cons of using a combination of these devices.
TV as a monitor: pros and cons
If you have not decided yet and are just thinking about whether to use your TV as a laptop or computer monitor, then you should definitely familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of such a solution. We list the points that deserve special attention.
- On the modern market of TV equipment there is a wide range of TV models with screen sizes an order of magnitude larger than for monitors. Thus, the image will look more impressive on the TV screen, which is especially important for fans of video games and movies, because. the effect of immersion is amplified many times over.
- The TV can be used as a main or secondary monitor. It all depends on how you use additional screens in the “Screen Resolution” settings of your computer. Large screen TVs are much cheaper than monitors.
- Large screen sizes create some inconvenience if you often work at a laptop or computer, because. you need to constantly turn your head to the area of the screen you need.
- This option is not suitable for working with graphic images, because The TV screen is not able to convey the image accuracy necessary for such fine work.
- It is not always convenient to work with such a monitor on the Internet. Unlike watching videos, moving from site to site is not very convenient, because they are not always adaptive and in some cases they will not look very attractive on such a large screen.
Easily connect your TV to your PC or laptop
Follow five simple steps to connect your TV instead of a monitor for gaming, watching movies, or for work:
- First of all, you need to determine the type of cable with which the connection will be made.
- After the devices must be connected to each other using the previously selected cable.
- Next, the TV switches to receive a signal from the desired connector.
- After you need to set up a desktop computer or laptop to display pictures on a TV screen.
- If necessary, you may need to adjust the display resolution.
Let’s look at each of these steps in more detail.
- Point 1. Initially, you should determine which connectors can be used for your own purposes, i.e. determine their presence on the TV-panel and on the transmitting device. By default, there are three most common types: VGA (an outdated standard used for transmitting images, provides a low-quality picture), DVI (a modern digital connector for transmitting images), HDMI (one of the most suitable options, provides video and audio data transmission, such connector is found in most modern devices).
- Point 2. If you connect via HDMI, you will not need to connect additional cables, but if you use a DVI or VGA connection, you will need an audio cable for sound transmission.
- Item 3. Using the menu functions, you need to set the TV to receive a signal from the connector where the cable was connected.
- Point 4. There are several ways to set the transmitting device to display a picture on a TV screen, in particular, using the “Display” function from the keyboard, as well as through the “Screen Resolution”. Next, select the desired image display mode.
- Item 5. If the resolutions on the transmitting and receiving devices are different, then in order to achieve the best picture quality, adjustments must be made to set the correct resolution.
It is impossible to ignore some points regarding LCD TVs. In general, connecting a TV LCD panel to a laptop follows the same scheme, however, there are a number of features that are important to know about when using an LCD device. The thing is that static images on the screen adversely affect the liquid crystal (LCD) display. LCD panel manufacturers warn their customers that a static image that is displayed for more than two hours can cause the LCD screen to “burn in”. To get rid of the afterimage, adjust the brightness and contrast. It is also necessary to adjust the image in such a way that it does not take up part of the screen, because. dark areas may appear in place of black fields.
Separately, it is worth mentioning the possibility of settings to use the TV as a monitor via Wifi. There are three proven ways to link these devices wirelessly:
- DLNA connection. This method requires opening network access for content contained on a computer or laptop, after which, using the TV settings, it will be possible to view the content of sources connected via a wireless channel.
- WiDi (Miracast). Allows you to duplicate the image of sources connected via a wireless network.
- Using special adapters that allow you to create a wireless pair “PC (Notebook) – TV”.
It is important to remember the following point: in order to avoid possible damage to equipment, all actions for connecting devices must be performed after disconnecting them from the network.
Output: TV or monitor
As a conclusion, it is worth noting that when deciding which is better to use for displaying computer data, a number of important aspects should be taken into account. To understand, you need to get answers to several key questions:
- What tasks do you plan to use the computer for by connecting it to the TV?
- Do you feel comfortable interacting with the system through the TV screen?
- Does the TV have sufficient technical parameters to work comfortably using it as a monitor?
As for the connection itself, the procedure for connecting devices using a suitable type of cable or via Wifi, as well as the settings are quite simple, so you can easily use the TV as a regular monitor.
If you clearly understand what you will use the TV for, you are satisfied with the quality of the received image and the control of the device does not cause additional inconvenience, then you should definitely expand the capabilities of a desktop computer or laptop by connecting a TV to them.