Knowledge Base

Know The Difference: Monitor vs TV

Monitor vs TV

Short Answer

The main difference between a standard TV and a common monitor lies in screen resolution/screen size ratio and input lag. TVs are cheaper in general, but not always recommended for gaming or any other activities that will have you sitting close to the screen. If you plan on mainly watching movies, then the TV is a better and cheaper alternative.

If you’re looking into purchasing a new display for your PC or a gaming console, the first thing that you’ll notice is that for the same amount of money you can either get a 27-inch monitor or a 32-inch TV with the same resolution – for instance. There are several things to take into consideration when choosing between the two, all of which we will cover here.

Monitor vs TV for Gaming

While a bigger screen for less money may sound appealing, if you wish to combine responsive gaming and immersive movie watching experience with one fell swoop by getting a single display, a regular TV is not the way to do so. Although TVs are significantly larger than monitors within the same price range, they have a lesser screen resolution which results in pixelated image quality, especially if you’re standing close to the screen. Moreover, they have dramatically inferior input lag and response time speed.

Sitting in front of a 32-inch TV with blurry graphics, smudgy text, and laggy performance is not exactly fun while playing video games, especially competitive ones. There are some gaming TVs with reduced input lag and even higher refresh rates up to 120Hz which offer a better gameplay experience. For a more thorough comparison between gaming TVs and monitors, check out this article where we went into details about the differences between 120Hz TVs and 60Hz or even 144Hz gaming monitors.

Monitor vs TV for Everyday Use

Let’s say that you’ll be using your display mainly for watching movies and TV shows. You can easily stream content from your PC to the TV in high quality if your graphics card has an HDMI port; if it only has a DVI port, you can still use DVI to HDMI converter.

Nowadays, you can get gorgeous TVs for an affordable price that will provide you with a cinematic viewing experience while still allowing you to use your computer for basic activities such as sending e-mails, web surfing, data transfer, etc. Or, you can get a smart TV with built-in applications and Internet connection.

Moreover, if you play console games, where you don’t sit as close to the screen as you would while playing PC games, TVs offer an enjoyable and responsive casual gaming experience. For a more professional and competitive console gaming, a gaming TV or a monitor is mandatory due to the nearly twice as fast input lag performance.

The reason behind image quality difference lies in pixel density. The Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels on 27-inch screen has roughly 82 pixels per inch which is still considered somewhat pixel-y but acceptable due to an appealing price for a 27-inch monitor.

The same resolution on a 32-inch screen offers only 69 pixels per inch, hence, blurry text and low details when viewed from up close. Smaller TVs have an only 720p resolution, which is not recommended as 1080p is much better and more affordable than it is used to be.

4K TV vs 4K Monitor

At 4K UHD resolution, the dilemma continues, this time for the same money you could get, for example, either a 32-inch 4K monitor or a 43 – 49-inch 4K TV, depending on the quality of the TV. Now, it’s more about personal preference; for some, 43-inches is simply too big for PC gaming while those with 4K compatible gaming consoles surely won’t mind the extra size.

Moreover, smart TVs have numerous convenient and useful features such as Internet connection and applications. Keep in mind that the 4K TV must have HDMI 2.0 port if you wish to use 4K at 60Hz. So, unless you intend to use the display for professional editing, smooth PC gameplay, and many hours sitting closely in front of the screen, a 4K TV is the obvious choice.

There are certain 4K TVs that offer special game modes with faster input lag and response time speed. However, for professional and competitive PC gaming, they don’t come close to 144Hz or faster refresh rate monitors.

4K Monitors have recently become much more affordable as well, especially smaller models between 24 and 28 inches in size, while 32-inch 4K monitors are still pricey in comparison to 43-inch TVs. However, 4K monitors have incredibly crisp and sharp image quality due to the high pixel density and the IPS and VA panels make for otherworldly colors and details. The only downside is the expensive computer equipment that’s required for gaming at 4K which doesn’t affect casual multimedia use.

4K HDR TV vs 4K HDR Monitor

4K HDR TV vs 4K HDR Monitor

Nowadays, modern and more expensive TVs feature HDR, High Dynamic Range, which further improves the image quality by expanding color, contrast, and brightness range. Unless the TV has HDR Gaming options, players will experience severe input lag while gaming with the HDR option enabled. For movie watching and other multimedia purposes, a 4K HDR TV delivers the impeccable and flawless image quality.

4K HDR monitors are still in the works and should be released by the end of 2017. These high-end gaming monitors will entirely eliminate the input lag issues with the help of adaptive refresh rates technology. We’ve excluded OLED panels from comparisons as they are colossally more expensive and still imperfect due to burn-in and similar issues.


As it is the case with most of the technology gadgets nowadays, there isn’t a single best product for all activities, at least not at reasonable prices. In the end, if you spend most of your time watching movies, series, and playing console games, then a TV will appeal to you more than a monitor. Not only will you have a larger screen for a much more affordable price, you will have many convenient and useful features, if it’s a smart TV, such as WiFi connection and various application. On the other hand, if you mainly play computer games and spend time close to your display, then a monitor will offer you a much clearer and vibrant image quality. For competitive gaming, nothing compares to high refresh rate gaming monitors with quick response time and synchronized refreshed rates.

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