TVs and monitors are practically interchangeable these days.
With either 1, you can stream videos, play games, and browse the web.
But even with their similarities…
There are still differences between the 2.
And I’ll be breaking down each of them.
Continue reading to find out:
- 13 notable differences between TVs and monitors.
- Which 1 you should pick between a TV and a monitor.
- Surprising reasons why monitors are actually more expensive than TVs.
- And a lot more…
13 key differences between TVs and monitors
#1: TVs are generally bigger
1 of the most obvious difference between TVs and monitors is the size.
TVs are typically bigger than monitors.
On average, TV sizes range from around 32 to 75 in (81 to 190 cm). And in recent years, manufacturers have been producing units that measure well over 100 in (254 cm).
Monitors, on the other hand, average around 15 to 34 in (38 to 86 cm) display size.
So what’s with the size difference, you ask?
Well, although you can use both for streaming shows or playing games…
TVs are designed for multiple users. And monitors are usually for individual usage.
#2: Monitors have more pixels per inch
Try to compare a monitor and a TV with the same resolution.
Let’s say a 27-inch monitor and a 55-inch TV. And with both being 4K-capable.
What you’ll immediately notice is the monitor will have a clearer image.
“How is that even possible?”
Well, because the monitor is smaller…
It also packs more pixels per inch (PPI). This refers to the number of pixels per inside every square inch of a screen.
Now, there’s a complex formula to compute the PPI of a monitor or a TV. I won’t bore you with the details about it, though.
But for our examples…
A 27-inch 4K monitor has around 172 PPI.
On the other hand, a 55-inch TV with the same resolution comes with 84 PPI. That’s less than half of the monitor in the example.
And the higher the pixel density, the sharper the image is.
So while monitors can’t compete with TVs in size…
They’re superior when it comes to picture quality.
Now, if you want to know more about pixel density and how to compute it…
You may check out this video below:
#3: TVs don’t require an external device to work
Back in the day, you’d need an antenna or a cable box for TVs to work.
That’s no longer the case in our time.
Modern TVs are now smart enough that you can stream videos or music without the need for an external device.
Of course, you can still plug various gadgets into your TV. It’s just that modern units are no longer reliant on other devices to function.
And that’s 1 of the major advantage of TVs, particularly smart ones, over monitors.
#4: Monitors have a higher refresh rate
“What exactly do you mean?”
Well, a refresh rate is the number of times a TV or a monitor displays a new image per second. And it’s measured in Hertz (Hz).
As a general rule of thumb…
The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the image is on the screen.
Modern TVs have an average refresh rate of around 30 to 60 Hz.
In comparison, most monitors clock in at about 60 to 120 Hz. There are even some high-end ones that offer up to 240 Hz.
Now, this difference isn’t noticeable when watching a movie or a TV show. Videos will look just as smooth on either a TV or a monitor.
That’s because movies only display 24 frames per second (FPS). TV programs are a bit higher, at 30 to 60 FPS.
Where the refresh rate difference becomes obvious is in gaming.
Console games display more images or frames per second. And that’s why the graphics will look much better on a monitor than on a TV.
#5: TVs offer a wider viewing angle
This refers to how far you can move to the side of a TV or a monitor and still see a clear picture.
On average, TVs have a horizontal viewing angle of 160 degrees.
For monitors, it’s 110 degrees at the center of the screen.
As I mentioned, manufacturers designed TVs knowing that many will be watching at once. And monitors are typically built for a single person to use.
Hence, TVs typically come in bigger sizes and a wider viewing angle than monitors.
#6: Monitors have more to offer when it comes to aspect ratio
It’s the width-to-height proportion of a screen.
Older TVs used to have a 4:3 aspect ratio. But practically every modern unit has 16:9. And you won’t find a TV with an aspect ratio other than those 2.
But that’s not the case with monitors. They aren’t limited to 4:3 or 16:9.
In fact, you can easily spot models today with a 21:9 aspect ratio.
It’s also known as ultrawide. And it’s big enough to fit 3 browsers side by side.
Moreover, there are even some variants with a 32:9 or a superwide aspect ratio.
Now, for watching videos, a TV’s aspect ratio is more than enough.
However, for gaming and multitasking…
A monitor with a wider screen is much better to use.
#7: TVs have more screen types
Most TVs and monitors these days use either an LCD or an LED screen.
You’ll also find monitors with an IPS display. It’s basically an enhanced version of an LCD panel. And it produces more vibrant colors and better viewing angles than LCD displays.
However, you won’t find monitors with an OLED or QLED panel.
These are more advanced displays that you’ll only find on TV sets.
And unlike LCD or LED panels…
OLED and QLED don’t rely on backlights. Instead, each pixel in these displays can light up or switch off on its own.
As a result, these displays are capable of producing a deeper color contrast. And they offer a much wider viewing angle than any other panel type.
#8: Monitors have a lower input lag
Also known as latency, this refers to how fast a display responds to a control device.
It’s measured in milliseconds (ms). That’s 1/1000th of a second.
An example is when you press a button on your joystick or controller. How fast your monitor or TV responds is its input lag.
Normally, monitors have a latency of about 1 to 5 ms.
To compare, most TVs have an input lag of about 40 to 50 ms.
In other words, TVs are generally about 10 times slower to respond to inputs than monitors.
Now, the difference is insignificant when you’re just typing or browsing the web.
However, each millisecond matters more in gaming.
That split second is sometimes all it takes between winning and losing. So this is another reason why monitors are better for playing.
#9: TVs come with a remote
1 reason why TVs are more convenient to use than monitors is the remote.
Every modern TV, smart or not, has always come with a clicker or remote control.
This allows you not just to switch channels…
But to change inputs from 1 external device to another really easily.
In addition, because of the remote…
You can modify or tweak various TV settings without the need to get up from the comfort of your seat.
With a monitor, you’ll have to move closer and press its built-in buttons to do so.
#10: Monitors have fewer input jacks
You can find the following ports on both TVs and monitors:
However, TVs generally have more of these ports.
For instance, it’s common for smart TVs these days to have 4 or more HDMI ports. And about 2 or 3 USB ports.
Monitors, on the other hand, usually only have 1 or 2 of those input jacks.
But aside from that, you’ll also find other ports on TVs that you won’t on monitors.
1 notable example is a coax port. This is where you plug your cable box.
And because TVs have more ports in general…
They’re also better suited if you like to use multiple external devices.
#11: Even budget TVs have built-in speakers
Another notable difference between a monitor and a TV is the latter has built-in speakers.
Now granted, entry-level and mid-range TVs don’t exactly have the best sound systems. That’s why many still use soundbars or other external gadgets to enhance the audio.
However, having average speakers is still better than having none at all.
And most monitors don’t come with a built-in sound system. There are a few variants that do. But those are high-end ones.
So if you choose to go with a monitor, you pretty much have to shell out money for speakers as well.
#12: Modern TVs have built-in digital tuners
This is a hardware that allows TVs to receive and display digital signals.
Every TV since 2007 has this component inside it.
This is due to a mandate by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in early 2007.
In March 2007, the FCC required TV makers to include digital tuners in their products.
And this made it possible for modern TVs to receive digital signals via an antenna. And then broadcast the channels in digital format, where picture quality is better.
Now, this is something that monitors aren’t capable of doing. They don’t have tuners of any kind.
So if you want to watch TV on a monitor…
You’d have to use an external digital tuner together with an antenna to make it happen.
And as with speakers, that’s another added expense if you go with a monitor.
#13: Monitors are more expensive on average
As I’ve mentioned, you can do a lot with a TV even without any external device.
With a smart TV, you’ll be able to:
- Play games.
- Browse the internet.
- Stream music or shows.
Monitors, on the other hand, require consoles or streaming players to function.
But you’d probably be surprised to know that monitors, in fact, are more expensive.
Let me give you an example.
A 32-inch 4K monitor from the brand Gigabyte costs $530.
Meanwhile, you can find an over-40-inch 4K TV for under $300. 1 example is the TCL Class 4 Series.
So why do monitors cost more than TVs?
Well, among the reasons for that include some of the things I’ve already mentioned:
- Lower input lag.
- Greater pixel density.
- Higher response rate.
The technology required to achieve those features does cost money.
In addition, there’s also the matter of economics.
There are a lot more TV brands and models than there are monitors.
And this competition in the TV industry helps drive the overall average price down.
But still, that doesn’t mean you should automatically go for a TV instead. There are still plenty of good reasons to get a monitor.
In fact, just keep scrolling. In the next section, I’ll break down the reasons why you should pick 1 over the other.
You might be interested in: 13 Reasons Why Monitors Are More Expensive than TVs
TV vs Monitor: Which should I pick?
Between a TV and a monitor, you should pick whichever suits your needs. If you’re into gaming or using computer apps, then you’re better off with a monitor. But if you’re looking for a device for streaming videos, then you should pick a TV.
Now, I know it can be hard to decide between a TV and a monitor. This is because you can do so many things with both.
So let me go into greater detail about why each is worth getting.
Why you should pick a TV
You should get a TV because it’s best for watching.
For one, TVs are bigger than monitors. Also, they offer a much wider viewing angle.
So if you’re planning to binge-watch with your friends and families, it’s a no-brainer. You’ll have a much better viewing experience with a TV.
In addition, you can practically use a smart TV as a computer as well. You can browse the web or play games with it.
And of course, there’s the matter of price.
With so many TV brands these days…
It’s not hard to find cheap TVs with a large screen and a high resolution.
You might also want to know: 9 Real Reasons Why You Should Get a Smart TV
Why you should pick a monitor
Do you happen to be a gamer at heart?
If so, you’ll get the most out of your games with a monitor.
On average, monitors have twice the refresh rate of TVs. This means the graphics are much clearer and smoother.
Moreover, monitors have 10 times lower input lags than TVs. As a result, they’re quick to respond to the clicks of your mouse or joysticks. And that’s crucial in most games.
But monitors aren’t only good for gaming.
They’re also ideal for work.
Because of a wider aspect ratio, you can open and view multiple apps on a monitor at once.
Their higher pixel density also means they can produce accurate colors. So monitors are also perfect for those working as video editors.
But in the end, it’s really a matter of personal preference.
The truth is, you can’t go wrong with either a monitor or a TV. You just have to know your priorities. And figure out how you’re planning to use it.
From there, you should be able to make a decision that will best suit you.