Today’s PC games support resolutions as high as 4K or even 5K. Most PC gamers, however, don’t have a monitor that supports these high resolutions.
But if you’re shopping around for 4K PC monitors, you might have noticed something weird: huge 4K TVs aren’t that much more expensive than average-sized PC monitors. In fact, some are even cheaper.
How does that work? What are the disadvantages? Should you really consider using a big TV for PC gaming instead of a standard PC-sized monitor?
Here are some of the factors that need to go into your decision.
One of the main differences between a PC and a TV is the response time. If you’re into elite FPS gaming, then TVs probably don’t offer the response times you need to get that extra edge in every matchup.
But most people won’t notice small differences in response time. Most people will be happy to give up a few milliseconds of response time in exchange for a bigger TV experience. But just as a warning, slower response times are one major downside of moving to a TV from a PC monitor.
Sizing your new TV can be difficult. You need to consider the size of your room and the placement of your TV. You should choose a TV that doesn’t require you to uncomfortably crane your neck or maintain any type of bad posture for long periods of time.
Test out a few different arrangements. Visualize your TV’s placement on your wall. Check out how you’re going to sit and where you’re going to sit comfortably.
The further back you sit, the less likely you are to get a neck injury from craning. Sitting too far back, however, could put strain on your eyes.
4K TVs are great. But they’re still a niche item in a market flooded with standard resolution (1920x1080p) devices.
If you upgrade to 4K, you can expect some minor problems. Windows, for example, isn’t really well-optimized for high-resolution displays (i.e. 4K and 5K displays). This can make it difficult to read Windows information at a distance. Windows 10, fortunately, should be much better for this.
Can Your Graphics Card Even Run 4K?
If your graphics card can barely run modern games at full HD resolution, then 4K might be out of the question. 4K requires a substantial investment in graphics processing power, and many rigs won’t be able to handle it.
Look up the recommended 4K graphics settings for some of your favorite games to get an idea of how well your card (and the rest of your rig) will handle 4K.
Another major difference between TVs and PC monitors is color accuracy. PC monitors are designed for all kinds of work, and color accuracy is important for design work. If you’re a graphic artist who relies on your PC to create high-accuracy images, then a TV might not be your best option.
If you’re not picky about colors and don’t think you’ll notice the difference, then the color accuracy discrepancy on TVs might not be that noticeable.
One of the major reasons why PC gamers (and all PC users) are choosing 4K TVs over monitors is the price.
Many 4K TVs are priced lower than 4K monitors with similar specs. The reason is simple: there are dozens of 4K TV manufacturers and low-cost companies like Vizio help to drive down prices.
But in the PC world, there isn’t the same glut of 4K monitors making their way onto the marketplace. Ultimately, that means you’re spending more for a 4K monitor than you probably should.
There are some other minor differences between TVs and monitors:
Maneuverability: You typically can’t rotate or adjust TV stands as easily as you can adjust a computer display. This won’t be a problem if you’re fixing your TV to a wall. But if you like moving your monitor around and adjusting to different sitting positions, then you could feel restrained by using a TV.
You Might Not Have Room: If you use your PC in an office or smaller bedroom, then putting a big TV in there might look ridiculous. Make sure you measure out the size and angles to avoid having an ugly eyesore in a room where you really don’t need it.
No FreeSync or Gsync on TVs: There are currently no TVs that offer FreeSync or G-Sync. FreeSync is used in AMD graphics cards while G-Sync is used in Nvidia cards. It’s a way of eliminating stuttering and tearing on your screen and it can be particularly useful on higher resolution displays. You might have heard of v-sync, a PC game that attempts to fix the same jerkiness problems but also lead to lower mouse responsiveness. G-Sync and FreeSync are superior alternatives and they can be very valuable to 4K PC gamers.
Aside from these differences, there’s not a lot of problems when switching to a TV from a PC monitor – especially if you can snag a great deal on a 4K TV sale.