Gaming Monitor vs TV

Deciding between a monitor or TV for your gaming screen can be a difficult decision. There are many aspects which separate the two and many benefits to both. Any gaming platform, whether you play on a PC or a console, you can choose to use either a monitor or a TV as a display. If you want, you could even use a projector to screen your gameplay.

There are many questions to ask yourself about your gaming rig before deciding on either a gaming monitor or a TV.

View The Ultimate Gaming Monitor Guide

Screen Size

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Screen size is the main argument gamers use to choose either a gaming monitor or a TV. Most gaming monitors are between 21 inches and 27 inches whereas TVs are much larger – some over 100 inches. But is bigger really better? In a word no, the smaller size of a gaming monitor doesn’t really matter. Most gamers using a monitor will be an arm’s length away, whereas gamers rigged up to a TV normally sit 3-4ft away from the screen.

The main benefit – and why some gamers will choose a TV over a gaming monitor – larger screens are more enjoyable to play split-screen multiplayer games. Details tend to get lost while playing split-screen on a gaming monitor as they cannot compete in size.

Resolution

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Arguably the most important aspect of any screen is the display resolution. Higher resolution screens have more pixels on the screen, resulting in a smoother gameplay and clearer picture quality. There are three different types of gaming monitor resolution:

  • 1080p Full HD
  • 1440p QHD/2K
  • 2160p UHD/4K

There are also three different types of TV resolutions:

  • 1080p Full HD
  • 2160p UHD/4K
  • 4320p UHD/8K

The main difference being the large gap between Full HD and 4K, there is no in-between product to suit smaller budgets and gamers that want mid-level resolution. This is a problem, especially as 1440p/QHD/2K is becoming the standard monitor resolution size for the average PC gamer.

That being said, 4K is more widely common in TVs, meaning that a 4K TV is more affordable and there are more choices than for 4K gaming monitors.

Response Time

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Response time determines how quickly a pixel can change from black to white or from one shade of grey to another.

Low response times equal smooth movements and better-quality images, whereas long response times often result in motion burs and potential ghosting from where the pixels cannot change from one colour to another in time.

There are two types of panel technology used in gaming monitors, 1ms IPS panels and 4ms TN panels. TVs have an overall higher response time as they are not designed with gaming in mind, instead, their intended application is multimedia.

It is difficult to directly compare gaming monitors and TV response times as TV manufacturers don’t tend to disclose the response time. Usually, they tend to be over 10ms, but there is no way to be sure.

Connectors

Connectors

The main difference between the design of gaming monitors and TVs is the connectors.

Monitors tend to have:

  • DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • DVI
  • 5mm audio input
  • 5mm audio output
  • USB Ports

TVs tend to have:

  • HDMI, exclusively and normally more than one
  • USB
  • 5mm headphone jack
  • TOSLINK, for Hi-Fi speakers
  • Coaxial connector
  • SCART
  • Composite input
  • Component input
  • Ethernet Port

The main differences being, TVs exclusively use HDMI, not DisplayPorts. If you are looking for the best gaming cables to assist your gaming set-up, check out our cables guide.

Additional questions many people ask before deciding on either a gaming monitor or TV include:

Is using a TV as a monitor bad for your eyes?

Years ago, there were many public service announcements about keeping children a minimum of two feet away from the TV because of the harm they could do on eyes. This fear came from TVs being slightly radioactive in the 50s and 60s but has become a myth since then.

While today’s LCDs and plasma flat screens do not emit any electronic emissions - which used to cause harm to vision – staring at a TV can cause eye strain and fatigue. These occur more when sitting particularly close, gaming in the dark and when watching from odd angles.

Gaming monitors are much kinder on the eyes than any TV, many applications that reduce the blue-light level and are better for your eyes. Some gaming monitors are beginning to build this into the monitor.

What size monitor is best for gaming?

This generally comes down to personal preference and completely depends on how far away you sit from your screen. With a TV, many argue that bigger is better as gamers sit farther away from the screen compared to those using a gaming monitor. Also, a larger screen lends better to multi-playing split screen setups.

Although, gamers sitting closer to their screen can find TVs and large monitors difficult to use as they can’t see the entire screen up close.

The perfect balance between visual clarity and viewing comfort for most gamers who like to sit closer to their screen is normally between 21 inches and 27 inches.

Can you watch TV on a gaming monitor?

Yes. In fact, you may find the picture quality better than some TVs due to the high resolution and fast refresh rate.

It is easy to use your gaming monitor to watch TV, you can use TV apps installed on your games console or on your gaming PC.

How much should I spend on a gaming monitor?

A budget PC gamer will still spend between £650-750 on their set up, whereas the average PC gamer will spend more between £1000 and £1200.

How much you spend on a monitor typically depends on how much the complete rig costs. Of the £650-750 budget PC gamers spend on their rig, they will spend between £200-400 just on their monitor. Whereas PC gamers with a high-end build will buy monitors starting from £300 and going into the thousands, just on the monitor.

Gaming on a TV vs Monitor

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What Should I Look for in a Gaming Monitor?

View The Ultimate Gaming Monitor Guide