Content of the material
- ABOUT THE AUTHOR
- HDTV features to keep in mind
- Step 2: About the Device
- Features to Consider Before Switching Your Monitor with a TV
- What To Do Before Turning Your TV Into a Monitor
- How to Use TV as a Computer Monitor
- Step 4: Setup on the Computer End
- Use a wired setup for very new TVs or old computers
- Older TVs and computers
- When you don’t have HDMI
- All Reviews
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah has been working as an editor at MiniTool since she graduated from university. Sarah aims at helping users with their computer problems such as disk errors and data loss. She feels a sense of accomplishment to see that users get their issues fixed relying on her articles. Besides, she likes to make friends and listen to music after work.
If you would like to get yourself a TV computer monitor, I hope this guide will help you choose the best. Be careful when shopping for a TV and do not get caught up on the screen size details and forget there are other features that matter. While no display is perfect, most televisions are quit enough to please you, and the differences are often not visible unless you really look for them. Depending on your budget, you will be able to decide which of the best 4K TVs to use as computer monitors is suitable for your needs.
HDTV features to keep in mind
If you’re turning your HDTV into a PC-backed multimedia powerhouse, and you plan on using it primarily as a television and streaming hub—e.g. a screen you’ll continue to view from several feet away—it will probably look fine. But if you’re trying to stick a 60-inch HDTV on a desk, you’re more likely to end up with headaches and eye strain.
There are a few different factors to keep in mind if you want to use an HDTV as a computer monitor.
Pixel density, or the number of pixels packed into one square inch of screen (measured in pixels per inch or ppi), is the most important factor to consider. A 15.6-inch laptop screen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution has a pixel density of 141.21ppi, while a 32-inch HDTV screen with the same resolution has a significantly lower pixel density of 68.84ppi. The lower the pixel density, the less clear and detailed the image becomes.
But the importance of pixel density decreases with viewing distance. The further you sit from a screen, the lower the pixel density need to be for you to have a comfortable viewing experience. You won’t have any problems looking at a 15.6-inch/141.21ppi screen from two feet away, but you will find it much harder to view a 32-inch/68.84ppi screen from the same distance. This is why a “Retina” screen on the iPhone has a pixel density of 326ppi, but a “Retina” screen on the Macbook Pro has a pixel density of just 226ppi.
A normal user typically sits between two and three feet away from a desktop monitor. To comfortably view a monitor at this distance, you should aim for 80ppi or higher. This means that for 1920×1080 (1080p) resolution, your screen should be no larger than 27.5 inches diagonally, and for 4K sets, you’ll want to max out at 55 inches, like the $700 TCL 6-series 4K UHD quantum dot TV shown above. It’s our favorite bang-for-buck HDTV.
Important: “4K” is not a market standard. A 4K HDTV can mean 4x720p (3840×2160 resolution) or 4x1080p (4096×2160 resolution). Most models use 3840×2160, but you should check the exact specs of your model to determine pixel density.
Input lag is the delay between movement you make on your input device (in this case, a mouse and keyboard) and what displays on your screen. While most computer monitors prioritize minimal lag times, HDTVs generally do not—they prioritize (laggy) video processing instead. These extra milliseconds may not seem like they matter, but they will make a massive difference if you’re trying to do something like competitive online gaming.
DisplayLag maintains a good database of input lag times, sortable by display type. An input lag of less than 30 milliseconds is considered good for an HDTV if you’re using it as an HDTV. For a computer monitor, you’ll want to aim for less than 20 milliseconds, and the lower you can go, the better.
Often confused with input lag, response time describes how long it takes for a display’s pixels to switch colors between scenes. HDTVs and computer monitors can have very different response times. HDTVs tend to prioritize richer colors, higher contrast, and wider viewing angles—all of which lend to a longer response time. Computer monitors tend to drop some of the image processing and viewing angles for faster response times. If you use a display with a slower response time, you may see “ghosting” in fast-paced video and gaming sequences.
Some HDTVs have a “game mode” setting, which cuts some of the image processing to improve both input lag and response time. If you plan to play PC games on your TV, definitely dig around in your HDTV’s options to see if it has this feature.
Another factor that may affect performance is a display’s refresh rate. Refresh rate is the number of times a display “refreshes,” or re-draws, its image each second. Most modern displays have a refresh rate of 60Hz, which means they refresh their image 60 times per second. But you’ve probably also seen higher-end gaming monitors and HDTVs with higher advertised refresh rates—120Hz, 144Hz, or even 240Hz. This can be misleading, however, because a computer monitor with a 120Hz refresh rate may not be the same as an HDTV with a 120Hz refresh rate.
The reason for this is because the content people watch on a television is produced at either 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps. The content people view on a computer monitor can be very different—many games can output frame rates higher than 60fps if you have a powerful enough graphics card.
An HDTV with a high advertised refresh rate may use post-processing technology to achieve that rate, such as by creating additional frames to upscale content, or by adding black frames between each frame to prevent image blur. The good news is that this probably won’t make a difference if you’re not playing PC games at very fast frame rates. But if you have a PC designed for the best possible gaming experience, hooking up an HDTV instead of a computer monitor likely means that you’re not getting the most out of your machine.
Step 2: About the Device
The Focus Enhancements TView Micro uses a special chip to convert VGA signal from your computer to either S-video or composite video. It can draw power from either ps/2 keyboard jack or 5-pin keyboard jack, (both the included plugs are pass-through, so you can still use your keyboard), or USB (also included), which is what i’m using. You can apparently also order an AC adapter separately, but its easier to do it with the included cables. It comes with a CD, which is just the manual for it. the setup is pretty self-explanatory, once you get it. It’s got little buttons to control the picture position and size brightness, all that jazz. When you get it, you should check it out right away, and move either the computer or tv temporarily to test it out. this pic is sorta fuzzy but the cord on the left is the power cord, and the others are the ins and outs, which aren’t detatchable.
Features to Consider Before Switching Your Monitor with a TV
Before switching your monitor for a TV, you must understand several components that would make or break your gaming or movie-watching experience. These include:
What To Do Before Turning Your TV Into a Monitor
First, make sure you have the right cable. Most modern TVs use HDMI connections, but look at your TV’s particular inputs to confirm the one it uses.
If there's a mismatch between your PC and TV, you're not entirely out of luck. You can always use a converter or adapter to turn one connector into the other. That can affect picture quality, and you won't be able to turn a VGA cable into HDMI if you're connecting to a 4K TV (as VGA doesn't support a resolution that high), but as long as your PC and TV aren't too distinct in age from one another, you should be able to find a solution that works.
As well as getting the resolution right for the cable, your PC's GPU will need to support your TV's resolution. To find out what GPU you have, type Device Manager in the Windows search box and select the Device Manager option. Then look for Display adapters and select the arrow next to it.
Your GPU should be listed there, but if it's ambiguous, right-click (or tap and hold) the result, and select Properties. Then check the Details tab for more information.
How to Use TV as a Computer Monitor
Using a TV as a monitor is possible, as long as your computer graphics card supports it. Here’s how to use a tv as a monitor:
1. Check connection compatibility – For the TV to work, it must be able to connect to your computer (more specifically, the GPU or graphics card processing unit).
Your first bet is to look for an HDMI port (most modern TVs are built with this) on both the TV and your GPU. Try to connect them using either the male-to-male HDMI link, HDMI adapter or HDMI-to-mini-HDMI-cable. If either of these cables work, you should be able to use TV as monitor effortlessly.
2. Use alternative cables – If HDMI is not available (but a DVI port is), your solution is to purchase a DVI-to-HDMI cable, which will serve as adapter to older TVs or PCs without HDMI connections.
For computers without an HDMI, check if a DisplayPort connection is available and buy an adapter that will enable your TV to connect to your computer.
Step 4: Setup on the Computer End
okay so you got the thing.. plug the VGA IN (15 pin) into the monitor out on your computer, and connect the monitor to the pass-thru plug (not necessary). then plug the outputs of the device into your pimpass extension cable you just made, and, and run that however its going to go, connect whichever power cable you choose between it’s respective port and the power in on the device. you can’t really see it good but the blue plug is from my monitor; its plugged into the pass-thru.. the plug above that is plugged into the VGA out of my computer.
Use a wired setup for very new TVs or old computersSometimes, a wired setup is better when using a TV as a computer monitor. If you’ve got an 8K TV or an older computer, you may want to skip the screen casting and revert to the spaghetti pile of wiring.First, you need to think twice about using an 8K TV as a computer monitor wirelessly. You paid top dollar for that extra resolution, but Chromecast, Roku, and other streaming devices will waste it. An 8K screen places 8,000 pixels across your monitor, but TV-casting devices won’t deliver anything past 4K.To get the best benefit from using an 8K TV as a computer monitor, go back to the old wired setup.
Older TVs and computersIf you’re using an older HDTV as a computer monitor, you may suffer from some fuzziness and longer lag time. If that doesn’t scare you, use Miracast or another streaming tech to share your computer’s display wirelessly to your TV. Are you wondering, “Can I use a TV as a computer monitor with an old TV?” You can, but you may need a VGA-to-HDMI adapter.If your computer is the weak link because it’s not compatible with casting, you’ll need to use the wired method. Do that by plugging a DVI-to-HDMI cable into your PC’s DVI port. That said, the best TV to use as a computer monitor will always be a newer, high-res unit like an 8K set. If you don’t have $5,000 to shell out for a TV just now, stick with using a 4K TV as your computer monitor. In most cases you should save that standard HDTV for Netflix or Prime Video.
When you don’t have HDMI
There are two common cases where either your TV or your computer doesn’t have the right HDMI ports. However, don’t fret: There’s a workaround.
First, if you have an older TV or computer, it may have a DVI port rather than HDMI. The former was the primary video connection before HDMI became more common. In this case, you will need a DVI-to-DVI cable, or a DVI-to-HDMI adapter cable, like this AmazonBasics model, which is very affordable.
However, using an adapter can increase the chances of input lag, lower video quality, and other issues, so there’s a tradeoff to consider.
Second, a PC may only have DisplayPort connections. This is unlikely on desktops but can happen even on newer computers that choose to prioritize DisplayPort or mini-DisplayPort — a standard that’s common among monitors but very rarely seen with TVs. In this case, there are affordable DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter cables for desktop and USB-C-to-HDMI adapter cables for laptops.
For desktops with only DVI video output, you may want to consider upgrading the graphics card. On laptops, you’re stuck using adapter cables unless you’re willing to spend loads of money on an external GPU dock.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best TVs to use as a PC monitor for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no TVs that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our TV reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.