Using a Monitor as a TV

Updated: Feb 9, 2024 1:41 PM
monitor as tv guide

Many wonder about using a computer monitor as a TV. The best monitors feature the ability to connect to all of your preferred services, including Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV+, as well as other streaming websites. If you’re wondering about the reverse in order to get a larger “monitor” or for another purpose, consider checking out our guide to using a TV as a monitor.

Using a Monitor as a TV

In the past, you would have trouble watching TV on a computer because of the high bandwidth required for loading and interpreting digital video files. However, since certain streaming technology has reduced the bandwidth for digital content, many consumers utilize their monitors as TVs.

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Computer monitors typically run smaller than TV screens, so a lower resolution looks better on a monitor than the same resolution on a TV.

To determine whether you want to use your monitor to watch TV, you should consider several aspects of both, including the image quality, viewing angle, refresh rate, and input lag.

Image Quality and Size

The image quality relies heavily on the pixel content of the screen. Most computer monitors feature relatively high pixel coverage with resolutions ranging from 1920×1080 to 3840×2160 screen in pixels. Each of these options states the width by height in terms of pixels across the axes.

STAT: While most computer monitors use widescreen displays with an aspect ratio of 16:9, some portable PCs use narrower aspect ratios like 3:2, while some high-end desktop monitors have adopted ultrawide panels.

Most TVs currently available feature the same resolutions as monitors. However, since TVs have larger screen sizes on average, a computer monitor with the same screen resolution includes more pixels per inch (PPI), meaning that they may have better picture quality up close.

Viewing Angles on Computer Monitors

People can sit around TVs and see similar images because the TV is larger than a monitor. Additionally, TVs designs take into account the fact that multiple people may be watching the screen.

On the other hand, computer monitor designers typically expect one or two people to sit directly in front of the monitor and be relatively close. Because of this idea, computer monitors usually do not have wide viewing angles.

What You Need to Use a Monitor as a TV

All you should need to use your monitor as a TV is to connect your input source—a cable box, streaming stick, or Blu-Ray player, for instance—to your monitor, preferably via HDMI if available. Depending on the ports on each device, you may also need an adapter to get the signal where it needs to go.

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