We sometimes use our TVs as computer monitors. The benefit of such setup is that you get a large screen display with high resolution and relatively good set of speakers. But some of you might have wondered the possibility of the other way i.e., can you use a monitor as TV? In this guide, let us take a look at some basics of a computer monitor and a television. We will also see how to convert a Monitor as TV.
Differences Between Computer Monitor and TV
In a broad sense, both TV and Computer Monitor are display units that present us with visual information. But we often view a TV as TV and a Monitor as Monitor.
TVs are usually large displays with sizes starting from 42 – 43 inches (there are smaller TVs but in case of TVs, bigger the better) and go all the way to 82 inches or even more.
Coming to computer monitors, earlier in the days of CRTs and first-generation LCDs, we used to consider a 15inch to 19inch monitor as a decent size one. Now-a-days, the 24-inch monitor became the bare minimum and you can also get them in 27-inch and 32-inch sizes as well.
Resolution is another important property of any display, be it a monitor, a television or a mobile phone’s display. 4K UHD i.e., 3840 pixels × 2160 pixels became the standard resolution for TVs. You can get lower resolution (usually Full HD i.e., 1920 × 1080 pixels) TVs but 4K TVs are becoming so affordable.
In case of monitors, Full HD is still a popular resolution but you can get monitors with 1440P (2560 × 1440 pixels) and 4K resolution but the price jump from 1080P is significant.
Refresh Rate of the display determines how many times it can draw an image in one second. Some high-end TVs such as LG C2, Sony A95K, Samsung S95B etc. come with maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. But the common value is 60Hz for majority of TVs.
This is not the case with monitors. You can easily get monitors with 144Hz, 165Hz and even 240Hz refresh rates.
|Easily available in large sizes. Some popular TV Screen Sizes are: 42”, 55”, 65”, and 75”.
Usually, computer monitors are available in small screen sizes such as 24”, 27” and 32”.
|4K UHD (3840 × 2160) is a very common resolution in TVs.
|Full HD is still popular but there are several monitors with 1440P and 4K resolutions.
|Almost all modern TV have 16:9 aspect ratio.
Monitors come with all types of aspect ratios, 16:9, 16:10, 21:9, wider aspect ratios for wide screen monitors and even narrow aspect ratios for box shaped displays.
|60Hz is a very standard refresh rate for TVs. Ther are some high-end TVs that come with 120Hz refresh rate.
|Even in basic monitor, 60Hz refresh is still popular. But you can easily get them with 144Hz, 165Hz and even 240Hz refresh rates.
|It is the time taken by the display to change the pixel’s color (usually black to white or vice-versa). TVs generally have slow response time, tens of milliseconds.
Even entry level monitors have from reputable brands have decent response time of 5 – 8ms. You can easily find monitors with even quicker response times.
|Almost all TVs, irrespective of the size, come with a decent pair of speakers.
|Speakers in monitors are very rare. Even if some monitors have them, they sound mediocre.
|HDMI is the most common port in TVs. All TVs come with 2 – 4 HDMI Ports with additional features such as HDMI ARC or HDMI eARC. Some other ports are Optical Audio Out, USB and Ethernet.
VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort are the popular ports in case of monitors. Coming to audio, monitors usually have audio jacks (3.5mm) but it is very rare to find any other audio output.
|Since all modern TVs are “Smart”, wireless connectivity is almost a necessity now-a-days. TVs usually have support for high-speed wireless networks.
|Monitors doesn’t come with wireless connectivity.
|From a display size perspective, TVs are usually cheaper. You can a decent 4K 55” TV in the price range of $350 to $500.
Monitors are usually expensive when we compare to TVs. A 32” 4K Monitor from a good brand will cost you anywhere between $300 to $350.
As we often sit very close to monitors (usually at an arm’s length), the text should be very clear and colors should be very accurate. Hence, most people still prefer a monitor over TV.
Can You Use Monitor as TV?
As long as you don’t need a cable tuner, yes, you can technically use a Monitor as TV. In case you want a cable tuner, then you have to invest in a decent external tuner module. But why would you want to use a Computer Monitor as a television?
For instance, you have an old but good monitor and you don’t want to throw it away. Then you can use this monitor as TV. Another example is you don’t have enough room/budget to buy a new TV and want to use the same monitor for both your PC and as a TV.
The reason can be anything, if you have a good monitor at your disposal, you can do anything with it such as using it to watch TV Shows or stream movies, with little or no investment.
How To Convert a Monitor into A TV?
The main purpose of TV is to watch TV shows, movies and news among other things. With this in mind, let us different way in which you can convert your monitor in a TV.
Use a TV Tuner
Monitors generally don’t come with tuners. So, if you want to use your old monitor to watch cable TV that relies on TV’s tuner, then you have to buy a TV Tuner Kit/Box. They cost anywhere between $30 to $200 or more depending on brand, features, etc.
Look for a tuner that has HDMI Out so that you can easily connect it to the HDMI port of your monitor.
Connect with any HDMI Source
Another way to convert a computer monitor as TV or just as a video output device is using any HDMI Streaming Devices such as Chromecast, Fire Stick, IPTV Boxes or Android TV Box.
Some internet service providers even bundle media boxes with their packages. All you need is a display unit with HDMI Input.
Using a Set top Box / Satellite Dish
If you have a satellite connection, it usually comes with a receiver or set top box. These units usually output using HDMI. So, you can easily hookup a set top box with HDMI output to your Monitor.
Other Important Things to Consider
There are some cases where your monitor is slightly old and it doesn’t have an HDMI Input port but rather it has a VGA Port. In situations like this, you need to invest in additional converters (HDMI to VGA Converters) to connect modern streaming, media and set top boxes.
Another major issue with using Monitors as TV is with respect to audio. Monitors usually don’t come with speakers and even if they have a pair, the sound quality will be very bad.
To solve this, you have to buy HDMI Audio Extractors. They are tiny boxes, that have an HDMI Input, an HDMI Output, Optical Audio Out, RCA Audio Out (coaxial audio) and also 3.5mm audio jack.
You can connect the HDMI Source such as a Fire Stick or a Set top box to the HDMI input of the extractor unit and connect the HDMI Out of the extractor to the monitor. Using any of the audio ports, you can connect a decent set of speakers or sound bar.
Even though monitors and TVs are both display devices, there are some differences between them. We often see people using a TV as a computer monitor but very rarely the other way i.e., a monitor as TV. In case you are one of those few people who want to use an old/spare monitor as a TV, then this guide is for you. We saw how can we convert a Monitor as TV using simple methods. We also saw workarounds on some common problems.