You have probably noticed that 4K TVs cost about the same as 4K gaming monitors. In fact, some 4K TVs are cheaper than 4K monitors. When it comes to displays, bigger is not necessarily better, because there are lots of other features and factors to consider.
Most PC monitors are 24 – 27 inches, while 4K TVs can be 50 to 60 inches (or even more!). Would it make sense to save money by using a 4K TV as a computer monitor? Are there any pros and cons to using a TV for your main computer display?
It’s not a bad idea to use a 4K TV as a monitor. But there are some important things that you need to know:
Can You Use a 4K TV as a Computer Monitor?
Yes. You can use a 4K TV as a computer monitor by connecting the TV to an HDMI 2.0 port on your computer. Generally, it’s not recommended to use a 4K TV as a computer monitor for competitive games because of the high response times.
Using a 4K TV as a monitor is not as straightforward as you think and requires some configuration. There are also other issues to consider.
For example, sometimes the HDMI source on the TV will change, the TV will show a “No Signal” error when your computer is powered down, the angle can’t be adjusted, and you need a remote to change any settings on the display, etc.
If you made up your mind to use a 4K TV as a computer monitor, here are some product recommendations:
Best 4K TVs to Use as a Computer Monitor:
The LG 43UP77006LB is a 4K 60 Hz TV and there are a wide variety of size options, I recommend 43 inches or 50 inches. It’s an LED model with an IPS panel. It weighs 8.7 kgs and does not have a VESA mount.
The Samsung TU7100 4K TV has very thin bezels and it has HDR 10+ which really makes 4K media shine. It’s LED with a VA panel. I liked this TV because it has mounting screws on the rear, so you can mount it to a wall in front of your desk.
3 –LG OLED C1
The LG OLED C1 is pricier than the previous TVs but it is an OLED TV which means better image quality and lower response times. The LG OLED C1 is a 55 inch TV, and it weighs 14.5 kgs, with no rear panel mounting options.
If you want the absolute best image quality, I recommend choosing an OLED TV as your monitor. OLED TVs also provide some advantages to gamers, which I’ll talk about later on.
Downsides to Using a 4K TV as a Computer Monitor:
1 – Noticeable Input Lag & Latency
Input lag is the amount of time it takes for an action to register on a display. The reason 4K TVs have higher input lag is they have more post-processing features that improve the image quality but add significant input lag.
There are ways to bypass the post-processing and thus improve the input lag and I’ll mention them later on. The input lag on TVs is most noticeable when playing games.
For that reason, playing PC games on a 4K TV might feel laggier, and could result in worse in-game performance, especially when playing competitive video games.
I don’t recommend using a 4K TV as a monitor when playing competitive PC games such as CS GO, Valorant, or Rainbow Six Siege, to name a few.
The input lag usually is not noticeable when watching movies and browsing the internet.
2 – TVs Have High Response Time
Response time is not the same as input delay. Response time is the time it takes for a pixel to change colours. If a display has a slow response time, you might encounter visual artefacts like ghosting and blur on text.
Generally, OLED TVs have the lowest response time, followed by TN and VA panels. IPS panels have the highest response time, although they do deliver great image quality.
3 – Most 4K TVs Only Have HDMI 2.0 Ports
If your computer does not have an HDMI 2.0 port, it won’t be able to output 4K at 60 Hz. Most 4K TVs only come with HDMI 2.0 ports.
Most TVs also don’t include ports like DVI or DisplayPort, so your connection options will be limited. It’s also a good idea to buy a new high-speed HDMI cable.
Some 4K TVs do have older HDMI ports, which are compatible with older devices, but the refresh rate will be locked at 30 Hz.
4 – TVs are Heavier & Can’t Adjust Viewing Angles
On the practical side, it’s important to remember that TV’s are quite bulky and you usually can’t adjust the angles. The angle problem can be solved by mounting the TV to a wall or desk mount that supports rotation. However not every TV has wall mount support.
Pros to Using a 4K TV as a PC Monitor:
Let’s take a look at why it could be a good idea to use a 4K TV as a PC monitor.
1 – 4K TVs are Often Cheaper Than 4K Monitors
Small to medium-sized 4K TVs are often cheaper than 4K monitors and they offer more screen real estate. Larger 4K TVs are great for watching movies and TV shows.
2 – TVs Have Multiple HDMI Ports for Other Devices
Most monitors only have one or two HDMI ports, but TVs often have multiple HDMI ports. You can easily connect your consoles or other devices to the TV and switch between them with no issues.
3 – 4K TVs Have Better Speakers
The built-in speakers on most TVs aren’t mind-blowing but they’re much better quality than monitor speakers.
Tweaking a 4K TV as PC Monitor:
In most cases, the default image settings on a 4K TV won’t work well with a computer.
Here are some tweaks to improve the experience of using a 4K TV as a monitor.
1 – Increase Text & Scale Size
Windows 10 will scale the UI and text to match the resolution. The only problem is the UI and text becomes way too small.
An easy way to adjust the scale size is to right-click on your desktop and choose “Display Settings”.
Scroll down until you see “Scale & Layout” and select a size from the drop-down menu. Feel free to try different scale sizes until you find one that’s comfortable.
2 – Increasing Mouse Cursor Size
You might notice that your mouse cursor is barely visible and you keep “losing” it on the screen. On Windows 10 you can increase the size of the mouse cursor which will make it stand out more on a 4K TV. Changing the size of the mouse cursor is very easy on Windows.
Open Settings and type in “Mouse” you should see an option called “Change Mouse Pointer Size” and click on it. From there you can use the slider to change the size of the cursor and you can also change the colour.
3 – Save the HDMI Input as PC on TV
If you connect the TV to your computer via HDMI, the TV won’t know a computer is connected, and it will treat it as any other HDMI device.
What you want to do is change the HDMI input to PC (if the TV has a PC option). Once you do that, the TV will know a PC is connected, and it will disable most of the post-processing and image enhancements. It’s a good idea to disable those extra features because it will improve input delay and response time.
The exact steps vary depending on the TV manufacturer. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Use your TV’s remote to open the input sources.
- Select the HDMI port that is connected to your PC.
- Tap the edit button on the remote and change the icon from HDMI to PC.
- To see if it worked, check the picture settings to see if the extra image enhancement features are disabled.
To summarize, if you find a good deal on a 4K TV (and your computer supports 4K) you can use it as a computer monitor. After a few tweaks, it should work perfectly, and you can use it as your primary display.
Just bear in mind that TVs weren’t primarily designed to be used as monitors, so won’t get some of the quality of life features that are common with monitors.
Ultimately it’s up to you, but I will say that it’s a reasonable idea, and lots of people use 4K TVs as computer monitors.