In recent years the traditional home “desktop” PC has become more than just a tool used to check emails, browse websites or for the kids to do their homework. Many of these desktop PCs have even been replaced by the more accessible laptop, but the modest desktop computer can still have a place in your home.
Nowadays, the computer has become a do-it-all essential part of our everyday lifestyle. We use it to stream entertainment, and play games, and if you’re pretty tech-savvy, it can be used as the most comprehensive and complete media box available. As far as versatility goes, it’s hard to go past a PC to run all your work and entertainment needs without having different devices for different functions.
A PC really is a one-stop shop that can be used to play Blu-ray discs, access all your favourite streaming services, and if you can afford it, play video games with the most pristine performance available.
The gap between monitors and smart TVs was pretty substantial a decade ago, but over time that gap has closed significantly, and now smart TVs offer many of the features that once made monitors the only real choice as a PC display.
Monitors are accessories that need to be connected to a computer, but smart TVs are standalone machines that can be used independently of other devices. At their core, they both essentially serve the same purpose, to display the content we want to see, and both have their advantages and disadvantages, but overall there’s a good argument to be made why a smart TV should be your next PC display.
The most obvious difference is the size. Both monitors and TVs can vary greatly in size, but TVs can get much larger with essentially the smallest TV size being approximately the size of the largest monitor size available. Of course, there are the odd exceptions, but they are rare, and the costs are only justified if you’re a display aficionado.
Understandably, TVs are built to be viewed from a distance whereas monitors have conventionally been designed to be viewed up close, however, that approach is slowly starting to change.
With the innovation in office spaces, people are getting used to using large TVs to display presentations in meeting rooms full of people. A monitor is only designed to be viewed by one person at a time at a closer distance. The shift from monitors to TVs is becoming more and more prevalent in the workplace, especially when coordinated work is necessary. This shift is also starting to expand into the home, where more and more people are starting to see the benefit of a larger display for their computer than they’ve conventionally been used to.
Historically, monitors have largely surpassed TVs in resolution, even though that has now changed. This is because they were designed to display smaller details on screen such as text. If the pixel density is too low, then that text becomes obscured and illegible. However, modern smart TVs with high pixel density and QLED technology make this a non-factor as TVs have never been so sharp and rich in detail before.
Monitors do have a more scalable resolution range whereas TVs typically come in 1080p or 4K, however as these are the standard resolutions for most content, then a more varied resolution choice only applies if you’re a computer hardware enthusiast looking to bleed out every pixel on your screen.
It is true when it comes to refresh rates, input lag and responsiveness, these are the areas where monitors have always had a clear advantage. This also depends on the type of monitor or TV you get and how much you are willing to spend on this improvement, but for the most part, monitors are usually better at handling these things.
Response time is the time taken for a pixel to change colour and refresh rate relates to how often a display will refresh per second. Input latency is how long it takes a monitor to display something on screen from when it receives the signal. TVs typically have a refresh rate of 60h or 120hz due to the content made for TVs normally not needing more than that, while some monitors go up to 240hz. If this matters to you, then a monitor is going to be your display of choice, but if it doesn’t then there are a lot more reasons to choose a TV over a monitor.
Generally, refresh rate, input latency and responsiveness are important for those who work with media such as video editing and for hardcore gamers, where a higher refresh and response rate plus a lower latency makes a noticeable difference.
But for the common person, these features are a non-factor.
Because monitors normally have a higher pixel density and higher refresh and response rates, their price-to-size ratio tends to cost more than a much bigger TV. However, a smart TV can do so much more and work independently of your computer, provide a bigger and brighter viewing experience, and if you’re not a hardcore PC gamer or work in graphic design, then the differences in response times are negligible.
With the continual advancement in smart TV technology, large screen, feature abundant TVs are becoming more and more affordable while bridging the gap between replacing the long-established computer monitor as the display of choice for PCs. The versatility and varied functionality of a smart TV compared to a monitor makes a smart TV an overall better financial choice for most people.
Those of us experienced with the use of larger, smart TVs over smaller desktop monitors will attest that there is no going back after plugging our computers into our TVs and using them as the best media and gaming device we’ve ever had. Once you’ve experienced all the advantages of a PC on a large-screen TV that is brighter, more colorful and performs almost as well, chances are a monitor isn’t going to cut it for you anymore.
Desktop monitors still have their place if pixel point accuracy and responsiveness are essential to you, but for the most part, they are easily interchangeable for a 50-inch TV that can display all your work, browsing and social media chat apps on one large screen, instead of having one or multiple small monitors that require frequent flicking through of your applications.
So if you’re building a new desktop PC, or you’re upgrading your old one and also need a new display to go with it, it’s well worth looking at a smart TV to take your work, browsing and gaming to the next level.