Isn’t it nice to have a large screen for your computer setup?
Well then, if you have a spare TV at home, why not convert it to a monitor?
You might not be the first person who’s entertained this thought.
And although it’s possible to use your TV as a monitor, we don’t recommend it.
We know, this can be a bummer.
But if you’re willing to understand why, we’ll be explaining why your TV can be a monitor but why you shouldn’t do so.
What’s the difference between a monitor and a TV?
TVs and monitors are often used interchangeably mainly because they’re both audio and video output devices. Both can be used to display movies, shows, and games.
But beyond those similarities, there are so many differences between the two.
The first difference is how these two devices operate. For monitors, it has to be connected to a computer for it to play audio and video.
It won’t play audio and video by itself.
The opposite happens for TVs. TVs have their own frequency signals that allow them to receive radio and video.
So if you’re wondering why your TV has radio capabilities, this is why.
The second one is the size. In general, your average monitor is going to be anywhere between 15 to 27 inches. Although more modern monitors can go well over 30 inches, the standard monitor screen size now is 22.
On the other hand, your average TV has a length of 45.2 inches. This is mainly because a TV is made for watching from a distance rather than watching at a close range (which a monitor is for).
If you’re a gamer and you were thinking of playing games on a monitor or a TV, then we suggest going for a monitor designed for gaming.
Regular monitors will have a standard refresh rate of 60Hz. This is the same for standard TVs.
However, monitors that are made for gaming will at least have a refresh rate of 75Hz. And if you are planning to play high-speed games, this is the minimum refresh rate that you should aim to have.
Never heard of refresh rates? It’s the number of times the display on your screen changes or “refreshes” to a new image.
A refresh rate with a higher Hz is usually better.
But if you aren’t going to play high-speed games, you can stick with a TV or monitor that has a 60Hz refresh rate.
Can a TV be used as a monitor?
Well, if you have an HDMI cable, then yes, you can.
The best thing about computers and TVs today is that they usually use the same cables to transmit audio and video.
And can you guess what that cable is? It’s HDMI!
So if your computer has an HDMI output port (which it will most likely have), and your TV has an HDMI input, it’s going to be easy to convert your TV to a monitor.
What if your TV or computer doesn’t have HDMI?
Well, you can use an HDMI adapter that can convert HDMI signals to Component or RCA.
Is it bad to use a TV as a computer monitor?
Yes. There’s a reason why we don’t usually use a TV as a computer monitor.
One common reason is that it’s too big.
If you’re going to treat it like a monitor and work right in front of it, it can wear your eyes out.
Since TVs are generally bigger, you won’t just be moving your eyes from side to side to see every corner of the screen.
Instead, you have to move your head.
This alone can be tiring if you plan to do this for 8 hours.
Another reason is that a bigger television screen is not going to improve the clarity and sharpness of your images and videos.
Monitors have more pixels per inch than a TV and this allows monitors to have clearer images when setting up a few inches before your eyes.
Lastly, monitors are designed to have little to no input lag when it comes to receiving signals from your keyboard, mouse, or console
And we all know this is crucial if you are playing high-speed games.
How do I use my TV as a second monitor?
We mentioned earlier that turning your TV into a second monitor is easy.
Here are the steps to connect them using HDMI.
First, you have to check what ports your computer and TV have.
Ideally, your computer should have an HDMI output port and your TV has an HDMI input port.
If your devices have those ports, then you can proceed with connecting the two.
To do this, turn on your computer and connect the HDMI cable to the HDMI input port of your computer.
The other end should be connected to the HDMI output port of your TV.
If your TV is turned on, it will immediately detect the connection and it might display your computer screen on it.
However, the default setting is that your TV will mirror what your computer monitor is showing.
Since you plan on using the TV as a second monitor, you should change the settings to extend your screen to the TV.
Go to your computer’s monitor and right-click on its homepage and pick ‘Display Settings’.
A window will open and when you scroll down you’ll see a ‘Multiple displays’ option.
Click on the drop-down under it and choose ‘Extend these displays’.
Your TV will then act as your computer monitor’s extension.
You can now drag and drop windows from one screen to another.
From Display Settings, rearrange the screens that will show above ‘Multiple displays’.
You can just drag and drop the screens in the order that you want them to be.
And there you have it. Your TV is now a second monitor!
In summary, you can use a TV as a computer monitor if you have an HDMI port on both.
But we still do not recommend this even if you can.
Based on our assessment here, a computer monitor is still the best choice if you will be working a few inches from the screen.
Nonetheless, if you don’t want to buy a new monitor just yet, you can use a TV in the meantime.
The choice is up to you.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.