4K TVs as Monitors

Hello to the DLN community!! I am listening to the latest hardware addicts podcast. I really like the discussion there, but there is an alternative which the hosts didn’t talk about.
That is using 4k Monitors as your 2nd monitor. I have been using TCL 49S405 (2017) a 49" 4K Roku smart TV as my 2nd monitor for 3+ years. It has been a good experience for me so far for both productivity and entertainment purposes. It was very cheap ($280) when I bought it. Why don’t many people use/recommend 4k TVs as alternatives to monitors?


I guess it depends how you use it. TVs do a lot of processing so there could be a fair amount of lag. This would only affect users gaming or possibly editing documents where latency is a thing. Possibly some TVs are worst than others and some may have modes which turn off some of the processing. Other than this I can see no reason not to go with a TV as a monitor. I guess another reason is than people haven’t though of it as being “A thing”, therefore great suggestion. I am sure some folks will benefit from this.


I use a Samsung 55" 4K TV as a monitor for an old Mac Mini. It works pretty well. It’s a rarely used computer. Connecting it to the TV allows me to use it on the rare occasions needed without having to go through the rig-a-ma-roll of setting everything up.


I am using a Samsung TU-8300 55" tv as a monitor and it’s been working pretty well. I chose it because it has decent performance (TV Reviews: Best of 2022 - RTINGS.com), it was relatively inexpensive around Black Friday 2020 and it doubled the square inch screen real estate I had before with two 22" monitors. Plus it has no bezels. I really enjoy having a “desktop” the size of a desk top, where I can drag my main focus to the center of my view and drag less important windows to the side, but still see them without having to minimize or hide them. Some people don’t like having to turn their head to read text at the corners of a large screen, but I find it natural and actually a little healthier than leaving my neck in the same position for hours. It isn’t a very bright screen for a TV, but sitting 18" away it’s fine. I was concerned before I bought it, but right now I think 55" is the sweet spot for me. I play games in windowed mode and I am ok with the 60 Hz refresh with the games I play. It’s even a little beyond 4k at 4096x2160.

There are a few drawbacks:

  1. Startup time is like 30 seconds because it’s a cheap computer for the UI.
  2. I have to reset it to game mode about once a week.
  3. I blocked its Internet access because it likes to phone home a lot.
  4. There’s no good place to put a camera for videoconferencing without blocking the screen.
  5. It doesn’t go to sleep or wake up via power management.
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I actually used a 55” TV as a monitor for a while, it didn’t work well for me. It was just too much real estate.

I do use a 32” TV as my main/center monitor with a couple of 27s on either side of it. That works better for me visually. TVs make good cheap monitors for the most part. I think they’re a little slower usually in response times than monitors are, but for many people it’s probably not a real issue.

@rediske pretty much nailed all the downsides for any size TV as a monitor I think.

You ‘can’ use a TV as a monitor and a lot of people do but it’s not the optimal experience as a general rule. Pixel density is one of the biggest issues as televisions as a general rule do not have the same pixel density that a monitor will have. The televisions that do will cost more than the monitors. This same rule applies across the gauntlet of specs from response time to color reproduction , refresh rates, etc. Additionally, you won’t usually have the same control over a TV that you do a monitor when it comes to software interaction. I’m not saying you can’t do it or that there are no TV’s that wouldn’t outperform some monitors but usually the price in that case makes the monitor a better value and a better experience.