There’s a 32-inch monitor from Samsung that costs a little over $300.
Meanwhile, you can buy a TV of the same size from TCL for only about $150.
You might be wondering…
“How does that even make sense?”
Well, I’ve got just the answer for you.
Keep reading to learn:
- Technical aspects where monitors are superior to TVs.
- 13 reasons why monitors cost more on average than TVs.
- Why many still choose to buy monitors even if they’re expensive.
- And a lot more…
Why are monitors more expensive than TVs? 13 reasons
#1: Superior refresh rate
1 of the main reason monitors are more expensive than TVs is the former’s higher refresh rate.
But what exactly is it?
Well, refresh rate is essentially how often a device can display a new image per second.
The unit of measurement for that is Hertz (Hz).
On average, TVs come with a refresh rate of around 30 to 60 Hz. And there are a few top-of-the-line models that have 120 Hz.
Now, why does it even matter?
This is perfectly fine for TVs and videos. Those types of media don’t require much refresh rate to render properly on a screen.
However, online and console games are different. They need a higher refresh rate for their graphics to display as intended.
And so, you may see some blurring when you play on a TV.
In contrast, games appear more smoothly on monitors due to their high refresh rate.
Low-end monitors typically have a rate of 60 Hz. And high-end variants can go as high as 240 Hz. That’s about twice the refresh rate of flagship TV models.
So if you want to get the most out of your games…
It’s much better to play on a monitor.
#2: Lower input lag
Let’s say you’re playing a video game. And you pressed a button to make your character jump.
Now, you might not notice it.
But there would be a few millisecond delays…
From when you hit the button to when the character actually does the action.
Those milliseconds are called input lag. It’s also known as latency.
Essentially, it’s how long it takes an output device to respond to an input controller.
And monitors have far lower input lag than TVs.
On average, TVs have a latency of about 40 milliseconds (ms).
The best gaming monitors, on the hand, measure at around 1 to 5 ms.
In fact, some high-end monitors even clock in at less than 1 ms input lag.
And the superiority of monitors in this aspect is another reason why they cost more than TVs.
Now, when does input lag become relevant?
Like refresh rate, latency matters in gaming, mostly.
You’d want your video game character to respond as fast as possible when you press a button or click a mouse.
And that’s why serious gamers mostly opt for a monitor even if they cost more.
#3: Greater pixel density
This simply refers to the number of pixels in every inch of a display.
Monitors may be smaller than TVs on average. But they also pack a lot more pixels per inch (PPI).
Because of that, the picture quality in monitors is sharper compared to TVs. And that’s even if they have the same resolution.
Let’s take a 24-inch monitor and a 40-inch TV as examples. We’ll also assume that both have a 4K resolution.
Now, based on the formula for computing pixel density…
A 24-inch monitor will have around 184 pixels per inch.
A 40-inch TV, on the hand, will have about 110 PPI.
That’s why when you try to compare a monitor and a TV with the same resolution side-by-side…
It’ll be obvious that images look better on a monitor.
#4: More options for aspect ratio
It refers to the width-to-height proportion of a display panel.
CRT TVs, those old bulky units, had a 4:3 ratio.
But since the late 2000s, 16:9, or Widescreen, has become the standard for TVs.
And while there are monitors with the same aspect ratio…
They aren’t limited to that. In fact, there are a couple of other options available.
1 is the UltraWide screen. It has an aspect ratio of 21:9. So the width of the screen is more than twice the height.
Moreover, there’s also the Super UltraWide screen. This variant comes with a 32:9 aspect ratio.
And these wider screens can be helpful in several ways.
For instance, if you’re using your monitor for work…
You’d be able to open and use several apps without the need to constantly switch tabs.
And for gaming, a wider screen means a better view of the arena or playing field.
Now, if you’re curious to see what a 32:9 screen actually looks like…
Check out this video below:
#5: More accurate at color reproduction
Another reason why monitors cost more is their precision in producing colors.
You see, when watching on a TV, you’re likely not seeing accurate hues.
This is because TVs usually have filters to enhance the overall picture quality.
Some filters help brighten a video. While others are there to create a cinematic effect.
And this is fine for movies or series as they add to the viewing experience.
However, since monitors aren’t just primarily built for watching…
Manufacturers don’t have to add picture-enhancing filters. Instead, they create monitors to display colors as accurately as possible.
This is particularly helpful for those working in graphic design and video editing…
Where color accuracy is crucial.
Monitors serve plenty of purposes.
For one, monitors are the go-to output devices for most, if not all, careers, including:
- Stock trading.
- Graphic design.
- Customer service.
- Computer programming.
In comparison, few, if any, use TVs for work.
Moreover, monitors also work better in gaming than TVs. As I’ve mentioned, monitors are way more advanced when it comes to latency and refresh rate.
You can even watch TV on a monitor.
And while you can also use a smart TV as a monitor…
It’s still much more comfortable to browse the web and use apps with an actual monitor. Mainly because of its smaller size and better image quality.
In short, monitors are used for more activities than TVs. And that, among other things, helps justify their expensive price.
#7: More durable than most TVs
As the saying goes…
You get what you pay for.
And when you find a TV that’s cheaper than a monitor, don’t expect it to last long.
While high-end TVs can have a lifespan of over a decade…
Budget and mid-range versions tend to break down within 4 to 7 years.
On the other hand, monitors are typically good for 30,000 to 60,000 hours of usage.
To put that in perspective, that’s about 10 to 20 years with moderate use.
So, in the long run, since you don’t have to replace monitors every few years…
You may end up saving more than if you buy a budget TV.
You might also like: How Long Do Smart TVs Last? 9 Must-Read Facts
#8: Longer warranty
Most TV manufacturers offer a warranty of up to 1 year for their products. A few companies, like LG, give out 2 years.
With monitors, though, it’s much longer.
In general, monitors come with a warranty that lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 years.
Now, why exactly do companies offer longer warranties for monitors?
Well, it’s because they know that this output device doesn’t break down as easily.
Essentially, it’s a vote of confidence from the manufacturers. They’re certain that their product will actually last long.
#9: Intended for higher-budget consumers
TV manufacturers have a much broader target market than monitors. They want to sell their products even to those in the lower income bracket.
Hence, you can find many cheap smart TVs these days.
As for monitors, they’re usually marketed towards those with a higher budget.
Examples are those passionate gamers. These are those willing to spend a lot on building high-spec gaming rigs.
Another target consumers of monitor manufacturers are those well-compensated people in the tech industry.
So in other words, because monitors are intended for higher-budget consumers…
Companies can afford to sell them at a premium cost.
Further reading: How Much Do Smart TVs Cost?
#10: The sales volume of TV allows companies to lower the price
According to Statista, over 210 million TV units were sold worldwide in 2021.
A separate report revealed that around 140 million PC monitors were shipped globally.
And that’s even with the pandemic…
Where many bought monitors for a work-from-home setup.
The point here is, TVs far outsell monitors.
Due to that, TV manufacturers can sell their products cheap…
Knowing that they can still profit because of the sales volume.
#11: Less pressure from manufacturers to sell at a lower cost
It wasn’t that long ago when flat-screen TVs cost a fortune.
Back in the mid-2000s, 50-inch HDTVs were selling for over $2000.
These days, you can find models of the same size for less than $500.
So why are TVs cheaper now than ever before?
It’s because of the competition. So many brands have popped up in recent years.
And as a way to gain market share…
Companies have resorted to lowering their products’ prices.
That’s not the case with monitors.
Since there’s lesser competition in the market…
There’s not a lot of pressure for makers to bring down their prices.
#12: Offer better protection for the eyes
1 more factor that helps increase the monitor price is their eye protection technology.
Devices like monitors, laptops, and flat-screen TVs emit what’s called blue light.
It’s a visible light that can cause eye strain. In rare cases, blue light may even cause permanent vision damage.
Fortunately, most monitors these days have filters for that.
In addition, monitors also have a flicker-free mechanism.
This helps regulate the brightness of your screen. And it’s yet another means to prevent eye fatigue even with prolonged usage.
#13: Monitors are expensive to produce
So I just went over the most notable technological features of monitors.
They have a higher refresh rate, lower input lag, and better eye protection tech than TVs.
And to make all of those possible…
It requires the use of higher-end hardware and software.
Hence, monitors cost more to produce than budget TVs. That’s why it shouldn’t really be surprising to know that they also happen to be more expensive.