PC monitors and TVs aren't very different from one another and they tend to use the same connections. The biggest difference between the two is the inclusion of a sound system and TV tuner. Monitors are designed for that specific use, so if you're looking to get a TV to use as a PC monitor, the biggest things to consider are the TV's supported resolutions, its ability to display chroma 4:4:4 and the width of its viewing angle. Some TVs even allow for a 120hz input, which is excellent for PC gaming. Here are our recommendations for the best TV monitors.
Best TV to use as a PC Monitor (40"- 43")
Unfortunately, smaller TVs are becoming a bit rare. It is especially the case for TVs that make good PC monitors, so the choice is a bit limited.
The best small TV to use as a PC monitor we've tested is the Sony XBR43X800D 4k TV. It can display chroma 4:4:4 correctly, so text is clear and without any visible artifacts.
Input lag is pretty good, and the X800D has little motion blur: moving windows around doesn't leave an ugly smear. It has some shortcomings. Its viewing angles are quite narrow since it uses a VA-type panel. It also doesn't support a 120hz input, but that's a minor downside. Overall though, this Sony TV should work well as a PC monitor.
Best TV to use as a PC Monitor (Large)
For something bigger, look for the Sony X850D 4k IPS TV. It doesn't have the picture quality of an OLED, but it has many features that make it very suitable to use as a PC monitor.
No TV beats this one for PC gaming since it supports 1080p @ 120fps. That mode isn't perfect since it shows some very minor banding, but that can be reduced by using the graphics picture mode. Motion blur is great, and chroma 4:4:4 is supported in both important resolutions. Input lag isn't bad either, and the X850D sports a very wide viewing angle.
If picture quality is most important to you, get the LG B6 OLED TV. Mostly thanks to its use of OLED technology, it produces the best picture quality available today.
While the B6 supports 4k @ 60hz @ Chroma 4:4:4, it doesn't have the 1080p @ 120fps of the X850D. Its input lag is slightly lower, though. Its biggest issue, when used as a PC monitor, is image retention. As seen in our video review, the LG B6 will retain pictures that remained static for a few minutes. It's not a big issue when watching content such as movies and TV shows.
Best Budget TV to use as a PC Monitor (Large)
If you’re looking for a large PC monitor that doesn’t break the bank, look for the Sony XBR65X750D 4k LED TV. It performs very similarly to our top pick for a bit less money.
At 65 inches, it's very big compared to the average monitor. It has one of the widest viewing angles found in an LED TV, which is very useful when sitting up close. It also supports much like the X850D a 120fps input, making it an excellent choice for PC gaming. Chroma 4:4:4 is also fully supported, so no issues with text. This is the go-to large PC monitor since it isn't too expensive and has all the features needed. For something smaller, get the X700D instead. It's essentially the same as the X750D but without the 120hz input.
What is Chroma 4:4:4?
Every pixel in a screen is sent a brightness value, which tells it how bright or dark it should be. There is also a color value that is sent, which tells the pixel which color to be.
A common method of compressing a file is to make groups of pixels share color, or chroma, data. This reduces the size of a file significantly, and with most video, the difference in quality is minimal.
This type of compression, though, doesn’t look great on a computer monitor. In particular, the lack of specificity that you get by making pixels share chroma values leads to blurry text. That’s why, especially for productivity purposes, it’s desirable to have a TV capable of chroma 4:4:4, which is uncompressed.
Above, you can see images illustrating three levels of compression. You can see that from 4:4:4 (uncompressed) to 4:2:2 (compressed a bit), there is a bit of a loss of specificity in the lower text - it's not quite as sharp as with 4:4:4. It’s an even more noticeable drop in quality when you’re looking at 4:2:0 (the typical level of compression). Again, this is only really important for text. It’s very hard to spot this compression with normal footage.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best TVs to use as a PC monitor for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no TVs that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
A few examples of TVs that didn't make the cut:
- LG E6. Exceptional TV, but the LG B6 is a very close performer for quite a lot cheaper. See our review
- Samsung KS8000. Best in class image quality and great input lag, but a larger viewing angle and better resolution support gave the edge to the Sony X850D. See our review
- Sony X900E. Good PC monitor, but the X850D is cheaper and performs better. See our review
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of TVs. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.