The best displays for watching your favorite shows and movies are TVs, but they tend to cost a lot, and getting a monitor has its benefits. This is because they're smaller, so they don't take up as much space, and they're versatile for different uses, like if you want something for competitive gaming on the side. Monitor technology is catching up to TV technology, too, as you're starting to see monitors with the same OLED and QD-OLED panels as TVs, resulting in great picture quality.
When looking for a multimedia monitor, you'll want a high contrast ratio to display deep blacks while watching content in dark rooms. A good local dimming feature also improves the picture quality in dark scenes, but only a few monitors have good local dimming. You'll also want a high-resolution monitor for a ton of detail, and good color accuracy makes images look life-like. It's also important to consider what size you want in a monitor, and even ultrawide models are beneficial as movies can fill the entire screen.
We've bought and tested more than 300 monitors, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best multimedia monitors available to buy. See our recommendations for the best 4k HDR monitors, the best 32-inch monitors, and the best 4k monitors. If you feel like getting a monitor isn't right for you, check out the best TVs for movies.
The best monitor for movies we've tested is the Dell Alienware AW3423DW. It has a QD-OLED panel that some high-end TVs use; this combines perfect black levels with a wide range of vivid and bright colors, which is ideal for watching content in dark rooms. Besides that, its ultrawide 21:9 aspect ratio is ideal for watching some movies as it fills out the screen, but you'll see black bars at the sides if you're watching 16:9 content, like some shows. It's also a great choice for watching content with a friend next to you because it has wide viewing angles.
Sadly, OLEDs like this are prone to burn-in when exposed to the same static elements over time, like if you're constantly watching the news or the same shows on repeat, but it isn't a problem if you watch different types of shows and movies. If this doesn't bother you and you want a QD-OLED with a built-in smart platform that makes it easier to stream content, you can also check out the 34-inch Samsung Odyssey OLED G8/G85SB S34BG85 or the 49-inch super ultrawide Samsung Odyssey OLED G9/G95SC S49CG95. However, they tend to cost more and don't get as bright.
If you find the Dell Alienware AW3423DW too expensive or don't like the ultrawide format, check out the ASUS ROG Swift OLED PG27AQDM instead. It's different from the Dell in a few ways, as it has a smaller 27-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, so you don't get the same immersive viewing experience. Its OLED panel is also different from the Dell monitor's QD-OLED panel as it doesn't display the same vivid colors, which means it's a step down in overall performance, especially for HDR content. That said, it's still fantastic for media consumption.
You still get all the same benefits of an OLED panel with perfect blacks and no blooming around bright objects, making it a fantastic choice for watching content in dark rooms. It also gets very bright in HDR, which makes highlights stand out against the rest of the image. However, you must update the monitor to its latest firmware for the best HDR performance. If you want something better out of the box, consider the LG 27GR95QE-B, which uses the same panel but doesn't get as bright, so the ASUS still offers the best performance.
If you don't want a premium monitor with an OLED panel like the ASUS ROG Swift OLED PG27AQDM, you can get some great options for a lower price. The Acer Nitro XV275K P3biipruzx is great for watching multimedia content, and you can find it for less than the ASUS when it goes on sale. However, it doesn't have an OLED panel like the ASUS, so it doesn't display the same deep blacks without blooming, but it's hard to find OLED displays in the mid-range price category. Instead, it features Mini LED backlighting with a decent local dimming feature, resulting in fairly deep blacks in dark rooms and minimal blooming.
It even gets extremely bright in HDR, making highlights pop against the rest of the image and displaying a wide range of colors. Another advantage over the ASUS is that it has a 4k resolution, which results in very sharp and detailed images, ideal for watching the latest content. Lastly, it has wide viewing angles and fantastic ergonomics, making sharing your screen with others easy.
If you find the Acer Nitro XV275K P3biipruzx too expensive, there's a trade-off for getting something cheaper. The monitor market is still behind the TV market for low-cost and budget-friendly displays for watching multimedia content, as they don't have premium features like local dimming. Some are still good enough for watching content, like the Samsung Smart Monitor M7/M70C S32CM70. It's a 4k monitor like the Acer, but it doesn't have Mini LED backlighting or even a local dimming feature, so it doesn't get as bright with highlights that pop.
It's still a very good monitor for watching multimedia content because it includes Samsung's proprietary Tizen smart platform. It lets you easily stream your favorite content without needing a PC. It also delivers good picture quality with an excellent native contrast ratio and good black uniformity, so it's a great choice if you want to use it in a dark room. Even if you want to use it in a well-lit room, it gets bright enough in SDR to fight glare and has good reflection handling.
If you're looking for the best monitor for watching movies and are on a budget, the Dell S3221QS is a good choice. While there are even cheaper monitors, those tend to have worse picture quality, so this one offers the best value. It has a 4k, 32-inch screen like the Samsung Smart Monitor M7/M70C S32CM70, but the main difference is that it doesn't have a smart system. Although this is a neat feature on the Samsung monitor, you can save money by getting a monitor without one and just use your PC to watch content.
It has a VA panel with a high native contrast ratio, and while it doesn't have a local dimming feature to improve the black levels further, it still looks good in dark rooms, and the black uniformity isn't bad. It has a subtle 1800R curve, which helps bring the edges of the screen more within your field of vision if you sit directly in front of it. However, it isn't an ideal choice for watching content with a friend because its narrow viewing angles make the image look washed out from the sides.
Nov 30, 2023: Added the Acer Nitro XV275K P3biipruzx to give another option as a mid-range monitor; replaced the Samsung Smart Monitor M8/M80C S32CM80 with the Samsung Smart Monitor M7/M70C S32CM70 as it's cheaper; added the INNOCN 27M2V and the Sony INZONE M9 to Notable Mentions.
Sep 08, 2023: Removed the Gigabyte M32UC and replaced the Samsung Smart Monitor M8 S32BM80 with the newer Samsung Smart Monitor M8/M80C S32CM80 because it's an upgrade; added the S32BM80 and Dell Alienware AW3423DWF to Notable Mentions.
Jul 14, 2023: Replaced the LG 27GR95QE-B with the ASUS ROG Swift OLED PG27AQDM because it gets brighter; replaced the INNOCN 27M2V with the Gigabyte M32UC because the INNOCN is hard to find; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best monitors for watching movies and other types of multimedia content currently available. They are adapted to be valid for most people, in each price range. Rating is based on our review, factoring in price and feedback from our visitors.
If you would prefer to make your own decision, here is the list of all of our monitor reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. Most monitors are good enough to please most people, and the metrics that fare worse are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.