7 Reasons to Never Use Your TV as a Computer Monitor

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7 Reasons to Never Use Your TV as a Computer Monitor

Key Points

  • Using a TV as a computer monitor is not ideal due to differences in optimal viewing distances and lower DPI values.
  • TVs have input lag, lower refresh rates, and are harder to set up compared to computer monitors.
  • Gaming on a TV is not recommended due to input lag and latency issues.
  • TVs are not optimized for reducing eye strain and may have less-than-desirable color optimization.
  • TVs consume more energy than computer monitors, making them more costly in the long run.

It’s tempting to plug your computer or laptop into a TV screen and use it as a monitor. Who wouldn’t want a bigger screen, right? But even though TVs have their advantages, they are not ideal for computer use. Besides the advantage of a bigger screen, using your TV as a computer monitor also has some disadvantages.

Below, we’ll not only list all the reasons why you shouldn’t use your TV as a computer monitor but also show you some great monitors you can buy today, so let’s break it down!

Differences Between a Monitor and a TV Screen

The main difference between a monitor and a TV screen is the building process. The screen of a monitor outputs a source directly from a computer, while the TV outputs all kinds of content and entertainment from various inputs and devices. You can say that while they appear to do the same thing, they provide two different purpose types.

Televisions tend to focus on displaying entertainment, including visual and audio enhancements, while monitors provide benefits that fit operating purposes. A gaming monitor has enhanced graphics and technology to provide the best brightness and contrast ratio for gaming, while an office monitor primarily provides sharp, accurate images and colors.

Another big difference is size, which makes it difficult to use a TV as a computer monitor, even though it might be tempting to do so. You would have to be much farther away from the TV to avoid straining your eyes, which could make such a system useless for your needs.

7 Reasons to Never Use Your TV as a Computer Monitor

There are more disadvantages than advantages when it comes to using your TV as a computer monitor. Most of the reasons are similar and add up to a combination of reasons that don’t work the way you thought they would.

Issues with Optimal Viewing

TVs are large because they are viewed from a distance, while computer screens are viewed from a much closer distance. The viewing distances between the two are enormous, and even if you can connect your computer to a TV screen, that doesn’t mean you should.

The only case where it would be ideal is for streaming video. But office work and gaming would only strain your eyes more, and despite the larger screen, it wouldn’t be as comfortable as with a quality monitor.

Lower DPI

DPI stands for dots per inch and is a measure of how many pixels per inch are visible on a display. The higher the DPI value, the better the picture quality. The reason for this is that televisions have a much lower DPI value compared to computer monitors.

If you connect a computer to a TV screen and choose to do office work, reading, or studying, you will struggle with blurry text due to the lower DPI value. And although most computers and TV screens support high resolutions like 2K and 4K, the combination of a high resolution and a lower DPI screen will strain your eyes even more.

Input Lag and Lower Refresh Rate

If you have already tried connecting your computer to a TV screen, you could notice an immediate input lag when you move the cursor. TVs have to process many more signals, which increases latency. Often, TVs have a latency of 50 to 100ms compared to a normal computer monitor.

This makes some TVs unusable because you’d deal with lag the whole time. In addition, a low refresh rate slows down the visual motion on top of the increased latency.

Harder to Setup

It can be very difficult to fit a TV into your setup as a monitor. TVs are much larger than monitors and no matter how thin they are, they still won’t fit on a standard desk. You should find an optimal position that keeps your body straight, sits you comfortably, and gives you a good viewing angle of the screen at the same time. A computer monitor not only brings better quality but is also easier to integrate into your existing computer system.

Not Ideal for Gaming

With input lag, high latency, and a low refresh rate, you can forget about gaming on your TV. In theory, a bigger screen would make gaming much more enjoyable, but in reality, you’ll struggle with less desirable specs.

Gaming won’t be as fun even on some of the latest TVs. That’s why there are many high-quality gaming monitors available with improved technology. You can also find OLED gaming monitors that combine the experience of watching content on TV and playing games on one monitor.

Increased Eye Strain

Computer monitors are better equipped to combat eye strain with filters that can eliminate excessive blue light, while most TVs are not optimized to reduce eye strain. Watching TV doesn’t put much strain on your eyes, but trying to read a text and focus on the image on the screen will put more strain on your eyes and you’ll feel it.

Less-than-Desirable Color Optimization

TVs are optimized to deliver the best images for visual content such as movies, sports, TV series, and more. While the images and colors are ideal for streaming and watching entertaining content, the colors would be a bit off if you use the TV as a computer monitor. You’ll notice the difference immediately when you connect your computer to a TV display. Some TVs have visual modes that are suitable for different types of content but they may not be as accurate and optimized as the colors on a computer screen.

More Energy Consumption

TVs consume much more power than computer monitors, and the difference in power consumption depends on the size and the display panel of the TV. The difference can be huge, meaning it could cost you a lot more to use your TV as a computer monitor than to invest in a quality computer monitor.

Even some of the most energy-efficient TVs use more energy than a decent computer monitor. This may not be everyone’s concern, but if you’re paying attention to how much you’re paying for your electricity, it’s best to think long-term and buy a decent computer monitor.

How to Switch Screens on Windows
No matter what you do on your computer monitor, you’ll want to avoid TVs due to their poorer specs.

The Best Computer Monitors: Alternatives to Using a TV

Samsung UJ59 32” 4K

Top Specs
SAMSUNG UJ59 Series 32-Inch 4K UHD Computer Monitor
  • 32-inch 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160p)
  • 4x the pixels of Full HD
  • Enjoy photos, videos & games in stunning 4K
  • Supports a billion shades of colors
  • The UHD upscaling technology includes signal analysis and detail enhancement that seamlessly upconverts SD, HD, and Full HD content to near UHD-level picture quality
  • With 8.3 million pixels supporting a wide range of colors and resolving every image with astonishing clarity, UHD gives you a wider view for a truly thrilling and immersive gaming experience
  • AMD FreeSync synchronizes the refresh rate of your graphics card & monitor to reduce image tear & stutter
  • Low Input Lag Mode minimizes the delay between mouse, keyboard, or joystick input and onscreen response for smooth gaming
  • HDMI, DisplayPort
  • EyeSaver/Flicker Free Mode
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01/16/2024 02:58 pm GMT

The Samsung UJ59 is an ideal computer monitor for office work, entertainment, and even light gaming, offering a native 4K resolution on a 32-inch screen with a high DPI.

The UJ59 is a widescreen UHD computer monitor that supports a billion shades of color for realistic, vivid, and accurate images, making it ideal for working with photos and videos. This computer monitor is also ideal for gaming as it features FreeSync technology that reduces flickering and tearing for smoother viewing.

The only downside of this monitor is its low refresh rate of 60Hz, but it’s still better than a TV, especially considering its very affordable price.

Corsair XENEON

Great for Gaming
Corsair XENEON FLEX 45WQHD240 Gaming Monitor
  • 45-inch OLED WQHD (3,440 x 1,440p) bendable display
  • 240Hz refresh rate
  • 0.03ms GtG response time
  • NVIDIA G-Sync-compatible
  • AMD FreeSync Premium
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01/17/2024 09:50 am GMT

The Corsair XENEON is a 45-inch OLED monitor that supports UHD resolution, offers a high refresh rate, ultra-low response time, and gaming-oriented features like G-Sync, making it an ideal monitor for gaming.

Even though this monitor is a bit more expensive, it’s still a great pick because it uses OLED technology, which is in a 45-inch monitor that comes with additional gaming features that make the graphics stand out. With a refresh rate of 240Hz, a response time of 0.03ms, and compatibility with G-Sync and FreeSync, you’ll never experience input lag again.


Best Budget-Friendly Pick
ASUS VA27EHE 27” Monitor
  • 27" Full HD (1,920 x 1,080p) IPS display
  • 75Hz Adaptive-Sync
  • HDMI
  • D-Sub Frameless
  • Black
  • Eye Care
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01/17/2024 09:50 am GMT

If you’re on a budget and looking for a computer monitor that avoids all of the issues with TVs, the ASUS VA27EHE is ideal because it’s designed to protect your eyes.

The ASUS VA27EHE features ASUS Eye Care technology, which eliminates flicker and reduces blue light so you don’t feel any eye strain. It’s a 27” monitor with a Full HD resolution based on the IPS display panel that offers accurate colors and sharp details with a wide viewing angle. It is a very affordable but high-quality monitor that is ideal for all daily tasks.

Wrapping Up

Using your TV as a computer monitor is not even recommended as a temporary solution as it is only suitable for streaming content. Any other kind of work will cause you more problems than solutions, and in some cases, it would be a useless combination.

Luckily, there are many good computer monitors for all kinds of purposes so you can expect an optimized and balanced experience whether you’re working in the office, streaming content, playing games, or working on visual edits like photography or videography.

Precise colors, crystal-clear details, and reduced eye strain are just some of the benefits that come with a high-quality computer monitor, and it’s a highly recommended option in the long run.

Summary Table

Issues with Optimal ViewingTVs are large and meant to be viewed from a distance, which can strain your eyes when used as a computer monitor.
Lower DPITVs have a lower DPI value compared to computer monitors, which can result in blurry text and strained eyes.
Input Lag and Lower Refresh RateTVs have higher latency and lower refresh rates, which can cause noticeable lag when used as a computer monitor.
Harder to SetupTVs are larger than monitors and can be difficult to fit into a standard desk setup.
Not Ideal for GamingDue to input lag, high latency, and a low refresh rate, gaming on a TV can be less enjoyable.
Increased Eye StrainMost TVs are not optimized to reduce eye strain like computer monitors are.
Less-than-Desirable Color OptimizationTVs are optimized for visual content like movies and TV shows, not for computer use, which can result in off colors.
More Energy ConsumptionTVs consume more power than computer monitors, which can result in higher electricity costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a TV screen good for streaming content?

Yes, one case you can use a TV screen as a computer monitor is to stream content. TV is optimized to bring the best possible visuals so it’s a good fit for streaming content.

Why is OLED such a good choice for both TVs and computer monitors?

OLED provides one of the best visuals among all other display panels. It’s a technology that is also being used on smaller computer screens.

Would you feel eye strain by using a TV as a computer monitor?

Yes, most likely you would due to a couple of reasons. One of the most important ones is the distance between you and the TV and fewer pixels, but even the input lag is also a big issue.

Is gaming better on a TV than on a computer screen?

While you might benefit from a larger screen by using the TV, you should be careful of the input lag, lower refresh rate, and visuals that might not be optimized for gaming yet for movies. So, a gaming computer screen will always be a better option than a TV.

Are computer screens more expensive than a TV?

No, in most cases, a good computer screen won’t cost you as much as a quality TV would.

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