When you are talking about gaming, the debate between monitors and TV is something that has been around for as long as one can remember and while most console players tend to rely on good TVs, for PC gamers, monitors have been the go to for the longest time. However, this has started changing over the past couple of years. All thanks to the arrival of HDMI 2.1 compliant TVs. You see, although it might look like a small upgrade, HDMI 2.1 is easily capable of delivering 120Hz on 4K and I know it might sound like an exaggeration, it actually is having.
This has allowed so many PC gamers to finally start shifting towards TVs instead of gaming monitors because they are not only cheaper (in some cases) but also you are getting better options and picture quality in majority of cases.
But how does the TV vs monitor for gaming actually work? Well, the market is now filled with amazing TVs that would allow you to play your favorite games and that too, without any issues. For starters, you are finally getting a higher refresh rate, and yes, this time around, you are getting a true upgrade to the refresh rate.
TV vs Monitor for Gaming – Understanding the Basics
While this should not need a lot of explanation to all the people who are already aware of the situation but if you are a newcomer who is not sure about what they are getting into, it is better to get some things out of the way with the help of few terms that are going to be very common in the market.
Simply put, this is the amount of pixels a screen is able to display. You get 1080p, 1440 and 2160p. These are some of the most common resolutions that you are going to find in displays.
As the name suggests, this refers to the number of times per second a screen will refresh the image. 60Hz is the most common in TVs and some older monitors. However, on higher-end monitors and TVs, you are now getting better and higher refresh rate. Of course, with an increased refresh rate, you should expect paying a higher price, too.
This refers to the amount of time it takes for a single pixel to go from one color to another color. Ideally, the lower the response time, the better.
This is tied to the response time and serves as a direct measurement for your actions registered on the screen. As always, the lower the response time, the better.
HDR or High Dynamic Range is used by newer monitors or TVs that allow for a richer color reproduction along with better darkness and brightness levels.
The terms above should make it easier for anyone who is trying to understand the basics and honestly, you will not really have any problems as long as you are getting the information from here.
TV vs Monitor for Gaming – Is There Any Difference?
It is true that when you are comparing both TVs and monitors, there are a lot of similarities between both in terms of the overall technology. However, if you decide to dig a little deeper, you will find a lot of differences in terms of specifications. That is why we have decided to take a closer look into the world of both technologies and see how they are different from each other.
Again, the difference is not that big, to begin with. So, you really do not have to stress over.
Traditionally, gaming monitors are generally able to deliver better refresh rate and pixel density than most modern TVs. They also offer better input lag and more versatility. Sure, back in the older days, the monitors were not as great when the color reproduction and accuracy were concerned, but that has changed a lot over the years.
Modern monitors are available for various niches such as design, gaming, or general media usages and do offer great value, too.
On the other hand, you have conventional TVs that are focused more on bringing better color reproduction as well as viewing experience. However, the responsiveness and pixel density are often put on the backseat. But things have started to change a lot as the market is now seeing an influx of gaming TVs that are not just geared for excellent multimedia experience but excellent gaming, too.
This technology has improved to an extent that even PC gamers are using these TVs and yes, these TVs can easily go as high as 120Hz, offer 4K resolution, and have all the bells and whistles like G-Sync support, along with HDR, and more.
After taking the mobile industry by storm, the OLED displays took the TV market by storm, as well. We are now getting countless gaming-centric TVs that deliver super-low input lag and fast response times along with high refresh rates. All these work in tandem and deliver an exceptional gaming experience with almost next to no motion blur or ghosting that you might experience on older TVs.
However, with OLED TVs, you are still looking at a few problems. For starters, these TVs are a bit more expensive, and there is always a chance of a burn-in, even though modern OLED TVs are much, much better and less prone to developing these issues.
Image Quality and High Dynamic Range
Generally, modern TVs offer you either 1080p or 4K in terms of the resolution support with 8K TVs slowly becoming a thing in the market. However, monitors do tend to provide you 1440p as well, in addition to the previous resolutions.
TVs, however, are more focused on the picture quality and the viewing experience. Monitors, on the other hand, want to focus on better refresh rate, lower input lag and response time. However, IPS monitors have been bridging the gap and bringing in better color reproduction as well.
However, if you are taking HDR into the account, then viewing HDR content on a good display like an OLED panel is something that cannot be overlooked. TVs have been offering HDR for some time and monitors have started to offer, as well.
However, if you are getting a display simply because of the image quality or HDR, for that matter. I would always suggest the OLED display, be it in a TV or a monitor. Considering how OLED monitors are slowly becoming common.
What About Input Lag?
Remember CRT monitors? Those monitors used to have absolutely no input lag and were also able to display higher refresh rate. However, the CRT displays have gone obsolete and were replaced by large, flatscreen TVs. When this switch happened, a lot of people noticed that most of the games that they used to play had become unplayable and there was a lot of input lag, too. Turning on the game mode used to fix this issue but it was not as good of a fix.
This would happen due to the newer TVs having their own graphics processing hardware. CRTs, on the other hand, never really had this issue.
On the other hand, monitors never really had to use the technology as they were available in various configurations that would suit the gamers and their requirements.
However, TVs have slowly caught up to the same because now, we are getting TVs that offer really low input lag and at the same time, a great experience. This has allowed the TV manufacturers to bridge the gap, in hopes for a much, much better overall experience.
Getting Higher Refresh Rate and Variable Refresh Rate Technology
First, let’s talk about the variable refresh rate is something that has been around for some time. PC gamers will know this technology as G-Sync or FreeSync, the two technologies are from Nvidia and AMD respectively. For those who don’t know, they are needed for removing screen tearing by dynamically matching the refresh rate to the frame rate that you are getting, which allows for an increase in the overall smoothness. Complicated to understand? Imagine playing a game on a 60Hz monitor but getting frame rate that is above that number, with the variable refresh rate technology, the frequency of your monitor would be lowered to the frames you are getting in the game so you can feel the game run smoothly, and without any tearing.
Gaming monitors have enjoyed the support for variable refresh rate or VRR for some time now. However, when you are talking about TVs, this is only something that is new and not a lot of TVs are using this technology.
If you do end up with a 120Hz refresh rate monitor, the display will have no issues with giving you the full benefit. However, with a 120Hz refresh rate TV, you might start facing a soap opera effect and it would be difficult to see the benefits of the higher frame rate because most TVs use interpolation, a technology that focuses on reducing ghosting and making the motion look smoother.
Thankfully, higher-end TVs that actually support a higher refresh rate will not go through interpolation and you will actually be able to experience true 120Hz refresh rate. Though, I would strongly suggest that you yourself for spending more money because it would not be a cheaper deal.
How is the Pricing?
Let’s talk pricing, shall we? Modern gaming TVs or modern TVs with all the tech that you would find in a higher-end monitor are finally here to stay. This can easily be looked at by the success of LG’s C9 lineup which is easily one of the best TVs for not just PCs but consoles, as well. It offers OLED technology, HDMI 2.1, HDR, 120Hz refresh rate, and VRR. However, expect to pay a good price for this because you are not looking at something that is cheap.
On the other hand, monitors with similar technology are going to cost you the same. The better thing here is that with monitors, you have more options, so you can always go for something that is more affordable and there is not much to worry about here. So, you are good to go.
Which is More Comfortable
The comfort level is important for not just gamers but general users, too. After all, if you have something that is seemingly uncomfortable, you will never be able to have the experience you want to go for. With that said, we are going to look at a few factors that would allow you for a better experience.
When you are talking about televisions, you are looking at a better overall experience if you are gaming from the couch or your head. Especially if the TV is on the larger size. However, with monitors, you are looking at smaller screens and sitting close is not going to create any issues for the viewers, either. Therefore, it is up to you.
Of course, if you do wall-mount your television, you might be able to have a good viewing experience, as well. Again, this depends on the person who is gaming. Ideally, for a 55-inch TV, there should be at least a 3 to 3.5-foot distance if you are looking to properly enjoy the view and not get lost in the process.
Now, when you are talking about the viewing angles, it should not come as a surprise that TVs are going to offer excellent viewing angles. This allows the person to sit wherever they want and view whatever they want without the chance of the colors transforming and ruining the experience altogether.
Now, it is important to understand that although IPS monitors have improved the viewing angles by a drastic measure, monitors in general have been playing catch-up with TVs when you are talking viewing angles.
Therefore, it is important to know that if you are finding yourself getting your hands on a brand new TV or a monitor, for that matter. You are fully prepared to take the viewing angles in account, as well.
TV vs Monitor for Gaming: Who Wins?
We are finally done with the entirety of the post explaining almost everything you would want to know about the battle of titans and honestly, deciding a winner is not as easy as it might seem. Still, I have decided to break down the sections and tell you about what you are looking at.
Image Quality and HDR: I know this might not come as a surprise to some but TVs are generally a lot better than monitors when it comes to delivering image quality and providing a greater quality of HDR. This is something that TVs have been doing for a long, long time and although monitors are slowly catching up, too. TVs are always a few steps ahead and therefore, win this part.
Input Lag: When you are looking at the input lag, monitors easily win this. Sure, there are higher-end TVs that are available in the market that are getting better and better at providing lower input lag, monitors have been doing it for a long time and are still offering it across the board.
Refresh Rate and VRR: Now, this is a bit more complicated than I would like. For starters, TVs have been offering higher refresh rate but right now, we are only going as high as 120Hz for that, you have to spend a good chunk of money. The same goes for having VRR because you cannot just get these technologies on average TVs. On the other hand, monitors have been offering both these technologies for some time and are more affordable when it comes to these technologies, too. Allowing the monitors to take the win.
Pricing: For the competitive gamers who are looking to save money but also get the best, getting an affordable gaming monitor with high refresh rate and low input lag is a much better offering and easy, to be honest. On the other hand, if you want the same and more on a TV, then you are more than likely to spend more money and that is why a lot of people have issues. This easily gives the gaming monitors a win here.
Comfort: Last but not the least, we are talking about the comfort level and honestly, I have been using the LG C9 for almost over a year and the experience here is so much better simply because I can sit on my chair or I can sit on my couch if I feel like it. Allowing me to have the best of both worlds without having to get up all the time or trying to adjust the distance. TVs easily win this one.
I do understand that the whole guide about TV vs monitor for gaming can be a complicated one but hear me out, the purpose here is to help the buyers and the readers alike and allow them to buy the right product, too. You cannot just go ahead and get something completely random because that just ruins the experience and we do not want that.
Thankfully, this guide covers almost all the basics and more complicated stuff, so you really do not have to worry about getting into a rut and not being able to make the right decision.
I have been gaming for almost 24 years with extensive knowledge of all platforms and the gaming industry, in general. With interests in literature, art, gaming, and PC hardware.