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Can I Use a 4K TV as a Computer Monitor? 8 Things to Consider


Considering whether to use your 4K TV as a computer monitor isn’t a choice suited for everyone. Therefore, before connecting your PC to a TV or relocating the TV to your workspace, it’s crucial to assess these 8 key factors. This ensures you make an informed decision and avoid potential regrets.

Can you use a 4K TV as a Computer Monitor?

Chances are, you already have a sizable screen at home – your television. But is an HDTV essentially just a larger version of a computer monitor for your living room?

Not quite. While it’s possible to utilize a TV as a computer monitor, it may not be the optimal choice. In reality, it might be less convenient, visually appealing, and user-friendly than anticipated (and likely not as affordable). This explains why inexpensive 32-inch HDTVs aren’t highly sought after for use as cost-effective large screens.

Nonetheless, you can indeed employ a 4K TV as your PC’s display, and your TV can serve as a backup option if you suddenly require a secondary screen. Here, we delve into the details of setting up a TV as a computer monitor – and the reasons you might opt against it.

Screen Resolution

When thinking about using a 4K TV as a computer monitor, you might be drawn to the larger display it offers compared to a typical monitor. However, while the idea of a bigger screen might initially appeal to you, the substantial size difference can present challenges, especially if you intend to place it on your desk.

For instance, a 55-inch TV, such as the Samsung S90D, could occupy a significant amount of space on your desk, leaving little room for other tasks. Unlike monitors, TVs generally lack the ability to tilt or swivel, which can further limit adjustability. Fortunately, employing a VESA mount can address these issues effectively.

Moreover, using a TV on your desk may lead to discomfort, as you could find yourself sitting too close to the screen. This proximity can strain your eyes, as the expansive size of the TV necessitates frequent side-to-side eye movements to view different parts of the display.

We advise against utilizing TVs larger than 48 inches for desk setups, as this may not offer an optimal viewing experience for most users. However, if you’re considering a smaller TV for your PC, the 42-inch LG C4 OLED TV could be a suitable option to explore.

Screen Resolution

The next crucial aspect to consider when using a 4K TV as a computer monitor is its resolution. Comparing a Full HD 1080p TV and a monitor with the same resolution reveals a significant difference in visual quality, primarily due to the screen size disparity. Despite both having 2 million pixels, monitors offer higher pixel density due to their smaller size, resulting in a more visually appealing experience.

For optimal usage, if opting for a 1080p TV, it’s advisable to select one between 32 and 40 inches. Placing it further away on the desk helps minimize the visibility of individual pixels.

4K TVs are excellent choices for desk setups, provided they are not excessively large. For example, a 55-inch 4K TV like the Sony Bravia A95L offers a pixel density comparable to a 27-inch 1080p monitor.

Generally, smaller TVs with higher resolutions offer superior performance when used as computer monitors. A 42-inch TV, such as the LG C4 or the Sony Bravia A90K, strikes a balance with a pixel density almost matching that of a 27-inch 1440p monitor.

Response time

When using a 4K TV as a computer monitor, it’s important to consider response time. This refers to how quickly each pixel on the screen can change colors. TVs, designed mainly for movies and videos, focus on image quality, which leads to higher response times due to intensive processing.

In contrast, dedicated PC monitors prioritize sharpness and require less processing, resulting in much lower response times. For example, while a TV may have a 15ms response time, a monitor typically boasts a 5ms response time.

Higher response times can cause issues for gamers, such as motion blur and “ghosting,” making competitive gaming challenging. However, OLED TVs offer near-instant response times (0.1-0.2ms), making them ideal for gaming.

Overall, when using a 4K TV as a computer monitor, understanding response time is crucial, especially for gaming enthusiasts seeking optimal performance.

Pixel density

Pixel density, which measures how many pixels are packed into one square inch of screen (measured in pixels per inch or ppi), is a crucial aspect to consider, especially for using a 4K TV as a computer monitor.

For instance, a 15.6-inch laptop screen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution has a pixel density of 141.21ppi, while a 32-inch HDTV screen with the same resolution has a significantly lower pixel density of 68.84ppi. The lower the pixel density, the less clear and detailed the image appears.

However, the significance of pixel density diminishes with viewing distance. The farther you sit from the screen, the lower the required pixel density for a comfortable viewing experience. While viewing a 15.6-inch/141.21ppi screen from two feet away poses no challenges, viewing a 32-inch/68.84ppi screen from the same distance can be much more difficult.

This explains why an iPhone’s “Retina” screen boasts a pixel density of 326ppi, whereas a MacBook Pro’s “Retina” screen has a lower pixel density of 226ppi.

A typical user usually sits between two and three feet away from a desktop monitor. For comfortable viewing at this distance, aiming for a pixel density of 80ppi or higher is recommended.

Consequently, for a 1920×1080 (1080p) resolution, the screen should ideally not exceed 27.5 inches diagonally, and for 4K sets, the maximum size should be around 55 inches.

Input Lag

As implied by its name, input lag refers to the delay between registering a movement with your mouse or keyboard and seeing it displayed on the screen. When you move your mouse, the time it takes for the cursor on your screen to respond to that movement is known as input lag.

Typically, TVs have a higher input lag of around 20 to 30 milliseconds, whereas regular PC monitors usually boast less than five milliseconds. If your TV has a gaming mode, the input lag may reduce to single-digit milliseconds, yet gaming monitors often offer an even lower input lag of 1 to 2 milliseconds.

Some high-end TVs nowadays can rival monitors in terms of input lag. For instance, the Samsung S90 QD-OLED TV achieved an input lag of 4.8ms at 4K/144Hz during testing by RTINGS.

While 20 milliseconds might not seem significant, for avid gamers, especially those engaging in online multiplayer games, minimizing input lag is crucial. Thus, using your 4K TV as a computer monitor may not be advisable if gaming is a primary use case.

Refresh Rate

4K TV as a Computer Monitor

The term “Refresh rate” denotes how often a screen updates to display a new frame or image per second. A typical TV usually has a 60Hz refresh rate, capable of showing 60 frames in one second.

In contrast, gaming monitors commonly boast a 144Hz refresh rate, with some models reaching up to 540Hz, such as the Asus ROG Swift PG248QP. With higher refresh rates, motion on the screen appears notably smoother.

Many modern TVs now offer higher refresh rates as well. For instance, all the TVs recommended in this article support a 120Hz refresh rate. Take the LG G4 OLED TV, which supports up to 144Hz.

The refresh rate of a display is crucial in gaming, particularly for competitive gaming. Switching from a 144Hz monitor to a 60Hz TV will immediately affect the smoothness; the game will seem choppy and less responsive. This insight into refresh rates is especially relevant when considering using a 4K TV as a computer monitor.

Color Accuracy

Using a 4K TV as a computer monitor may seem appealing, but it’s essential to understand the trade-offs. While image processing enhances visual appeal in movies and videos, the color accuracy on average LCD TVs may not be ideal. Monitors, on the other hand, prioritize color accuracy over vibrance, making them better suited for tasks like photo editing and color grading.

Yet, advancements in technology, particularly mini-LED and OLED panels, have enabled some modern TVs to rival monitors in color accuracy. Ultimately, the decision hinges on your current setup.

For tasks like photo and video editing, opting for a high-end TV from reputable brands like Sony, Samsung, or LG can ensure accurate colors. However, not all TVs are suitable for desk use unless equipped with features akin to high-end monitors.

For gaming, monitors excel due to their speed and responsiveness. If you prefer a larger display, consider a multi-monitor setup for enhanced productivity and visual appeal.

Color Compression

Chroma subsampling is a method used to reduce image file sizes. While most TVs maintain good image quality despite this, those with 4:2:0 chroma subsampling may exhibit slightly blurred text when viewed up close.

If you intend to use your 4K TV as a computer monitor, ensure it supports either 4:4:4 or at least 4:2:2 chroma subsampling. This ensures minimal impact on image quality, allowing for clear text display.


The decision to utilize your 4K TV as a computer monitor is not one-size-fits-all. Before making this choice, it’s essential to carefully evaluate the following eight key factors. By doing so, you ensure that your decision is well-informed, minimizing the risk of any potential regrets.

When contemplating whether a 4K TV can serve as a suitable computer monitor, it’s crucial to acknowledge that while it’s feasible, it may not always be the optimal solution. Despite the allure of a larger display, TVs can present challenges such as space limitations, discomfort due to proximity, and limited adjustability.

Furthermore, considerations like screen resolution, response time, pixel density, input lag, refresh rate, color accuracy, and color compression play significant roles in determining the suitability of a 4K TV for use as a computer monitor.

While some modern TVs can rival dedicated monitors in certain aspects, such as input lag and refresh rate, trade-offs exist, particularly in areas like color accuracy and chroma subsampling.

Ultimately, whether a 4K TV is a suitable replacement for a computer monitor depends on individual preferences, usage requirements, and the specific characteristics of the TV in question. By carefully assessing these factors, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and preferences.

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