The thought may have crossed your mind to use a smart TV as a computer display since their prices continue to decrease while their quality rises. However, depending on how you want to utilize the device, you may be missing out on the finest viewing experience imaginable. So, what differences exist between computer monitors and televisions? Although both may appear to serve the same purpose, TVs and monitors are not the same. For example, monitors offer a higher resolution and refresh rate, while smart TVs include built-in streaming and are generally brighter than regular televisions. However, each of the several displays has its benefits and drawbacks.

Monitors and televisions vary primarily in their size and resolution. A monitor is smaller and more powerful than a television, but a TV is more accessible and less expensive than a computer display.

The computer monitor is an output device that serves as a visual representation of data. Though originally designed for data processing, computer displays were also utilized for entertainment as technology advanced.

On the other hand, a television (or TV, or Smart TV) is a kind of electronic gadget primarily used for entertainment, wherein moving pictures are broadcast (in either monochrome or color). Televisions are such a common household electronic device, in fact, that approximately 83 percent of the world’s homes possess at least one television-connected device as of January 2022. A wide range of media is aired on television, from sitcoms and films to sports and news broadcasts. Additionally, there are several types of televisions available, including LCD, LED, and OLED.

For the most part, monitors and televisions vary in size and resolution. But which one is better? The answer might just lie in what you’re using it for.

Monitors vs Televisions (TVs): Side-by-Side Comparison

Here are a few key comparisons between monitors and televisions:

MonitorTV
Meaning/ Definition:An output device that plays the role of portraying information in visual form.An electronic device used as an audiovisual medium for entertainment.
Size:Most monitors range in size from 15″ to 50″.Most televisions range in size from 32″ to 85″
Resolution:Monitors are known for their high resolution, and typically have more pixels per inch than televisions. Common monitor resolutions include 720p, 1080p, 1440p, 4k, and 8k.Both televisions and computer monitors have resolution rates up to 8k, but televisions are typically less sharp. They generally have fewer pixels per inch.
Input Jacks:Most current monitors accommodate multiple inputs.Most current TV models have 4 HDMI inputs to accommodate the connection for game consoles, Blueray players, etc.
Tuner:Absent. Monitors do not possess integrated tuners.Present. All televisions have a government-mandated digital tuner.

Monitors vs Televisions (TVs): What’s the Difference?

The technology that drives monitors and televisions is nearly identical. However, if you’re trying to substitute one for the other, you may run into issues. For some, the substitution may not make for a drastic change in viewing. For gamers or those in detailed creative fields such as video editing, the difference can be immense.

Refresh Rate

Relative to televisions, monitors typically have a greater refresh rate, which is how many times per second your monitor or television can recalibrate and display a new image. And when you’re video editing or playing a fast-paced game, every second of the frame can make a difference.

Genuine Colors  

Monitors generally offer better color reproduction than televisions, which equates to more vivid and precise images. When it comes to televisions, color accuracy is vital to your overall picture quality, but minor inaccuracies are not typically as obvious given the distance between the television and the viewer.

Sound and Audio

In most cases, televisions come with a built-in speaker system, while most monitors rely on your computer’s speakers or external headphones for audio.

A monitor generally has fewer inputs than a television. To accommodate a wide range of video equipment, TVs often offer more input/output choices than monitors. Televisions commonly have three to four HDMI inputs, while monitors most commonly possess inputs including HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C. Some monitors also offer inputs such as DVI and VGA for the connection of older devices.

Screen Size

gaming monitor
While the technology behind monitors and televisions is closely related, there can be noticeable differences in the quality of everything from refresh rate to color reproduction.

Sometimes the cliché is true: size matters. And when it comes to monitors vs televisions, the latter reigns supreme! A TV may be as little as a watch or big enough to cover your living room wall, though the most common television sizes range from 32 to 85 inches. Alternately, monitors most often range from 15 to 50 inches. Since a bigger screen means a better viewing experience and televisions have the added benefit of being mounted directly to your wall, it’s safe to say TVs are the clear winner when it comes to sheer size.

But hear us out.

Monitors are made for gaming, so their aspect ratios (height vs width) tend to be more flexible. In other words, there are both narrower and wider options available relative to television, which tend to stick to the standard 16:9 ratio. Monitors also offer high-definition displays with greater pixel density. For example, a 40-inch 4k TV and a 24-inch 4k monitor have the same number of pixels. Because there are more pixels per inch, your monitor experience will undoubtedly be better. Due to its smaller size, the monitor will provide a sharper picture. Additionally, some computer monitors also come with curved displays, which mimic the curve of the human eye. This allows for a wider area of the screen to be seen at any given time. This type of screen is ideal for gamers who are looking for a greater field of vision. Some studies even show that curved monitors can reduce eye strain!

Monitors vs Televisions (TVs): Five Must-Know Facts

  • The main difference between monitors and televisions lies in the screen types. TVs come in LCD, LED, OLED, and QLED, while monitors come in LCD, LED, and IPS.
  • Monitors experience less input lag and a higher refresh rate than televisions.
  • Generally speaking, televisions boast a 16:9 aspect ratio (widescreen), while monitors offer a range of aspect ratios.
  • Though there are certainly exceptions to the rule, monitors typically cost more than televisions when it comes to a direct size per price point comparison.
  • Televisions most often have a 60Hz refresh rate, while 120Hz is a popular option for gaming monitors, which often have up to a 360Hz refresh rate.

Which Should You Buy: A Monitor or a Television?

If you’re an advanced gaming guru, the answer to this question is clear-cut: start your monitor shopping pronto. With lower input lag, higher refresh rates, and a faster response time, they’re dreamy when it comes to fast-paced action sequences. The exception to this rule might be super high-end TVs such as OLED, which have advanced pixel technology and wider viewing angles, making them more gaming compatible.

If you don’t fancy yourself a serious gamer, or you simply use your monitor to watch the newest season of Stranger Things, TVs have a greater size range and they tend to be more affordable.

Monitors vs Televisions (TVs): What’s the Difference? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is a monitor the same as a TV?

Their purpose differs. Monitors are built for close-up desk viewing and are most often connected to external hardware such as a computer. Televisions are made for viewing from farther away and are typically stand-alone devices.

What are the pros and cons of using a television instead of a monitor for gaming?

While this may not be a comprehensive list, here are a few pros and cons of using a television, rather than a monitor, for gaming purposes:

Pros:

  • TVs come in LCD, LED, OLED, and QLED
  • They can be wall-mounted
  • They have a greater size range
  • They are typically more affordable

Cons:

  • More input lag
  • Lower refresh rate
  • They do not tend to offer the variety of aspect ratios relative to monitors
  • They tend to need replacement more often  than monitors

Which is better, a television or a computer monitor?

Monitors have lower input latency, greater refresh rates, and faster response times than TVs (though there are exceptions such as OLED TVs), making them better for an elevated gaming experience. Televisions, however, offer a greater size range, making them the better choice for movie-watching.

Which has a better refresh rate, a television or a monitor?

Monitors have greater refresh rates than televisions. Gaming monitors can have a refresh rate of up to 390Hz while televisions are generally limited to 60 or 120Hz.

Does a television or monitor have a higher resolution?

Resolutions of up to 8k are available on both TVs and monitors. The main distinctions lie in the screen types.