For years, people have been using TV screens as computer monitors. In most cases, the differences are hardly noticeable unless you pay close attention. This is because both monitors and TVs utilize similar technologies. Furthermore, modern TVs often come equipped with HDMI connections, making it convenient to connect them to a computer. With the rise of Wi-Fi technology, using TVs as monitors has become a growing trend, especially in workplaces.
However, what about using a 4K TV as a monitor?
Let’s explore whether a 4K TV can be used as a monitor, and what are the differences between a monitor and a TV?
Can a 4K TV Be Used as a Monitor?
Using a 4K TV as a computer monitor is perfectly fine. However, it’s essential to ensure that your TV can be connected to your computer. You need to check the output ports on your PC and the input options on your TV.
This practice of using a TV as a computer monitor has been common for many years, and a 4K TV is no exception to this trend.
When we say a TV should be connectable, we mean that there should be a suitable method to establish a connection between the two devices. This can be achieved through digital connections like HDMI, or in some cases, via VGA, DVI, or DisplayPort.
Alternatively, there are wireless methods to use your 4K TV as a monitor without the need for physical cables. The most straightforward approach is to mirror your computer screen using a wireless connection.
Considering that HDMI is one of the most standard and readily available connection options, we recommend using HDMI as it is affordable and compatible with most devices, given that both your computer and TV likely have HDMI ports.
Make sure to select a graphics card with an HDMI 2.0 or HDMI 2.0a port when using your 4K TV as a computer monitor. These newer HDMI versions are preferable as they support HDR10 displays, enabling you to view 4K content at 60 Hz with 24-bit color.
If your computer meets these requirements, you should have no issue using your 4K TV as a computer monitor. However, it’s important to note that having a 4K TV alone won’t automatically display Ultra High Definition (UHD) content if your computer doesn’t support the 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution. Only a 4K-enabled computer will display content in true 4K when connected to a 4K TV.
Also take into account things like scaling and magnification. On a 4K TV, text and icons could appear quite small, making them difficult to read. The size can be changed in the options. You can do this from the Windows Display settings on Windows Vista and later. Apple devices also provide settings adjustment options.
You can immediately change the text size in certain programs, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, from the formatting panel. The majority of web browsers let you resize web pages, and using the mouse wheel, you may zoom in or out.
TV vs Monitor
While both TVs and monitors are built using similar technology, they are designed for different purposes due to different specifications.
TVs are primarily designed for home entertainment setups, while monitors are typically intended for tasks such as video editing and typing.
- TVs are generally larger in size because they are meant to be viewed from a distance in a home entertainment setup. Monitors, on the other hand, are smaller as they are intended for close-up viewing. Monitors typically range from 20 to 40 inches, while TVs can be as large as 70 inches.
- TVs commonly have a 16:9 aspect ratio, while monitors offer a variety of aspect ratios to suit different uses and placement options.
- The refresh rate refers to how many times a screen refreshes per second. TVs often have higher refresh rates, up to 144 Hz, although specialized gaming monitors can go up to 360 Hz. Monitors tend to have lower refresh rates compared to TVs.
- Both TVs and monitors come in various resolutions, but the key difference lies in pixel density. Monitors have a higher pixel density because they are designed for close viewing, resulting in sharper text and images.
- While TVs prioritize higher refresh rates, monitors typically focus on faster input processing, resulting in lower input lag. Input lag is the time it takes for an input to appear on the screen.
Are 4K Televisions Better than Monitors?
The debate over whether 4K TVs are better than monitors is ongoing, and it’s important to note that one cannot entirely replace the other. However, using a 4K TV as a monitor does come with several advantages.
Firstly, in terms of cost, 4K TVs tend to be more affordable than PC monitors of similar size and resolution. Even though monitors are gradually increasing in size, using a 4K TV remains a cost-effective option, especially for larger displays.
Secondly, 4K TVs offer more versatility and convenience. With a TV, you can easily switch between “monitor mode” and “TV mode” to enjoy cable and streaming content, providing a multifunctional experience.
Moreover, when space constraints are a consideration in the choice between a 4K TV and a monitor, a TV often provides a better alternative.
Additionally, audio capabilities can make 4K TVs preferable to monitors for some users. TVs typically come with built-in speakers and may offer superior audio quality, enhancing the overall viewing or gaming experience.
Built-in TV speakers typically offer more power and better audio quality compared to computer monitor speakers. While they may not replicate a full surround sound experience like a home theater system, TV speakers can provide satisfactory audio for various purposes, which may not always be the case with monitor speakers.
However, one potential concern when using a 4K TV as a monitor is input lag. Some TVs may exhibit a slight delay, usually ranging from 50 ms to 100 ms, due to signal processing. It’s important to note that not all TVs have noticeable input lag, and some models perform well without any significant delay.
To mitigate this issue, especially if you’re considering purchasing a new 4K TV for use as a monitor, it’s advisable to choose a TV that offers a return or exchange policy. This way, you can test the TV’s performance and return it if you encounter unacceptable input lag.
Another potential issue you might encounter when using a 4K TV as a monitor is overscan. Many TVs have overscan enabled by default, which can lead to part of the screen, often including the menu bar at the bottom, being cut off. To prevent this, you’ll need to disable overscan.
To disable overscan, look for settings related to “Wide” or “Aspect ratio” and turn them off. Once disabled, your TV should display all screen content, including menu bars, along all edges without cropping.
Additionally, you may want to adjust your TV’s sharpness settings. High sharpness levels can exaggerate certain edges while diminishing actual details. If possible, reduce the sharpness setting to zero for a more accurate and detailed display.
Finally, to avoid eye strain, you might need to position yourself farther from the screen. However, this may not always be practical, especially when working at a standard desktop distance. In such cases, consider selecting a TV size that strikes a balance between being close enough for work and not too close to cause discomfort.
It’s worth noting that not all 4K TVs exhibit these issues, especially high-quality ones. Premium 4K TVs typically have minimal input lag and may come with additional features. If your budget permits, it’s advisable to avoid mid-to-low range 4K TVs and opt for the highest-quality models available.
It is possible to use a 4K TV as a monitor, but it’s important to make sure the TV and your computer are compatible.
Depending on your intended use, other variables like screen size, refresh rate, input lag, and resolution should be taken into account.
Whether you want to use it for gaming, video editing, or routine office work will impact your decision on whether a 4K TV is a good fit for you.