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Monitor Vs TV: What’s the Difference?

TV and monitor offer similar options – you can watch a tv show on a monitor, and play a game on the tv, but that doesn`t make them the same device.

Each has its unique characteristics that separate them from its counterpart, and after reading this article you will learn what makes them so different.

A TV and a monitor are used for reproducing video material, but what sets them apart? Well, the first thing that comes to mind is the size. TVs come in larger diagonal sizes compared to monitors.

The second big difference is in the connectivity. Monitors require a computer with a graphic card, while a tv needs to be connected with the source, usually a type of antenna.

These are only the biggest differences, but there are many more things that set them apart.

In the rest of the article, you will learn the good and bad sides of monitors and TVs as well as how to use them in the best way. There are also answers to FAQs that will paint you a clear picture of similarities and differences between them, so stay with us!

The History Of TV And Monitor

Understanding the differences between monitors and TVs is a lot easier if you know the basics about them. For what purpose are they made? How do they work? What are their characteristics?

Television is for decades a part of homes, institutions, bars, restaurants, and other places where people gather. Watching TV became an everyday activity from which you can learn or entertain while sitting in a chair or laying on the bed.

From the old black and white TV, developed a color TV to a today’s modern TV that reproduces digital signal and has a lot of different functions.

TV of today combines functions of multiple products. You can rewind the program that you saved, just like on the video recorder. Moreover, a TV with a couple of good speakers can replace a music player. It can even replace a monitor.

The best thing about TV, besides its multifunctionality, is the sheer number of options you can choose from. Everyone can find a TV that can satisfy their needs.

A TV comes in different sizes, from 32 to 55 inches. And for more money, they can be even bigger. There are also a lot of technologies used for making the screens – LED, LCD, OLED, QLED TV’s each bringing higher quality colors, resolutions, and depth.

The newest SMART TVs are not so uncommon. And they are bringing a lot of new functions, like the possibility of streaming, using applications, social networks, connectivity with smartphones, that you can ask yourself – is the TV a new digital powerhouse that can do almost anything?

When compared to a TV, a monitor is a regular part of our life for the past 30-40 years. Meaning, the monitor came with the development of computers.

First computers like ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 used TV to show video, while newer computers replaced the TV with a monitor. In late 1980. CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors were widely used and offered good performance at an adequate price.

Today, monitors come in the same technologies as TVs, so you can take your pick based on your budget and need.

When compared to a TV, they are small – most of the monitors come in 19 to 34 inches in size, but that is not unusual. When using a monitor you need to be close in front of it, and if they were sized like a TV, that wouldn’t be practical.

Monitor Vs TV: What’s The Difference?

Now when you know some basics about these types of displays, you can easily cover all the things that make them so different.

The first thing that comes to mind, and results in all other differences is the purpose of use. What do you use a TV and a monitor?

Most of us use the TV to watch shows, sports games, or movies. On the other side, a monitor is usually used for playing games and using computer programs.

You are watching a TV from a couple of meters, while a monitor is close in front of you. All these are factors that need to be covered. To fulfill these different requests you need different engineering of the product.

The first thing is the size. To be able to enjoy watching a TV, you need a larger screen. A standard TV comes in the size around 32 to 40 inches, while monitor sizes are between 21 and 24 inches.

The other important thing to look out for is the resolution, and it defines how many pixels can fit into the screen. A monitor in most cases has Full HD resolution (1080p), and on the other side, the TV standard is also Full HD and 4K (4000p).

Both offer higher quality resolutions, but it comes with a price. Resolution can be more important when buying a monitor, because watching a low-resolution screen from a close range will be hard for the eyes, and the details will look smudged and uneven.

Watching a 32 inch TV from 3 or 4 meters with a full HD resolution, compared to the monitor of 21 inches looked from up close don`t bring that much difference. But when you come closer to the TV, you will see that the video is not rich in detail. That depth and detail come only with higher prices.

A refresh rate is a somewhat overlooked feature, and it is important particularly in scenes with a lot of dynamics. Refresh rate is measured in Hz, and it shows how much time the screen can refresh the image per second. In this aspect, a monitor beats the TV, with its usual value being 75Hz, while the TV has commonly a 60Hz refresh rate.

There are 2 more things to look out for when comparing a TV and a monitor, and that is response time, and input lag. Input lag is a value that shows how fast a display reacts to your commands. Because of its purpose monitor beats the TV in this category.

Response time is the period that takes one pixel to change from one color to the other. Monitor values are around 5ms, while for a regular TV is 15ms. Smaller numbers are better.

With the arrival of new TV technologies such as OLED, you can compare the response time to the ones on the monitor. Before that, monitors would beat a TV with ease.

Monitor Vs TV: Comparison Chart

Let’s summarize some of the main differences between monitors and TVs for a better understanding.

Characteristics TV Monitor
Resolution 1080p, 4k, 8k 1080p
Size 32-55 inches 19-34
Refresh rate 60 Hz 75 Hz
Response time 15ms 5ms

FAQ Monitor VS A TV

Q: Can I use a TV as a monitor?

You can use a TV as a monitor. All you need to do is connect them with an HDMI or DP cable. And the resolutions should be the same.

Q: Why shouldn’t use a TV as a monitor?

It all depends on the use of the computer and the screen. If you want to use the TV to play games and watch movies and series, you can connect it with your computer.

But if you are using a computer to write, draw, or browse the internet, a TV is a bad solution. While you can focus on the whole monitor without moving the head and neck, a larger TV will require constant moving. That can result in neck pain.

Also if you want to replace your monitor with a TV, you should check some of the characteristics, such as resolution, pixel density, input lag, refresh rate, and response time.

These values should be close to the ones that the monitor offers. Or it will produce stress for the eyes, and it generally will not be comfortable as a monitor.

Q: Why is a TV cheaper than a monitor?

Monitors have some more expensive components as high responsive screens.

Another reason is the mass production of TV. You can pick from dozens of brands in a variety of sizes and other options almost in every bigger store.

Monitors are not that easy to find. The warranty also plays a part in the price. TV can have a warranty as low as 6 months, while monitors sometimes can have 5 years long warranty.

Also, monitors last longer because of their robust construction.

Q: What is the difference between a smart TV and a monitor?

Monitors have a higher resolution and refresh rates, while Smart TVs offer higher brightness values and a built-in streaming option.

Q: What should be used for gaming, a monitor, or a TV?

For gaming, it is always better to use a monitor. They have a faster response time, higher refresh rate, and lower input lag.


Having so many options it can be hard to choose between a monitor or a TV. So, knowing the facts helps. I covered some of the basics, but they are more than enough if you are not sure how to choose.

In the end, it all depends on the purpose of the screen. And from the text, you could read what are the pluses and minuses on both sides.

I hope that you learned something new and interesting. And we will be seeing each other in some new interesting articles!

James Smith

James is a passionate explorer and the creative mind behind, a platform dedicated to unraveling captivating distinctions. With an insatiable curiosity, he uncovers hidden nuances in various aspects of life, from cultural traditions to scientific phenomena. James believes that appreciating differences fosters personal growth and societal empathy.