It’s a commonly asked question: should you use a gaming monitor vs TV to play your favorite titles? With a variety of platforms and hardware to play on these days, it’s an old question worth rexamining.
The answer? It depends. If you’re a competitive gamer looking for the best performance, you’ll need a display capable of keeping up with fast-paced action. But if you’re a gamer seeking total immersion, the big screen is where it’s at.
This article takes you through the two types of displays — monitors and TVs — and offers a look at when to use each option. Let’s jump right in.
Gaming Monitor vs TV: Comparison Table
Short on time? Check out this comparison chart for help choosing between a gaming monitor or TV.
✓ DisplayPort & VRR technology
✓ High pixel density for vivid imagery
✓ Lightning-fast response times
✗ Smaller screens
✗ Not suitable for entertainment systems
PC & Competitive Gaming
✓ Larger screens
✓ Stunning resolutions, colors, & contrast
✓ Doubles as an entertainment center
✗ Slow response times & low refresh rates
✗ Lack of game-enhancing software
Console & Casual Gaming
Gaming Monitor vs TV: Behind the Screens
Whether you’re gaming on a monitor vs TV, both share a standard set of features.
The most prominent? They both act as a type of display device, aka a visual representation of electronic information.
But depending on your specific needs, each one excels in a different area. We’ve chosen five of these areas and laid out the main differences in the sections below. Take a look, and you’re sure to find the best display for your situation.
When it comes to display size between TV vs gaming monitors, TV generally wins out. That’s because televisions are optimized for watching shows and movies from a distance. In these settings, display sizes ranging from 40″ upwards is perfect. In this case, bigger is usually better.
Computer monitors, on the other hand, are typically viewed up close and personal. In these situations, a 20” to 30” monitor is ideal.
Determining whether gaming monitors vs TVs boast better resolution is tricky, because you can find a range of options on both sides.
The most common resolutions found in today’s TVs and monitors are as follows:
- 1080p or HD resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels in 16:9 aspect ratio.
- 1440p or 2K resolution: 2,560 x 1,440 pixels in 16:9 aspect ratio.
- 2160p or 4K resolution: 3840 × 2160 pixels in 16:9 aspect ratio.
- 4320p or 8K resolution: 4680 × 4320 pixels in 16:9 aspect ratio.
Most gaming monitors fall in the 1080p or 1440p resolution range. That’s because these resolutions offer an exceptional balance of quality and detail when viewed up close, as well as smooth overall performance.
But TVs are a different story, largely due to pixel density.
Think about it. A resolution of 2160p on a 24″ monitor means there are tons of tiny pixels packed into a small area. As a result, the difference in quality is negligable. On the flip side, a resolution of 2160p on a 50″ TV stretches these pixels out much further and makes a huge and noticable difference.
As a result, 4K TVs are the most popular TV resolution size in the USA.
Response time refers to how quickly the pixels on your screen change from one shade to another. The lower the response time, the cleaner the on-screen transitions.
The difference in response time primarily comes down to panel type. The most popular gaming monitors boast TN panels, which are designed to deliver response times of roughly 1ms. This is important due to the competitive nature of PC gaming.
TVs, however, often feature IPS or VA panels. These panels typically boast 5ms or higher response times, as they focus more on image quality, color and contrast, and cinematic-style viewing angles.
Input & Output
Another area of difference is the input and output, aka I/O, panel.
Today’s most popular gaming monitors feature HDMI and DisplayPort connections that sync quickly with PCs and laptops. This is imperative for overall performance. Moreover, DisplayPort is essential for enabling FreeSync and G-Sync technology. This is extremely useful for nailing down smooth frames and taking advantage of low refresh rates.
TVs typically boast HDMI ports as their main video transfer method, as this is the industry standard for entertainment centers. This works great for watching shows and for syncing with consoles, where a refresh rate of 60Hz is standard.
In addition to video I/O ports, monitors and TVs feature an array of audio connectors. For monitors, this is typically audio jacks and USB ports. For TVs, you’ll find both of these options, as well as optical audio ports and coaxial connectors.
You’ll find both monitors and TVs that are marketed as gaming stations. These models typically feature extra goodies designed to woo gamers and get them to pony up extra cash.
For gaming monitors, this is often extra software like visual-enhancing tech or gaming-related presets for easy setup and customization of certain features. A couple of notable ones are GamePlus by ASUS and OSD by MSI.
On the flip side, TVs tend to be exclusively marketed at console gamers, e.g., those using a PS4 or Xbox One. These television sets boast vivid displays for unbelievable immersion and often slightly better response times.
Should You Use a Monitor vs TV for Gaming?
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty with the section we’ve all been waiting for– should you use a computer monitor vs TV for gaming?
Let’s break it down into the following two sections.
Monitor vs TV for PC Gaming
When choosing between a TV vs monitor for PC gaming, it’s essential to look at the big picture.
In the sections above, we laid out how each one measures up in certain categories. The verdict? Monitors excel at all the situations PC gamers find themselves in. They’re just the right size, they feature the proper resolutions, and they offer low response times for buttery smooth gameplay in casual and competitive titles alike.
Contrast that with bulky television sets that don’t offer the necessary I/O ports or software, and you’ll begin to see a clear winner. Using a TV as a gaming monitor simply isn’t practical for competitive gamers. That’s why virtually all the top console players and streamers will hook their console up to a monitor and play at a desk.
Think about it. Those ultra-fast response times and high refresh rates are crucial for staying one step ahead of the opponent. If you’re using a VA panel TV and they’re using the best gaming monitor with a 1ms response time and 240Hz refresh rate, it’s no contest. They’ll outperform you time and time again, as their screens are displaying the slightest in-game changes before yours can even register them.
Verdict: Monitors are best for PC gaming and eSports because they offer superior gaming specifications.
Monitor vs TV for Console Gaming
What about a monitor or TV for gaming on console?
Well, console players are sure to love the big screen sizes and beautiful resolutions offered by the latest gaming TVs. Not only that, but TVs offer all the internal hardware that console users need, resulting in easy connectivity and larger than life frame-by-frame action.
If you like to play a lot of co-op with your buds, it makes a lot of sense to go the TV route. 4 player splitscreen on a 24 inch monitor? Yeah, that’s not going to happen. Even if you’re playing a game like Mario Party where everyone shares a single screen, a 50 inch or larger TV is going to make things a lot more fun.
That said, nothing is stopping a console player from plugging in and gaming on a monitor. Aside from their smaller size, console gamers can still expect top-tier performance. But — TVs offer a superior experience overall.
Verdict: When competition/eSports are not a factor, TVs are best for console gaming.
No matter which you choose– gaming on a monitor vs TV– there are plenty of great options out there. Check out our roundups to see if you can find the right fit for you: