The flat panel TV is essentially the exact same as a computer monitor, but there are some differences that make each device better for its respective purpose. What if you are tempted by the superior price per inch that a TV has to offer? Can a TV be used as a monitor or a display? Should you?
We’ll show you which TVs we believe are the best for this.
What to look for in a computer monitor TV
If you plan to use your TV as a monitor for your computer, then there are some features that you should look out for.
The TV should have the correct inputs. HDMI is a standard feature on all modern TVs and GPUs. You’ll have no problem getting a good picture. But if you need high-resolution and high-refresh rate, you will need HDMI 2.1. This supports 4K signals at 120Hz.
The DisplayPort standard has become the most popular in the industry. Unfortunately, HDMI 2.1 is not widely available. If 4K60 resolution is not enough, you may want to look at TVs with DisplayPort ports. If you prefer, ensure that your next GPU includes an HDMI 2.0 port.
The TV’s settings for post-processing are also important. Modern TVs perform a great deal of software magic on the image they receive before displaying. They can make an image more vivid, sharper and overall nicer to look at. Unfortunately, post-processing takes time. There is a delay in the display of the video on the screen.
It’s not an issue if you are just sitting on your couch and watching Netflix. Input lag is a problem when you are doing something interactive like moving the mouse or playing video games. Look for “PC” or “Game” mode. This will disable all post-processing and give you the fastest responsiveness. However, the image quality may suffer.
Sony X80J (43″) – The Best Budget Option $800)
The X80J is a 4K TV that’s a lot cheaper than others in the same size class. It also has the best image quality for desk use. The X80J is limited to 4K at 60Hz but, for the price, this is acceptable since TVs with 120Hz or higher that produce 4K images are more expensive.
The X80J televisions are great TVs with solid specifications, but they’re not flashy. At this price you may consider purchasing two 32″ computer screens if you are looking for screen space to be used for productivity, not gaming or movies.
Alienware 55-inch OLED Display (Approx. $3000): This is the best gaming option. $3000)
OLED is a technology that console gamers love, but it hasn’t really taken off in the world of PC monitors. Since OLEDs can’t display static content like your Windows taskbar and desktop icons, it’s probably for the best that they don’t.
If you only plan to use your TV for gaming purposes, OLED has plenty to offer. Its high contrast levels and black levels are perfect to make images stand out.
You won’t get HDMI 2.1, but you will get DisplayPort 1.4, which has both Gsync and FreeSync options. We cannot recommend the monitor for other PC uses than watching movies. You run a high risk of burning in if you browse the internet or use static UI components as you would on a regular monitor.
The best budget OLED is LG 48″ C1 (Approx. $1100) $1100)
LG 48″ C1 is another great OLED PC monitor if the Alienware OLED seems a bit too expensive (and it is). It is the most popular option for PC users that want to use their TV as a monitor.
The 48″ screen size is a bit small for a television, but it’s the maximum size that can be comfortably used at a desk. Second, OLED PC monitors, which are almost non-existent, can’t be labelled as monitors. This is the closest thing you can find.
The C1’s OLED is considered to be one of the most advanced on the market. It offers a fantastic picture quality and performance. The RTings, a group of critics known for their harsh criticisms, gave this TV an 8.9 rating when used as a monitor. Its biggest flaw is the lack of DisplayPort. However, it has HDMI 2.1 for consoles that require a high refresh rate. DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 adapters are available, but tend to be unreliable. There’s still hope that future PC GPUs will feature HDMI 2.1.
Samsung QN800A 65″ 8K (approx. $2000) $2000)
Check out our video to see if 8K gaming on PS5 and XBOX Series X is worth it. You’ll see in the video that 8K gaming is still a long way off for mainstream consoles.
If you are a PC user, this is not the case. There are a few reasons why you should consider a large 8K display. You’re looking at an enormous amount of screen real estate for productivity. Professionals who work with high resolution assets can see the larger picture.
It’s not impossible for gamers to enjoy 8K gaming with 30 or 60 frames/second on high-end systems. This is particularly true if you have an HDMI 2.1-capable card, such as the ROG Strix RTX3090. This is the best option if you want to upgrade your PC’s display from 8K to 8K.
The TVs listed here are all great, but you should keep in mind a few things if you plan to use them as PC monitors.
It can be difficult to gauge your viewing distance. PC monitors are generally not available in sizes bigger than 32″ or even 34″. Any larger size is physically difficult to use at a desk.
The screen will fill your entire visual field if you are at a standard distance from the desk. If you increase the size, then it is necessary to turn your head to view the whole screen. Content that is optimized for different viewing distances further complicates the situation.
You may be able to play PC video games at the same distance as recommended for watching movies, but you might have trouble using web browsing or apps with small text. It may be necessary to scale the UI to make it useful from a distance.
TVs are not the best choice if you plan to do any professional work that depends on color accuracy! Consider a professional monitor that is color calibrated, even if the screen size is smaller. You’re good to go as long as you have thought through these issues and found a solution for yourself.