Can I use My TV as a Monitor?
Updated: Jul 23
A few years back, the lines between a TV and a computer monitor were clearly drawn, and no one could confuse one for the other. Now though, the lines are beginning to blur, and it has become relatively easy to replace one with the other. So - can you actually use your TV as a computer monitor? Let's dive right in.
The short answer - yes, you can. You may need a special cable, depending on your PC’s outputs and your HDTV’s inputs, and you’ll need to check a couple of settings, but you shouldn’t have too much trouble hooking most modern PCs up to most modern HDTVs. HDMI is the industry standard for video signals, and you’ll find them on nearly every device that outputs video, TV included. Some older HDTVs have DVI inputs, and some even have VGA inputs specifically designated for “PC use.” If your graphics card has an HDMI output, you’re good to go: Just use an HDMI cable to connect your PC to your HDMI.
However, should you use your TV as your monitor? In summary, it depends largely on what you use your computer for. If you are using your computer for regular tasks, you should probably use a monitor instead of a TV. However, if you are mainly using your computer for entertainment purposes, you can use a TV as your monitor.
This comes down to the key function of convenience and comfort. If you are using your computer for work, you may come to find that that big screen TV is not the most ideal. While a computer monitor only requires you to move your eyes to scan an entire page, a bigger TV screen would require you to work harder to see the whole page. Ideally, your eye level should be in line two to three inches below the top edge of your monitor.
On the other hand, If you are using your PC for streaming, gaming, and other entertainment purposes, it might make sense to use your TV as a monitor. Just as long as your TV has the right resolution, pixel density, input lag, response time, and refresh rate.
For your TV to be a proper substitute for a monitor, you need to make sure the resolution and pixel density match your computer.. Resolution refers to the dimensions of your screen in pixels, while pixel density is the number of pixels per inch. A TV and a computer monitor can have the same resolution. However, when you use a larger TV, your image quality might appear pixelated, especially for smaller texts. Furthermore, TVs commonly have a lower pixel density than laptops, making the display less sharp and clear on screen.
3. Input Lag
Monitors are made for interactivity, in order for you to switch between your laptop and monitor instantly in real time. Monitors can do this because they typically have a very low input lag. However TVs will have a higher input lag. While this might not seem significant, the slower connectivity rate can become a little annoying if you’re using it for extended periods of time. For instance, you may feel a delay between moving your mouse around and seeing it move on the screen, which can be disorienting.
4. Colour compression
This refers to your screen reducing the size of an image, resulting in lower picture quality. Most TVs compress images more than monitors, which will mostly go unnoticed if you’re using it to watch movies from a comfortable distance. The problem arises when you’re sitting right up close, as you may notice the image blurring, especially when you’re trying to read text. To avoid this, you should make sure the specs of your TV are compatible with your computer, or change your TV’s picture settings to ‘computer’ to enable proper 4:4:4 colour.
Is it Worth It?
Evidently, there are several differences between a monitor and a HDTV. There’s no harm trying to connect your computer to a TV you already own to see if it works for you. Should you buy a TV as a monitor? Well, we would recommend sticking to the tried and tested computer monitor. But if it suits your needs and you can match the respective specs to each other, then we don't see why not.