As a gamer, I know how important it is to have the right monitor for your gaming setup. But sometimes, it can be difficult to find the perfect monitor – especially if you’re on a budget. That’s why I’ve been researching the question: can you use a TV as a monitor for gaming? After a lot of research, testing and trial and error, I’m here to share my experiences and solutions with you.
In this blog post, I’ll explain the pros and cons of using a TV as a gaming monitor, and provide tips on how to do it successfully.
A TV can serve as a monitor for gaming. Most modern TVs have built-in sockets for connecting with other electronic devices and displaying their contents. While some recent TV models can fill the role of a monitor admirably, there are differences in their design and how well they perform.
|Connection||HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort||HDMI, DisplayPort|
|Graphic Quality||Prioritizes graphic quality||Prioritizes performance (refresh rates, response times, input latency reduction)|
|Pixel Density||Lower pixel density||Higher pixel density|
|Resolution||Requires higher resolution for same image quality||Lower resolution for same image quality|
|Input Lag||May suffer from higher input lag||Typically has lower input lag|
|Response Time||Typically has slower response time||Typically has faster response time|
|Refresh Rate||Typically has lower refresh rate||Typically has higher refresh rate|
|Intended Use||Best for casual gaming or media viewing||Best for competitive gaming or professional use|
Can A TV Be Connected As A Monitor To A PC For Gaming?
Most recent model TVs allow for easy connection to various devices, including PCs, provided that both devices have HDMI ports or other specialized adapters.
The TV will seamlessly double as a laptop or desktop computer display. If you play on a desktop PC, you may already own the required HDMI cable. But if you don’t, they aren’t too expensive and can still be bought separately.
With everything plugged in, and a few tweaks to your TV’s settings, your TV can work as a display for your PC gaming needs. However, some differences between a computer monitor and a TV might impact your gaming performance for certain games.
Major Differences Between A TV And A Monitor For Gaming
While a TV looks like a computer monitor, extensive hardware and software differences determine how they perform.
The difference in size may be the most obvious, but aspects such as input lag, refresh rates, and response times are more crucial when playing games competitively.
Differences In How TVs And Monitors Handle Game Imaging
The most common game imaging concerns relate to the resolution and pixel density of the device showing the images on the screen.
Resolution refers to the activated number of pixels displayed on a screen with higher resolutions making for more precise imaging.
TVs prioritize graphic quality and achieve high resolutions with clear graphics, increasing their appeal for gaming. But if the resolution of a gigantic TV is relatively large, it can be challenging for a PC to keep up with the demands of creating images unless you have a higher-end GPU.
Regardless of their resolution, larger TV screens often have lower pixel density than computer monitors. Larger images may be distorted compared to those displayed on smaller screens, even if they have the same resolution. To compensate for a lower pixel density, a TV would likely need a much higher resolution to obtain the same image quality, at least from up-close.
Large TVs with high resolution and good pixel density are rare. The ones available come at a premium compared to getting a smaller monitor with equal, if not better, performance. If you intend to use a TV as a monitor for gaming, it is advisable to stay within the size range that allows for at least 80 to 100 pixels per inch.
Gaming Performance Differences Between TVs And Monitors
The main specifications to look for when analyzing the performance levels of TVs and monitors in gaming are input lag, response time, and refresh rate.
There is a slight delay between user-issued commands to a program and when they appear on the screen, and this difference is termed “input lag.” Since gaming monitor designs emphasize user interaction, they can more quickly react and display the user’s actions on the screen.
Response time is the required time for a pixel to switch between color sequences. Computer monitors prioritize performance over image quality, while TVs without this type of programming may perform slower as they typically prioritize color depth. With slower response times, high-paced games and images on your screen may appear blurry.
Gaming monitors usually have fewer than five milliseconds of input lag and faster response times. Any longer delay can noticeably impede a user’s performance, and most TVs can suffer from input lag up to 100 milliseconds.
Activating “Game mode,” if your TV comes with the ability, can help your TV bridge the gap between graphic prioritization and gaming performance.
Refresh rate refers to the display frequency of images on the screen. With higher refresh rates, TVs and monitors can redraw graphics more frequently. Gaming monitors have higher refresh rates than TVs, which allows for more rapid information delivery to the user.
Should You Use A TV As A Gaming Monitor?
With more recent OLED TVs increasing the refresh rates and response times and reducing input lag, TVs are becoming more affordable and viable as display devices for gaming.
The choice comes down to what role you intend the screen to serve. For most people, a TV will do just fine, but a gaming monitor will be better if you want to do some competitive gaming.
How To Connect A TV To A Computer For Gaming
If you intend to use a TV as the screen for your gaming needs, the setup process plays a potentially significant role in how effectively and comfortably it will serve. Connecting everything correctly and using the appropriate settings can be the decisive factor between a smooth experience and a stuttering frustration.
Firstly, you will need to securely plug all the appropriate cables (usually HDMI) into their respective sockets on the TV and PC and ensure that everything is receiving sufficient power. If your TV doesn’t automatically switch over, you will have to choose the input source for images on the screen.
Screen mirroring is also an option with recent TVs and networking technology, but for gaming purposes, these tend to have higher input lag which could be detrimental to your performance.
Secondly, you will need to verify that your computer and TV are compatible regarding the resolution output both can support. You can search for the appropriate values for your selected screen in your operating system’s “Advanced display” settings section. You can also see the supported refresh rates for your screen here.
The next step is to set your TV to “Game mode.” Different TV manufacturers may call it differently, but essentially “Game mode” will prioritize gaming performance by reducing input lag at the cost of a minor decrease in visual quality.
A TV can double as a monitor for gaming, provided that the respective devices can be connected, preferably by an HDMI cable or better. When the devices are connected, verify that the TV and PC use the appropriate settings to smooth communications and enhance performance. Pay special attention to whether the resolution is reasonable and that “Game mode” is on.
There are some differences between the performance levels that a TV and a gaming monitor can reach. TVs usually prioritize visual performance while suffering in the fields of refresh rates, response time, and input latency. Whether you should stick with a monitor or use the TV will depend primarily on whether you want to play competitively or focus on enjoying the experience.
Read more: can you watch TV during a thunderstorm?