Technology in the monitor industry has improved in recent years, and monitors are now becoming suitable for watching multimedia content like TVs and shows. While TVs still offer the best performance for that, they tend to be expensive and are usually available in larger sizes, which isn't ideal if you have limited space. Getting a monitor is a great alternative if you want something smaller. When looking for the best monitor for movies, you'll also want to consider a monitor's contrast ratio, black uniformity, and local dimming to know if it's a good choice for watching content in dark rooms. It's also important to get something with a high resolution so that you can get an immersive viewing experience.
We've bought and tested more than 270 monitors, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best multimedia monitors that are available to buy. Also see our recommendations for the best 4k HDR monitors, the best 32-inch monitors, and the best 4k monitors.
The best monitor we've tested for consuming multimedia content is the Dell Alienware AW3423DW. It has a QD-OLED panel that makes it a great choice for watching shows and movies in dark rooms. It combines the perfect black levels of an OLED with the wide range of colors from a QLED display. It means that blacks look deep and inky in the dark, and colors look bright and vivid thanks to the remarkable color volume. It's an ultrawide display with a 21:9 aspect ratio, which is ideal for watching ultrawide 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 also has wide viewing angles that make the image remain consistent from the sides, which is great for sharing your screen with someone. Sadly, it has raised black levels in bright rooms, so blacks look closer to purple in a well-lit environment, but that just means it performs best in dark rooms. Also, OLEDs are prone to burn-in when exposed to the same static elements over time, like if you're constantly watching the news, but it isn't a problem if you watch different types of shows and movies.
If you find the Dell Alienware AW3423DW too expensive or simply don't like the ultrawide format, check out the LG 27GR95QE-B. It's still a high-end monitor that's fantastic for media consumption, but it's different from the Dell in a few ways. It has a smaller 27-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, so you don't get the same immersive viewing experience when watching movies in an ultrawide format. The OLED panel it uses is different from the QD-OLED panel in the Dell, meaning it doesn't get as bright, and colors aren't as vivid for a slightly worse HDR experience.
Luckily, you still get all the same benefits of an OLED panel with perfect blacks and no blooming around bright objects. It also has wide viewing angles that make it ideal for watching content with a friend or two as they'll see a consistent image from the sides. It doesn't have the same raised black level issue as the Dell either, meaning that the picture quality is equally great in bright rooms as it is in dark rooms.
If you're concerned about the burn-in risk associated with OLEDs or you want something a bit cheaper, consider the Dell U3223QE. It doesn't have an OLED panel like the LG 27GR95QE-B, meaning it can't deliver the same perfect black levels. Instead, it has only a decent contrast ratio with a terrible local dimming feature that isn't effective at improving the contrast. Still, there isn't much blooming around bright objects, which is great for watching content with dark scenes. This monitor has a bigger 32-inch screen with a 4k resolution, which helps deliver a more immersive viewing experience with sharper images.
It has remarkable color accuracy before calibration, which is important if you want life-like images without calibrating the monitor in SDR. It also has alright HDR peak brightness and displays a wide range of colors in HDR, but those colors are undersaturated. It also has bad color volume, and if that bothers you, there's a smaller variant, the Dell U2723QE, that has better color volume in HDR for more vivid and bright colors. It costs less, but because it has a smaller screen, it doesn't deliver the same immersive viewing experience.
If you want something cheaper in the lower mid-range price category, check out the Samsung Smart Monitor M8 S32BM80. It has a 4k, 32-inch screen like the Dell U3223QE but worse color accuracy and a worse color gamut. It's also a different type of monitor because it has a built-in smart system, essentially making it a 32-inch TV without a tuner. You don't need to use a computer to watch your favorite content because the Tizen OS built-in smart platform is easy-to-use and has a ton of apps you can download. It even comes with a remote to navigate the menus, which has a mic that you can use with Alexa and Bixby voice assistants.
For picture quality, it's a great choice for watching movies because it displays deep blacks thanks to its high native contrast ratio and has good black uniformity with minimal blooming. It doesn't have a local dimming feature but displays deep blacks. It also has more picture settings than most monitors, allowing you to adjust the settings to your liking.
If you're looking for the best monitor for watching movies and are on a budget, the Dell S3221QS is a good choice. While it costs more than other budget-friendly monitors, those tend to perform worse for watching multimedia content, so this monitor offers the best value. It has a 4k, 32-inch screen like the Samsung Smart Monitor M8 S32BM80, 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 using your PC.
It also has a VA panel with a high native contrast ratio, and while it doesn't have a local dimming feature to further improve the black levels, 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 it has narrow viewing angles that make the image look washed out from the sides.
Mar 29, 2023: Replaced the Gigabyte AORUS FO48U OLED with the LG 27GR95QE-B because it's smaller; updated Notable Mentions based on this change and market availability.
Dec 20, 2022: Added the Dell U3223QE as the 'Best Mid-Range Monitor' while renaming the Samsung Smart Monitor M8 and the Dell S3221QS to 'Best Lower Mid-Range' and 'Best Budget' respectively; removed the Dell S2721QS and the ViewSonic Elite XG270 because they aren't good for multimedia; updated the Notable Mentions based on changes.
Oct 18, 2022: Restructured article to reflect how people are looking for monitors; renamed the Dell Alienware AW3423DW as the 'Best Monitor For Multimedia' and replaced the LG C1 with the Gigabyte AORUS FO48U and renamed as the 'Best Upper Mid-Range Monitor'. Renamed the Samsung Smart Monitor M8 as the 'Best Mid-Range Monitor'; replaced the LG 32QN55T-B with the Dell S2721QS because of the higher resolution; removed the Dell U2723QE and added the Dell S3221QS and the ViewSonic XG270 in their categories; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.
Jul 14, 2022: Restructured article to reflect user needs; replaced the Dell S2722QC with the Dell U2723QE because it's better and renamed to 'Best 27-Inch'; added the Samsung Smart Monitor M8 as the 'Best Monitor'; replaced the Gigabyte M34WQ and the Gigabyte M27Q with the Dell AW3423DW and the LG 32QN55T-B; and removed the 1440p category because 4k is better for multimedia.
Feb 09, 2022: Replaced the Dell S2721QS with the Dell S2722QC for consistency; replaced the ASUS TUF Gaming VG34VQL1B with the Gigabyte M34WQ because it has more features; 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.