How To Use TV As A Computer Monitor? The Complete Guide

Is it possible to use a television as a computer monitor? Can you use a TV as a computer monitor? 

This article will help you understand how to use the TV as a computer monitor on Windows and Mac. You will also come to know whether you should buy a TV or a monitor for your computer.

Can You Use a TV as a Computer Monitor?

Now let’s answer the first question, can you use a TV as a computer monitor? The answer is Yes! You can use TV as a computer monitor.

Before connecting the TV, there are three crucial things you need to know: 

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Sharpness 

Those accustomed to laptop and computer screens may find the picture blurry while viewing TV. This is because monitors have higher pixel density, producing sharper text and graphics. 

Expensive

If you plan to utilize television as a computer monitor, you must be prepared to spend more money. A computer monitor typically costs less than a television of similar resolution and pixel density because a computer monitor is designed to work with a computer, not a TV. 

Accessories

You cannot use the same cables to connect a computer monitor to a TV as you might use to connect a monitor to your computer. You must determine what type of input/output ports your TV has. 

Factors To Consider On How To Use TV As A Computer Monitor

You can use a TV as a monitor if your computer graphics card supports it. Here’s how to do it: 

Check Connection Compatibility 

Your GPU or graphics card processing unit must be able to connect to your TV for the TV to work. 

Search for an HDMI port on both the TV and your graphics card. 

The male-to-male HDMI link, the HDMI adapter, or an HDMI-to-mini-HDMI cable should connect the monitors. If any of these cables function, you’ll be able to use your TV as a monitor with ease. 

Use Alternative Cables 

If your PC or older TV doesn’t have an HDMI port, you can still connect it using a DVI-to-HDMI cable as an adapter. 

If your computer doesn’t have an HDMI port, see if there is a DisplayPort connection available, and purchase an adapter to enable your TV to connect to your computer. 

Can You Use a TV as a Computer Monitor on Windows

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How to use TV as a monitor on windows
Now the question arises, can you use a TV as a computer monitor on Windows?
The answer is Yes! For this, follow the below steps:
Find out how your PC can link to the television. The main connectors you should look for on your computer are: 
1. HDMI – Most modern computers have an HDMI port on the back, which is the current standard for connecting HD devices. HDMI carries both pictures and audio. The HDMI port resembles a longer USB port. 

2. DVI – DVI connections use pins and have three rows of eight pins each. Only the image signal is transferred via DVI connections. 

3. VGA – VGA is a connection method for connecting monitors to computers. It is a blue, trapezoidal connection with 15 pins arranged in three rows and should not be used if DVI or HDMI connections are available. VGA can only transmit image signals, not HD pictures. 
Your TV has input ports on the back, but some are on the side. Modern televisions have at least one HDMI port. HDMI handles both video and audio through one connection. 
Many HDTVs and standard definition TVs still have DVI. A standard definition TV may have a VGA port, but HDTVs typically don’t. 
The input label on your TV will help you select the correct input when switching to your computer’s screen. 
Choose a suitable video cable for your preferred connection. There is no distinction in quality between an $80 HDMI cable and a $5 cable if the cable either works or doesn’t work. You must have a matching connector on both devices to connect your computer to your TV. 
For instance, if your computer has a DVI port, but your TV only has an HDMI port, you may want to purchase a DVI-to-HDMI adapter or cable. Since the HDMI cannot transmit audio via DVI, a wireless display adapter would be the best option for Windows. 
Hook up your computer to your TV via cable. If you connect HDMI to HDMI, you won’t require any other wires. Use a 3.5mm audio cable to connect your laptop’s Headphone jack to an audio system. 
You can use the green jack on the back of the computer for audio on a desktop. You can connect the audio cable to the TV either by using a 3.5mm audio plug or a stereo (RCA) 2-plug cable on the computer’s green audio jack on the back. 

Your computer and TV should be turned off before you connect via VGA. You don’t need to turn off your equipment for DVI and HDMI connections. 
Make sure to switch your TV to the correct input. Most TVs have an “Input” or “Source” button that allows you to select the input you connected the cable to. 
You can switch your computer’s display to your TV in several ways, depending on what type of computer you have. 
Some laptops have a “Display” key that switches between connected displays. You may require to press the Fn key to access it, and it might just have a symbol instead of the word “Display.” 

When using Windows 7 or later, you can press the Windows key + P to open the Project menu and select the display mode you want (computer, television, expanded desktop, or duplicate displays). 

Right-click on the desktop and select “Screen Resolution” or “Properties.” It will help you to switch between display modes (computer, TV, extended desktop, or duplicate displays). 
Your computer’s monitor and your TV’s display may have different resolutions, resulting in a blurry picture when you switch between them. The “Resolution” slider in “Screen Resolution/Properties” window allows you to select a clear resolution. 
Choose the “Recommended” resolution if possible, as most HDTVs have a native resolution of 1920×1080. 

Can You Use A TV As A Computer Monitor On Mac

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Now the question comes, can you use a TV as a computer monitor on Mac?

The answer is Yes! For this, follow these steps:

How to use TV as a monitor on MAC
Determine the type of video connection your Mac has. Macs and Macbooks have four distinct connection types. Knowing which one you have will determine what components you need. 
1. HDMI – The HDMI port resembles a longer, skinnier USB port, with small divots on each side. “HDMI” will be printed above the port. Macs and MacBooks made after 2012 have the current standard for connecting HD devices. 

2. Thunderbolt – This port is slightly smaller than a USB port. An icon bearing a lightning bolt will be printed above it. A Thunderbolt-to-HDMI adapter is required to connect to most HDTVs. 

3. Mini DisplayPort – The logo looks identical to the Thunderbolt port. It’s a small box with a line on each side.

4. Micro-DVI – There are still a few of these older ports around. The icon looks like a Mini DisplayPort, but the port seems like a smaller USB port. 
You’ll find input ports on the back or side of your TV. HDMI, DVI, and VGA are the most common ones. If you want to connect HDMI-to-HDMI, you’ll need just one cable for audio and video. 
All other connections require a separate audio cable, including those using an audio cable. Remember to write down the input label so you can quickly switch the TV to it. 
You can get the required adapter once you know the port your Mac is connected to and the connection that your TV supports. 
Your Mac’s HDMI port and your TV’s HDMI port are all you need to connect the two with a standard HDMI cable. 

Your Mac may have a Thunderbolt or Mini DisplayPort, but you’ll need an adapter if your TV only has HDMI ports. 
Choose the suitable cable based on your adapter’s connection type. An HDMI cable will be the right choice if your adapter connects to HDMI. Cheap HDMI cables perform similarly to expensive ones. You’ll need an audio and video cable if you’re connecting via DVI or VGA. 
Connect video adapter to the display port on Mac using the adapter. 
Plug your adapter into your TV using your video cable. If the computer and the TV have HDMI ports, connect them using a standard HDMI cable. 
If you aren’t employing HDMI to connect to the TV, you must get the sound from Mac to TV or home theater system via an audio cable. 

Connect the Headphone jack on Mac to the Audio In port on your TV or receiver using a 3.5mm audio cable. 
Make sure you choose the right input on your TV. On most TVs, there are multiple inputs of the same type, so make sure you select the correct one. Your computer should be automatically extended to your TV’s display in most cases.
Choose “System Preferences” from the Apple menu on your Mac. 
Go to System Preferences & select the “Displays” option. 
Choose the “Best for external display” option in the “Display” tab to optimize your screen resolution for your connected TV. 
Select the “Arrangement” tab to see how your two monitors are arranged. This determines how your mouse moves between displays.
Move the white menu bar from your computer’s screen to your TV. This will switch your main display to your TV. 
Go back to System Preferences window & choose “Sound.” On the “Output” tab, select “HDMI” if you connected it via HDMI cable. Otherwise, select the audio cable as the source. 

Should I Buy a Monitor Or A TV for My Computer?

Buying a TV or computer monitor can be extra difficult because of the many choices. You can find a gaming monitor for less than $400 or an editing monitor for over $1,000, but you will also find TV units in various price ranges. 

Price should not be the only factor you consider when deciding whether or not to purchase a product. 

Features to Consider Before Switching Your Monitor with a TV

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Before moving from a monitor to a TV for gaming or movie-watching, there are several things to consider. Here are they

1

Input Lag

When there is a delay between the mouse & the screen, it is referred to as input lag—for instance, using the mouse to perform tasks, such as double-clicking to open a folder or right-clicking to start a program.

Go for a TV with less than 20 milliseconds of input lag.

It’s not a big issue if you’re only planning to watch movies or stream sports on your TV, but the input lag can be an issue if you plan to play games. 

2

Response Time

The time it takes for pixels on your screen to change colors is called response time. 

Although computer monitors have faster response times than TVs, HDTVs with game mode settings should no longer be a problem if you buy one. 

Choosing this setting will significantly improve your TV’s response time, but it will cost you much more than the monitor. 

3

Resolution and Pixel Density

Your screen’s resolution is measured in pixels, and the pixel density is measured in pixels per inch (PPI). These two characteristics are critical when using a large TV screen as your computer monitor. 

You’d be surprised to learn that an LG 4K TV has only 40ppi pixel density, whereas a 27-inch monitor that’s being compared has 140ppi pixel density. 

If a screen has a lower pixel density, images will look less sharp than what you are used to with higher-resolution monitors. 

Since the viewer doesn’t have to watch a TV, computer monitors are usually built with a low pixel density. In the same way, since the user sits closer, a computer monitor usually has a higher pixel density. 

4

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate is the number of times a display refreshes a picture per second. 

A monitor’s refresh rate can reach as high as 240Hz, but TVs are limited to 60Hz to 120Hz refresh rates. 

A higher refresh rate on your screen means it will be more responsive when performing demanding tasks like fast-paced gaming or editing. 120Hz should be sufficient for most applications. 

5

Color Compression

The picture quality will decline slightly when using a TV as a monitor because it compresses images and text. 

Your TV, whether positioned above your desk or against the wall, will appear fuzzier and lower quality if you use it as a typical monitor. 

Modern TVs can be adjusted to display pictures in 4:4:4 chroma subsampling, which removes artifacts and produces a high-quality image. You can also look for TVs already equipped with this feature. 

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HDTV features

The above considerations are helpful if you want to switch from a small computer monitor to a bigger TV on your desk. Using an HDTV would give you eye strain or migraine in a short time. 

However, if you’re planning on positioning the television several feet away from your workstation or hanging it on the wall, these details should not be all that significant. 

Why You Shouldn’t Use a TV as a PC Monitor

Here are three reasons why using your TV as a PC monitor is a bad idea:

TVs are Much Larger

Having a large TV in a small room or office doesn’t make sense. On the other hand, setting up a 50-inch TV as a monitor and having it seen from across the room would not be a problem. 

Make sure that the resolution matches your set-up. Even if a 1080p resolution on a large screen positioned on a desk produces quality images when hung from a wall across the room, the image will look blurry up close. 

Blurry images can also make it difficult to focus on the screen, resulting in a lot of head movement while viewing, gaming, or editing. 

Difference in Connections

Most computer monitors and gaming consoles have HDMI inputs, which allow you to transfer video from your computer to the display. Since HDMI is the industry standard, you’ll find it on most computer monitors and gaming consoles. 

However, not all monitors are equipped with HDMI. Some use DisplayPort or other connections. Your installation may become complicated if these connections are not set up properly. 

Monitors are Made for Interactivity

One primary reason for not choosing a TV for your computer monitor is interactivity.

Most people use TVs to watch movies, TV shows, documentaries, and other pre-recorded material. Because of this, TVs are designed as screens for viewing only. TV brands prioritize high-quality pictures rather than improving input lag or refresh rates. 

In contrast, computer monitors are designed for interactivity. Although picture quality cannot always be compared to TVs, monitors have much faster response times, input lag, and image processing. 

If interactivity is crucial to your day-to-day activities, choose a computer monitor. Using a TV for such tasks as video-conferencing with colleagues or playing demanding games, for example, would be difficult. 

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FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions) on Can You Use a TV as a Computer Monitor

1. What are the disadvantages of using a TV as a monitor?

A 4K TV has a lower DPI (dots per inch) than a computer monitor, which means that graphics professionals will not have a clear image to work with. Those who work with text a lot may find text blurry and indistinct, especially if it is very small. 

2. Is it better to use a monitor or TV for computer?

Monitors are often better for gaming than TVs, as they have lower input lag, higher refresh rates, and faster response times (exceptions, such as OLED TVs). 

3. Is it bad to use a TV as a computer monitor?

The main benefit of using a TV as a computer monitor is that it saves you money because it provides a larger screen. The main drawback is that the image quality might not be good. If your computer is connected to a TV, you might not be able to use all features. For example, you might be unable to switch inputs on some TVs without getting out of your seat. 

4. Can Smart TV be used as a monitor?

You can connect your computer to your television using the right cables and turn it into a monitor. You must discover which connection types your computer supports, but not the television itself. 

5. Can you use a TV as a computer monitor?

It’s possible, but before buying a new one or turning a computer monitor into a TV, you should think about a few things. You should ensure that your computer monitor supports HDMI inputs. If you receive cable or satellite television, you should ensure that your cable box has a DVI or HDMI output, and you may need a DVI-to-HDMI cable, so you should buy one. 

6. Why are computer monitors more expensive than TVs?

It is because there is less downward pressure on prices. They are now sold in supermarkets, especially those from Vizio, Hisence, TCL, and other budget-friendly alternatives. 

7. What is the difference between a computer monitor and a TV?

Monitors are not required to be smaller than standard televisions. They are designed for close-up viewing and provide a more detailed image than televisions. Their higher pixel density per inch than televisions is responsible for this. 

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Conclusion

It’s possible to use a TV as a computer monitor in certain situations. You can use a TV as a monitor if your computer graphics card supports it.

It requires a bit of work and buying a few extra accessories, but learning how to use a TV as a computer monitor is not difficult. 

You can use TV as a computer monitor on Windows and Mac.

I hope this article on “Can you use a TV as a computer monitor” helped you understand everything you need to know. Remember to share your opinions in the comment section! 

Mark Dalio

Mark Dalio

Mark is a tech-obsessed serial entrepreneur who also enjoys reading and writing. He has a strong urge to keep learning and talking about technology, which led him to become an author. Mark has co-founded two successful startups, one of which was acquired in 2018.

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