TV vs Monitor: Which One Is Best and For What?


Have you ever found yourself being pulled in either direction while making a decision to choose a TV vs monitor to manage your office requirements? Or to uplift your living room interiors? Well for years, users have been ignorant about the differences between a TV and a monitor and most of the time end up picking the wrong item for the wrong purpose. 

This article is an attempt to conclude the war of TV vs Monitor and lead you through all the information you need to know while you’re out in the market getting a new screen for your home and will enable you to make an informed decision on buying whatever of these two caters to your preference. 

The Shortest Answer

The TV is best for watching movies, sports, Netflix, and console gaming because it’s made for these purposes and they are affordable with large screens and good picture quality. On the other hand, a monitor is made for extensive tasks such as video editing, photo editing, high-end gaming, and multi-tasking; hence it comes with a higher response time, higher refresh rate, and low input lags.

TV vs Monitor for Everyday Use

There lies a very thin line of distinction between the functions performed by a TV and a monitor. Both of these share the same ports e.g. HDMI, VGA, and USB. Both of these electronic devices appear to serve the same purpose of displaying output data in the form of visuals but each of them is designed for a specific purpose.

A television can excel in providing a high-quality big-screen theatrical movie-watching experience which a monitor can’t. To solve this conundrum, we did extensive research from various sources to clearly distinguish between the features offered by a TV vs monitor.

TV vs Monitor for Everyday Use

Display Size and Immersion

When it comes to display size, TV clearly takes the win against monitors because of its diverse range of sizes. Ranging from as little as 19 inches to as gigantic as 80 inches as compared to the limited range of 15 to 50 inches provided by the monitor.

A TV, if small, can be placed on a desk, or large can be mounted on the wall for a home theater effect. On the contrary, a monitor is supposed to complement the dimensions of your workstation or your room’s tabletop for everyday use. A TV can give you a big screen at a smaller fraction of the price when compared to a monitor offering the same screen size.

While TV only comes in a standard aspect ratio of 16:9, monitors are available in three different aspect ratios namely 16:9,  21:9, and 32:9 which promises to provide a better immersion and visual space than a  tv 

Image Quality and Color Accuracy

Screen resolution and the Panel type are the two main determinants of the picture quality that your TV or the monitor has to offer. Both types of devices can support resolutions up to 8k but there happen to be slight variations in the range they have to offer. A television only comes in a 1920 x 1080 Full HD or 3840 x 2160 4K Ultra HD resolution, however, a monitor also has a third resolution known as QHD that supports a resolution of 2560 x 1440p.

Panel Type plays a key role in depicting the visual results of tv or monitor, While TV comes in a wide variety of panel types ranging from LCD, LED, OLED, and QLED, monitors are only available in LCD, LED and IPS giving them a slight backfoot in the fight of tv vs monitors. Pixel density is the ratio between screen resolution to screen size which determines the pixel per inch made available on the screen.

A 40-inch TV with 4K resolution and a 24-inch monitor with 4K resolution despite having the same number of pixels will produce more sharp and accurate results with the monitor as compared to the TV. Another feature that defines your visual experience when using a monitor or a tv is HDR, which stands for High Dynamic Range. HDR is used to display the brightest whites and the darkest blacks on your screen to ensure maximum visibility and accuracy.

This feature is mainly supported by the Television industry making it a preferable choice for watching and streaming movies but some manufacturers of monitors are also introducing HDR technology to attract their consumer market

Response Time and Input Lag

Monitors generally have a fast response time and lower input lag as compared to the TV, but this feature doesn’t hold much significance when using the monitor every day. TVs with OLED panels have a low input lag.

Refresh Rate and Adaptive Sync

Refreshing rate is the number of times a screen changes its display in one second. This feature has its fair share of importance among the gamer lot but doesn’t really make any difference if you’re getting a monitor for everyday office work. A monitor has a much faster refresh rate as compared to the TV which is usually limited from 60 to 120 Hz.

For the purpose of watching movies from a cable box or streaming online content, the refresh rate plays no role in the TV vs monitor tug of war.

Nowadays, many monitors support NVIDIA G- Sync or AMD Free-Sync technology, which increases the refresh rate by synchronizing the graphics card of your game with that of your monitor and providing you a tear-free fluid like gaming experience, similar to refresh rate and response time, this feature is also more important for gaming monitors rather than monitors serving an everyday purpose.

Connectivity and Features

This feature undeniably makes the television a winner when being used for everyday tasks like watching movies, tv shows, streaming online content, or using spreadsheets for office work. A television provides a greater number of ports as compared to a monitor.

A standard HDTV television is enriched with at least 4 HDMI ports, VGA, DVI, and a USB port that can help you to bridge the connection of TV with your computer, video box, or even a gaming console. A monitor has similar kinds of ports but in a limited amount, however, these ports can be expanded using conversion adapters.

HDMI ports are used to connect your TV or monitor to a computer, VGA and DVI can also connect your device to a computer, and USB can be used to transfer data between various devices along with providing a Chromecast connection in case of a smart television.  Additionally, television also has coaxial and an antenna port to support communication from cable and internet providers, which a monitor lacks

Purpose and Versatility

A television fulfills the purpose of providing you with high-quality quality uninterrupted entertainment while remaining on a budget, it can also be used for console gaming like Xbox and PlayStation but it has certain limitations when it comes to fast-paced highly competitive games.

A monitor, on the other hand, can be used to provide entertainment but its limited size and ports restrict its use to a certain number of people only. However, a high-end monitor is an ideal candidate for competitive and high-speed gaming for professional gamers out there.

You might be interested in: Learn how to clean and maintain your LG UltraGear Gaming Monitor with this guide.

TV vs Monitor for Gaming

After reading the points mentioned above, if you’re still going through the debacle of choosing a TV or a monitor for gaming purposes, then this section is specially designed for you. 

TV vs Monitor for Gaming

Display Size and Immersion: 

Television usually comes in a larger size as compared to gaming monitors, but most of the time the picture resolution doesn’t compliment the screen size leading to blurry and fuzzy images, a downside that can spoil your game within seconds. A large-sized TV is also a misfit on the compact desk space usually reserved for monitors. Many monitors now come with a curved display which provides a more immersive experience to its users giving them the ambient feel of being in the arena and away from reality.

Many monitor manufacturers have come up with 2D and 3D immersive displays for flawless immersion into the game, Some television manufacturers like Samsung are also trying to introduce the same technology for their TV sets.

Display Size and Immersion

Response Time and Input Lag

Response time is the time taken by a pixel to change its color from black to white to black again. A slow response time would result in ghosting of images which overall compromises the quality of your game. Both monitor and TV usually provide the same response time but It is advisable to carry out your own research and get a television with the response time mentioned on it.

A monitor with an IPS panel has a rapid response time as compared to a TV with the same IPS panel. However, OLED TV is an exception and holds the stake high in terms of response time since it is laden with technology that individually lights each and every pixel rather than using a backlight like other LED backlit monitors.

Input lag is the time taken for the input command to be displayed as an output action on the screen. Monitors have zero to minimal input lag while some televisions have an image post-processing bypass mode also known as Gaming Mod that decreases the input lag to a significant level.

Refresh Rate and Adaptive Sync:

Refresh rate plays a cardinal role in providing you with a tear-free and smooth game with no motion blurring. High-end gaming monitors can support a refresh rate of up to 360 Hz, advancement to reach above 540 Hz is underway.

Television on the other hand is stuck on a baseline rate of 60Hz which can be converted to a faux 120Hz using frame interpolation technology but this fake frame rate only deteriorates the display and gaming experience of the user. Some gaming monitors can elevate the refresh rate according to the game requirements by using NVIDIA G-Sync and AMD FreeSync technology, eliminating all sorts of screen stuttering and tearing.

Since Xbox One supports FreeSync up to 120 Hz, gaming monitors with this adaptive sync technology have now become a priority for PC as well as console gaming. Most older versions of TV do not support adaptive sync, but many high-end 4k models have now started to support G-Sync FreeSync and HDMI 2.1 VRR  

Image Quality and Color Accuracy:

While television excels in picture quality by virtue of enhanced brightness, vivid contrast, wide color gamut, and advanced HDR technology, computers also manage to tie in with their amazing pixel density and sharpness. Some televisions however can use an artificial subpixel layout technique called chroma subsampling to improve their pixel quality but this feature has been reported to cause impairments in the sharpness of display when sitting close to the screen

Audio and Connectivity:

All of the tv sets are generally equipped with built-in speakers, but when it comes to monitors there are only a few exceptions that have built-in speaker systems, but that too have had multiple complaints of being substandard. Generally, monitors require an external headphone set or your computer’s speakers to produce audio output.

TV owing to its size and utility is laden with more HDMI, USB-C, and VGA and DVI ports with an additional coaxial port as compared to a monitor, a monitor has the exact same HDMI, USB-C, DVI, and VGA port with an additional Display Port but in reduced number.

Price and Value for Gaming:

When deciding the value for money between TV vs. monitors, it all shrinks down to your preference and the type of work that’s required from them. If your priority is good picture quality, then investing in a few bugs to get an HDR tv with OLED technology would be the best idea, this would be ideal for console gaming as well and would look more appealing when situated next to a monitor having the same price.

If it is for the purpose of gaming, monitors offer features such as negligible input lack and rapid response time with a fast refresh rate giving the buyers a much more competitive edge for High-quality gaming, Even the the budgets monitors costing as low as $100 can offer enhanced refresh rates with adaptive sync that greatly improves your gaming experience.

You might be interested in: Discover tips and tricks to enhance the performance of your Dual Monitor setup.

TV vs. Monitor for Editing 

The features required for Picture/Video editing are as important as gaming when it comes to a TV vs. monitor duel, especially for photographers, videographers, and content creators.

TV vs. Monitor for Editing

Color Accuracy and Image Quality

Despite having a diverse color gamut, highly advanced HDR technology, and brightness features, the pixel density and limited aspect ratio have pushed it to the backseat when it comes to their utility for editing purposes. Monitors are available in three different types of aspect ratio with 21:9 being the most wide and providing maximum horizontal plane to edit videos.

The high pixel density of monitors gives an accurate representation of the image properties which is very necessary for photo editors

Display Size and Workspace

TV has seen an evolution in terms of its size, ranging from 15 inches to 80 inches with many budget-friendly options, but if you go for monitors, the same size will be available for a much hefty amount. For people building their career in photo and video editing, pixels and picture resolution matter more than the display size, both of which are offered in a better way by the monitors.

TV is most often bought at a size that is family-friendly and can be viewed from a distance, which means a bigger workspace is required to place the TV and computers Being compact can be easily placed on your work desk or office workspace without creating clutter 

Resolution and Pixel Density

Since monitors are relatively smaller in size than TVs, they offer a better and more sharp display at higher resolution. A 24-inch 4K monitor will produce more accurate results than a 32-inch 4K TV because of its higher pixel density and decreased image blurring. Pixel density is a feature observed more in monitors.

Viewing Angles and Ergonomics

 TV due to its large size can be either mounted on a wall or placed on a console board, or a monitor However due to its compact size can be placed either on a work desk or mounted on the wall only if it supports VESA mounts, they can also be pivoted tilted or swiveled according to our preference.

Most monitors are also equipped with an adjustable stand that can provide you with multiple viewing angles and can also help in improving the results of a multi-monitor setup

Connectivity and I/O Options

TV comes with more ports than a monitor but this feature is not a major requirement for editors, a monitor gives away much more in picture quality and image sharpness which masks its deficiency in the number of ports available

Price and Value for Editing

A 32-inch tv with high-quality HDR display is going to cost much less than a monitor available in the same size, but since editing makes better use of the features provided by the monitor so investing in a few bucks is highly recommended if you’re into editing and content creation

You might be interested in: Explore whether it’s possible for a Monitor to function independently without a PC.

When should you use a TV over a monitor?

Most, if not all TV nowadays come with different entertainment applications like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney HotStar and HBO Max already installed within them reducing the need to get it connected to an external device for entertainment purposes. If your main purpose is to watch movies and TV shows and stream online content, then you’re good to go for a TV. TVs are available at a much cheaper price as compared to the monitor of the same size.

This makes it an excellent candidate for work where you only require an extra enlarged screen like when giving presentations, or doing console gaming for example Xbox and PlayStation. Not to forget the presence of a remote control to adjust the brightness, sound, and display setting of the TV while sitting across the room. This feature will surely incline you towards purchasing a TV if your main aim is to sit back and watch movies.

When should you use a TV over a monitor

Common Problems With TVs and Monitors

Common Problems With TVs and Monitor
Common Problems With TVs
Common Problems With Monitors

Dead Pixels

A Dead pixel is a teeny tiny dot on your screen that doesn’t represent the color it is designated to, it either appears black/white or stuck on red green, or blue. The main reason for this is an interruption in the power connection that could be due to defective wiring or knocking over your display device causing physical damage to power connections

Screen Burn-in

Screen burn is a noticeable discoloration that appears on your display. This can be due to the prolonged use of certain pixels more than the others. For LCD panels, burn-in appears as colored ghosting on the screen due to the inability of the pixel to retain its original color while in the much newer OLED display, it appears as black discoloration due to much faster dimming of the pixels as compared to the ones used seldomly 

Backlight Bleeding

Also known as flashlights, this is more common in LCD panels, where a small fraction of backlight leaks through the edges and causes uneven lighting on your display

Image Retention

This is caused when an image is displayed over a longer period of time, for example, the logo of any channel or the menu button on the screen, this can be avoided by decreasing the brightness by 50% or lower to reduce the burning

Color Accuracy and Calibration

Faulty or absent calibration of the TV display setting can lead to deceptive color visualization leading you to question your own sense of judgment. White balance, color accuracy, gamma, RGB, and color temperature are a few of the parameters that need to be adjusted to ensure maximum color accuracy

Connectivity Issues

These issues with HDMI, USB, and DisplayPort mainly arise due to loose connection or might be an aftermath of short-circuiting caused by the wrong insertion of cables into their port or voltage fluctuation.

Input Lag

Most monitors and tv suffer from the problem of input lag due to a slow refresh rate, a display with a minimum refresh rate of 120 Hz is required to eliminate input lag

Flickering or Stuttering

This can be caused by defective power supply, fluctuating voltage, or loose internal and external electrical connections. Dust and debris also play a role in causing stutters

Screen Size and Viewing Angle Limitations

A big screen size despite captivating and showing a wide field of vision can take a toll on your neck muscles and cause easy fatigability. The viewing angle is the angle at which the image on the TV starts to become distorted. Usually monitors with an IPs panels are provided with a wide viewing angle enabling the user to view the same picture from any direction.

You might be interested in: Understand the significance of Monitor Response Time in your display.

Why Monitors Are Better Than TVs for Gaming

Why Monitors Are Better Than TVs for Gaming

Faster Response Time

The pixels in a monitor change their color more rapidly from black to white to black again as compared to that of a TV hence depicting a fast response time 

Lower Input Lag

Monitors have insignificant input lag which makes them ideal for playing games.

Higher Refresh Rates

Monitors have a higher refresh rate reaching up to 360hz, hence promising a fluid-, like smooth gaming 

Adaptive Sync Technologies

The NVIDIA G-Sync and AMD FreeSync have made it possible to improve the refresh rate to another level giving you a competitive edge over the others

Better Image Quality and Color Accuracy

The exceptional pixel density provided a more accurate and sharp visualization of the gaming arena

Gaming-Specific Features

Monitors usually have special game modes designed within them that enable you to customize the game according to your liking 

Size and Ergonomics

Monitors come with a stand and can be moved in any direction as per your liking, this plays an important role in decreasing fatigue and protecting your vision from excessive strain.

You might be interested in: Learn about the distinctions between 60Hz and 120Hz Monitors and their impact on your experience.


Why is a monitor cheaper than a TV?

A monitor supporting a refresh rate of 120 Hz is cheaper than a TV offering the same frame rate since it consumes less electricity and power and doesn’t add to your increased electrical expenditure.

Can I use a 32-inch TV as a monitor?

Yes, But it depends more on the type of function you need to perform, Since it supports a standard resolution of 1920 x 1080, it is recommended for streaming movies, performing regular office work, or for games that are not fast-paced provided you are sitting at a distance of 1.5 times the diagonal size of your screen and using an HDMI connection.

Is A TV better than a monitor?

If your purpose it to sit back and binge on movies or get yourself into the arena of console gaming then TV is the perfect choice without burning a hole in your pocket, but if you’re a fast-paced highly competitive professional game fanatic, then a highly responsive monitor with fast refresh rate and low input lag is recommended.

What is a good size for a monitor?

A size ranging from 22 to 24 inches is usually recommended and favorable for performing various tasks at a time. It provides sharp and accurate visuals with an ideal 1440p resolution along with being compact and easily fitting in the workplace.

Can I use a full HD TV as a monitor?

Yes, You can definitely use an HDTV as a monitor provided it has an HDMI port. For older models lacking this port or having a VGA or DVI port, you can always use an adapter to convert the data.

What is the lifespan of a monitor vs. TV?

While the average lifespan of a TV is 4-8 years, computers can last for as long as 10 years.

Can I use my 4K TV as a monitor?

Yes, You can use 4K tv as a monitor if you use a graphic card supporting HDMI 2.0 or above which gives 4K resolution at a refresh rate of 60 Hz, or HDMi 2.1 which gives 4K at 120 HZ.

End Note

There are many instances where you can use a monitor instead of a TV or vice versa, but there are certain limitations where the roles of these two can’t be switched. These limitations define the true purpose of these devices and give one device an edge over the other.

While TV can be used for hardcore competitive gaming, similarly a monitor can’t be used to watch cable TV due to its deficiency in auto tuner. It is hence safe to say that the argument of TV vs monitor can never be put to rest since every year either one of the devices is coming up with a new technology installed within them giving the other one a backfoot, but with the current market competition each device has managed to secure its own place among the consumers.

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