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Monitor vs TV for Gaming – What is The Difference?

By February 8, 2017 One Comment

Monitor vs Gaming TV

Short Answer

The main difference between a monitor and a gaming TV is the input lag response, while monitors have significantly lesser input lag which is mandatory for fast-paced competitive games, gaming TVs wouldn’t provide you with as fluid experience. However, gaming TVs may be a better choice for slow-paced games as they can offer more immersive picture on a much bigger screen for a lower price.

Before making a decision on whether you should use a monitor or a gaming TV, you should carefully research the statistics of the TV. Preferably, you should find a gaming TV that has low input lag and some sort of a PC or Game mode feature. However, the biggest factor that should affect your decision lies in the type of video games that you will be playing.

When it comes to competitive FPS gaming, a gaming monitor with high Hz rate, adaptive sync technology, quick response time, and crisp resolution is an obvious choice. Any 144Hz gaming monitor with the FreeSync or G-Sync technology will offer you the most fluid and smooth gaming experience possible. Moreover, a 1440p resolution or higher on a 27-inch screen results in a higher pixel density which makes for more details and crisp picture quality.

If you are not, however, a fan of competitive gaming and fast-paced action but rather enjoy the slow-paced video games that more rely on the story and quests than quick reflexes, you should consider a gaming TV. After all, for the money required for a 27-inch, 144Hz gaming monitor with the adaptive sync, you can get a giant 50-inch TV with 120Hz.

Gaming TVs

Gaming Monitor

To clear away the confusion about the 120Hz TVs right away, you should know that in order for a TV to push 120Hz it would need either a DisplayPort, Dual Link-DVI, or an HDMI 2.0 port. As most of the gaming TVs feature an HDMI 1.4 or below port, they are limited to 60Hz. So, a gaming TV with 120Hz actually converts the 60Hz signal via a process known as interpolation which adds predictable fake frames between the regular frames. While this is helpful in common videos, it is harmful to the unpredictable competitive games as it would cause motion blurring which in combination with the high input lag results in a rather unpleasant competitive gaming experience.

As most of the common gaming consoles max out at 60Hz anyway, the mentioned problem wouldn’t be as persistent as it would be in competitive FPS games on a PC. Having said that, if you’re not a hardcore gamer but prefer slow-paced or turn-based video games, you will be able to enjoy a more immersive gaming experience than you would on a monitor due to the bigger screen for the same price. You would be able to just lay back and relax in your living room with a game. Additionally, it would save you a lot of space if you’re living in an apartment as you wouldn’t need a monitor. Not to mentioned that the most of smart TVs have the built-in wireless and other convenient features.

In the end, your decision comes down to choosing, for instance, a 50-inch screen with a higher input lag and only a 1080p resolution and a 27-inch screen with low input lag and a more crisp resolution. The input lag is the time a monitor or a TV take to react and display the commands you have made with your controller device. Most gaming monitors have around 10-millisecond input lag which is ideal for competitive gaming, while the fastest TVs can achieve up to 22 milliseconds. That is two times slower, but still sufficient if you’re not playing competitive video games.

The other issue is the low resolution. As TVs don’t have the now-standard 1440p resolution as most of the gaming monitors do, you are forced to choose between 1080p and 4K. The 1080p resolution already loses details on a 27-inch screen and higher due to low pixel density, that gets significantly worse on 50-inch screens. The text appears very tiny and smudgy while even your cursor gets difficult to follow. And if you opt for a 4K gaming TV, that is again very expensive and you still have to deal with the high input lag and slow response time.

The response time is the time pixels take to transition from either one shade of gray to another (Gray to Gray) or from black to white. While most gaming monitors have either 1ms response time (TN Panels) or 4ms (IPS and VA), gaming TVs usually don’t even display that statistic as it’s not something TV manufacturers are focused on. Only through some tests have people managed to affirm that the response time in most TVs ranges from 8ms to 17ms. The slower the response time, the more ghosting and blurring of fast moving objects in video games you will encounter.

Many gaming TVs have a way around all the previously mentioned issues here through the Game Mode and/or PC Mode features selectable in the TV settings. These modes serve to alter the image and reduce the input lag, and while it may help to some extent, it still doesn’t come close to the smoothness and crispness of gaming monitors, at least not in fast-paced video games. As most TVs are made to be viewed from a distance, in order to achieve the best viewing experience possible you would have to fiddle with the calibration settings before deciding that you don’t like the image quality.

Gaming Monitors

ASUS PG279Q Gaming Monitor

Unlike gaming TVs, gaming monitors focus more on the fluidity of gaming rather than the screen size while still providing its users with vibrant colors and crisp resolution. Even when we compare a budget monitor to a gaming TV, the monitor would still provide you with a more responsive gameplay. Alas, the picture quality might be a bit less rich in colors but you would still have a crisp resolution due to the pixel density. Gaming monitors are able to deliver the smoothest gaming experience due to the high Hz rate, up to 240Hz, quick response time, and the adaptive sync technology.

The adaptive sync includes either the Nvidia G-Sync or the AMD FreeSync technology. This monitor feature allows you to synchronize the refresh rate between your corresponding graphics card to the monitor which reduces the input lag and eliminates screen tearing and stuttering. However, this contributes to the price of the monitor as well, the G-Sync more so than the FreeSync. Thus, you are forced to choose between a smooth gaming experience on a smaller screen or a laggy experience on a significantly larger screen, for the same money.


It wouldn’t be entirely fair to simply dub either a monitor or a gaming TV as the best option between the two. This mainly depends on what kind of game you are playing. If you wish to play competitive FPS games and have the edge over your opponents, go for a monitor with quick response time, high Hz rate, and the adaptive sync technology. On the other hand, if you prefer more casual gaming, you will still be able to do so on a gaming TV. Additionally, you will be able to have a much larger screen for less money than you would with a monitor. Not to mention that your spouse and family would most likely appreciate you more if you got them a TV than just a monitor for yourself!

As it’s the case with the most of rivaling technology gadgets today, it all comes down to the personal preference and what features you prioritize yourself. In this article, gaming TVs may seem to have more drawbacks, but the question is how much would they actually affect you. Gaming TVs nowadays have many cool features such as the built-in wireless and extensive connectivity for keyboard and mouse devices. In addition, the gigantic TV displays have become a lot more affordable recently and they still provide you with a decent gaming experience. However, if all you want to do is prove your strength and quick reflexes in video games and defeat both your friends and enemies, then a gaming monitor is your best choice.

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  • Coolitic

    1440p is not really “standard” for gaming monitors, though it is becoming more popular.