5 things to know when choosing between a TV or monitor for gaming | ENBLE

5 things to know when choosing between a TV or monitor for gaming | ENBLE

“The line between TVs and gaming has been blurring for months. PC gamers are turning to OLED TVs for high-end immersive experiences, while console players are gravitating towards high refresh rate monitors. But the question remains, which should you choose? Let’s dive into the differences between TVs and monitors for gaming to help you make an informed decision.”

Image processing: One of the fundamental distinctions between TVs and monitors, particularly for gaming, lies in image processing. TVs come equipped with integrated processors that enhance the image quality by sharpening, reducing motion blur, improving clarity, and tone mapping. However, this image processing also introduces input lag. On the other hand, monitors are essentially “dumb” displays with minimal or no image processing capabilities. For example, the Samsung Odyssey OLED G8 provides a direct connection to the source without any additional processing. While monitors may have inherent display lag, it is minimal compared to TVs. To overcome this challenge, TVs offer a “Game Mode” or “PC Mode” that disables image processing, providing a direct connection similar to monitors. The choice between a TV and a monitor depends on whether you prefer utilizing the image processing features outside of gaming or if you’re comfortable with a static image for both gaming and other media activities.

Refresh rate: Another significant differentiator between TVs and monitors is the refresh rate. The refresh rate refers to how frequently the display refreshes within a second, with higher rates resulting in smoother images. It’s important to understand that refresh rate is not your game’s frame rate. While a higher refresh rate can offer a smoother experience, it doesn’t guarantee the same for games. The frame rate you can achieve in games plays a crucial role in determining the appropriate refresh rate to pursue. Most consoles and their games operate at a maximum of 60 frames per second (fps), making a 60Hz refresh rate perfectly adequate. However, devices like the Xbox Series X and PS5 support 120Hz modes, requiring TVs like the LG C2 OLED and Hisense U8K, which can accommodate such high refresh rates. For PC gamers, monitors with higher refresh rates, such as 144Hz or even 240Hz, are preferred to match the potential frame rates that PC hardware can achieve. Additionally, the inclusion of Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) technology, available in both monitors and some newer TVs, can prevent screen tearing by synchronizing the display’s refresh rate with the game’s frame rate.

Size and stand: The disparity in size between TVs and monitors is quite significant. TVs typically start at 42 inches and can exceed 100 inches, whereas monitors usually range between 24 and 32 inches. When choosing between the two, it’s crucial to consider your viewing distance. Larger TVs are ideal for couch gaming, while smaller monitors are better suited for desk setups. However, there are exceptions, such as the LG C2 OLED and Asus ROG Swift PG42UQ, both offering 42-inch OLED panels. The defining factor here is the stand, as larger monitors are generally designed for desktop use, while TVs are built for media stands. It’s also worth noting that monitors offer more diverse aspect ratios, such as the ultrawide 21:9 or the superwide 32:9, whereas most TVs maintain the standard 16:9 aspect ratio.

Ports and connections: Thanks to HDMI 2.1, the discrepancy between TVs and monitors concerning connections has significantly narrowed. HDMI 2.1 supports high resolutions and refresh rates of up to 4K at 120Hz, making it compatible with both TVs and monitors. Monitors typically feature additional ports like DisplayPort, which was traditionally preferred for high resolutions and refresh rates. It’s worth mentioning that DisplayPort 2.1 may potentially surpass HDMI 2.1 in the future, but currently, it’s only available on a limited number of monitors. Monitors also often include USB-C input with power delivery, enabling a simplified connection with laptops. They frequently have built-in USB hubs to connect peripheral devices like keyboards and mice. While TVs also possess USB ports, they are primarily meant for connecting storage devices like USB drives.

Color customization: Customization options differ for TVs and monitors. TVs generally offer a wide range of options and presets to customize your image, while monitor customization has a relatively smaller impact on image quality. However, when using a monitor with a PC, software-based calibration through devices like the SpyderX provides a more straightforward and efficient way to create a color profile. TVs, due to their image processing capabilities, might require more extensive calibration and adjustment to achieve the desired result.

In conclusion, the line between TVs and monitors for gaming has become increasingly blurred, offering gamers a plethora of options to suit their specific needs. The conventional wisdom of using a TV for consoles and a monitor for PCs still holds true, but displays like the LG C2 OLED and Asus ROG Swift PG42UQ provide a middle ground for gamers who own both platforms. Ultimately, the choice between a TV and a monitor depends on individual preferences, gaming setup, desired refresh rate, display size, and the need for customization.

Feel free to explore our monitor and TV roundups for comprehensive information on the best gaming displays:

  • Best Gaming Monitors
  • Best TVs