Can you use TV as a computer monitor

With a good amount of money you have invested, you must have definitely at some point or the other thought about connecting it to your PC or laptop to use as a computer monitor. Let’s have a detailed look at whether it is possible, and if so what is the best way to connect it to your PC or laptop and use your TV as a computer monitor. 

Can you use a TV as a computer monitor?

Yes, most modern smart TVs can be used as computer monitors either by connecting through an HDMI cable or through casting using Google Chromecast or Miracast. But the performance and result are unmatchable and there need to be certain considerations before using your television set as a monitor for your computer or laptop. There are some clearer differences between the two which make one of them better than the other. Let’s discuss each of the aspects in more detail in this article.

Why use a TV as a monitor? (pros)

The reason to use a TV as a monitor can be different for different users, here are some of the reasons we think people like to use TV as a display for their computer:

  1. One of the primary reasons to use a TV as a monitor is to save space and use the single screen for multiple purposes. TV also produces color more accurately and optimizes color reproduction better than usual computer monitors.
  2. Saves money, no need to buy a separate monitor.
  3. TVs are highly advanced and can sometimes offer far better clarity and vision compared to a computer display.
  4. TVs are equipped with better speakers, so for entertainment purposes, a computer can be connected to a PC to enjoy favorite movie or game.
  5. Can also be used by users who occasionally need to view their work on larger screens.
  6. A TV connected to a computer can also be used for the purpose of presentation as people can easily view the presentation on a larger screen, and it is also convenient for the presenter.
  7. Can be used as a secondary screen for the purpose of sharing or to test your work in different orientations (portrait vs landscape).

 

Why not to use a TV as a monitor? (cons)

We have had enough reasons to use a TV as a computer monitor, but there are other reasons which you should consider before jumping on to any conclusions.

  1. Computer monitors are created to be used from a closer distance, you cannot and should not view a TV at an arm’s length. The color reproduction in a computer monitor is optimized for viewing it from short distances. 
  2. Computer monitors have more pixels per inch compared to a TV, which makes it ideal to display texts as well along with images other graphics. You can observe that text and fine lines appear better on a computer monitor than on a TV. While Televisions are designed to display images and graphics better than a computer monitor.
  3. When a TV is connected to a computer it produces images with a lag, which can be strenuous to your eyes.
  4. The size of a computer monitor is well balanced to display all the output optimally, and give better view from shorter distance.
  5. Due to the image reproduction lag, it is not advisable for gamers to use their TV as a computer monitor. While computer monitors are created to identify the fast response of gamer’s movement and reproduce it on the screen. 
  6. Good quality computer monitors come with technologies like Low Blue Light and Flicker-free technology, which is not found in a TV screen, which makes it possible to work for long hours on a computer monitor.
  7. Computer monitors offer good and easy connectivity to a computer as compared to a TV, with ports like HDMI, DP, VGA, and USB.
  8. Monitor manufacturers offer dedicated software to configure multiple screen setup or split-view setup, for example, Dell’s Easy Arrange or ViewSonic vDisplay Manager. Using these drivers or software you can also configure optimal refresh rates on a computer monitor, which is missing in most TV screens.

 

Specifications to Consider to use TV as Monitor

We need to understand that the two types of displays are made for specific usage and application, hence there are obviously some technical differences in a TV screen and a computer monitor. If you are considering using your television display as a computer monitor you should consider the technical specifications to get the best results and performance.

Resolution and Pixels Per Inch (PPI): It refers to the number of pixels your display device can accommodate within an inch’s space. A lower pixel density means less clear and more blurred images. The viewing becomes more problematic when the user is closer to the display. Since a few years back this was a major concern to use TV as a monitor as they have less PPI compared to computer monitor. A 32 inches TV with a 1920 x 1080 resolution can have a PPI of anywhere between 70 to 100, while a 16-inch computer monitor with the same resolution will have a PPI of about 115. So you should find a perfect balance and set the resolution accordingly.

Display Input Lag: TV monitors produce a lagged display when connected to a computer because primarily they are not made to be used on computers. The frames produced have to go through the computer’s graphics processor and then have to undergo the processing within the TV’s processing unit, hence the lag. Also, the lag depends on the type of connectivity. You can find your TV’s input lag in the monitor specification section of the product manual, and you can also search about it online. Usually, the input lag of a TV lies between 15 ms to 40 ms, and it is recommended to use a TV with an input lag of fewer than 20 milliseconds for best results.

Refresh Rate: You will find most modern TV screens with a refresh rate of 60 Hz, but high motion action gaming might require a refresh rate of 120Hz, 144Hz, or even 240Hz. Before buying a TV to double it up as a computer monitor you are advised to check the maximum refresh rate that your TV display supports. Some TV sets use post-processing technology which technically uses additional black frames between the actual frames to increase the refresh rate, which is not considered best for the purpose of gaming.

Connectivity: To get the best results you should check about the ports to be used for connectivity. The best results can be achieved using HDMI or DisplayPort for sharp and clear images.

Display Technology: IPS is considered the best technology to be used for a computer display, as it is easier on the eyes and optimizes the color and image reproduction results.

Response Rate: It is the rate at which pixels on a display are able to change colors, which is faster on computer monitors than on TV sets. However, on the latest HDMI smart TVs you can find a gaming mode where the response rates are increased.

Color Accuracy: TVs use filters, that is why you must have observed that the graphics are richer in colors on Television as compared to computer monitors, which shows more accurate colors. If you intend to use TV as a computer monitor please check if it has a feature to produce more accurate colors or the ability to turn off filters.

VESA Compatibility: If you are planning to set up the TV on a monitor stand or a mounting arm or wall mount, it should have VESA compatible brackets to screw it on the VESA plate. 

How to Connect a Computer to a TV Screen?

Using Wires or Cables

The best and convenient way possible is to connect using an HDMI cable, provided your computer as well as your TV as HDMI ports, you will find one if most of the modern-day Television sets. You will just need an HDMI cable to connect and you can go to your display settings to configure the way you want to use it. Another alternative is the DisplayPort connectivity. The benefit of HDMI or DP is that audio and video are also transmitted over the same

Video Ports

 cable, while on DVI or VGA port you might have to connect the separate cable for audio using an audio jack.

If you are using an old computer your CPU must be having a DVI (Digital Visual Interface) port, in that case, you will have to connect through a DVI-HDMI cable, where one end of the cable has a DVI connectivity and the other end offer HDMI connection port. If your computer and TV have VGA ports we recommend that you upgrade your graphics card, as it will give hazy, blurred, and highly lagging images at lower resolutions.

Wireless Connection between TV and Computer:

Wireless connection is possible if you have a smart TV. Most smart TVs have the option of WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. To do this you have to go to the ‘Display Settings’ on your computer or laptop and click on “Connect to Wireless Display”. It will display the list of available screen options, click on the desired screen and the output will start displaying on the TV screen. Just make sure that your computer and TV screen are connected to the same WiFi network. Alternately, you can use a WIreless Adapter if your TV doesn’t have an inbuilt wireless connectivity feature or use Miracast or any other similar device.

Once the connection is established you need to make certain configurational changes to get the best viewing experience. The first step is to know what is the compatible resolution for your TV monitor, and you need to change the resolution accordingly from the display settings of your computer. Follow these steps:

  1. Display settings
  2. Advanced Display Settings
  3. Select the resolution from Dropdown 
  4. Click on Apply
  5. A preview will be displayed, you can keep the updated settings or revert to earlier settings

Similarly, you should change the refresh rate to match the refresh rate supported by your monitor. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Should I Buy a Monitor or a TV for My Computer?

We don’t suggest outrightly replacing a computer monitor with a TV. We have specified the reasons in one of the sections above. You can definitely use it occasionally for specific purposes like presentations, entertainment, etc. 

Is it good to use a TV screen as a computer monitor for office work?

It could not be a wise decision to use TV screen as a permanent replacement. Firstly, the TV screen doesn’t recreate colors with high accuracy. Secondly, the TV produces blurred images of text content. TV monitors are harmful to eyes to use for longer durations, as required for work. 

Why computer monitors are costlier than TV sets, even though they are smaller in size?

Computer monitors are smaller in size and have lower resolutions when compared to TV sets, even then they are costlier than TV sets of larger size. The reason is the technology used in creating the monitors. The chipsets used in computer monitors are high-end that supports higher refresh rate, better response time, and produce accurate graphics. The lifespan of computer monitors is also higher than TV screens. The computer monitors are made of highly durable material compared to TV as they are placed on computer desks and hence more prone to harsher treatments and more frequent place change. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of when to use and when not to use a TV screen instead of the computer monitor. Also, as we suggested a TV screen is not a permanent replacement for the computer monitor due to technical and practical restrictions. But you can use it occasionally in case of emergency or for some specific purpose like presentation, entertainment, etc. If you are purchasing a TV screen with an intention to use it to connect with your computer or laptop you can cross-check some tech specifications to get most of it as discussed above.

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I work from home. To do the best possible job I need the right accessories - the right desk, the right chair, the right keyboard, the right monitor, etc. When I work I want to feel comfortable. I review everything that's related to home desk setup - focusing on Monitors & Keyboards.

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