Most monitors deliver a good enough multimedia experience if you don't want to spend a ton on a new TV or if you want something that fits on your desk. New 4k monitors have some of the same features as high-end TVs, including HDR support and even local dimming for better dark room performance, but you won't get the same image processing features or peak brightness as a TV. However, you don't necessarily need a 4k monitor for watching multimedia content, as even 1440p displays are good enough for an enjoyable experience.
We've bought and tested more than 240 monitors, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best multimedia monitors that are available for purchase. See also our recommendations for the best 4k monitors, the best 1440p monitors, and the best monitors.
The Samsung Smart Monitor M8 S32BM80 is the best monitor we've tested for watching multimedia content. It's very different than most monitors on the market because it has a built-in smart system, essentially making it a 32-inch TV without a tuner. You don't even 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, and it has a mic you can use with Alexa and Bixby voice assistants.
In terms of 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. However, it doesn't have a local dimming feature. It also has a 4k resolution that results in sharp detail and crisp images, so you can use it to stream your favorite 4k shows and movies without issue.
If you want something simple and you're on a budget, the LG 32QN55T-B is also a decent choice for media consumption. While you don't get many of the features that the Samsung Smart Monitor M8 S32BM80 has, like the built-in smart platform and the 4k resolution, the LG still has a 32-inch screen that's big enough for watching movies and shows. The 1440p resolution is good for streaming content, and if you want to share your screen with a friend sitting next to you, it has wide viewing angles that make images remain consistent from the sides.
It looks great in well-lit rooms as it gets bright enough to fight glare and has great reflection handling, meaning visibility won't be an issue. However, it isn't as good in dark rooms because it has a low native contrast ratio that makes blacks look gray. It means it's a better choice for watching shows in a bright environment than movies in a dark one. Regardless, this is the trade-off of getting a budget-friendly monitor for watching multimedia content.
Movies are meant to be watched on big screens, and if you want to enhance your viewing experience, the LG OLED48C1 is the best display for watching multimedia content. It's actually a TV that we tested as a monitor because it's popular as such, so it's easier to watch your favorite movies and shows because it has a built-in smart platform. It's the best monitor for movies because its OLED panel has a near-infinite contrast ratio for perfect blacks, and it doesn't have any blooming around bright objects.
The 48-inch screen may seem big, especially if you sit close. If that's too big for you, the newer LG 42 C2 OLED is also a great choice, but it costs more. While it doesn't have the same ergonomic adjustments as a typical monitor, it has wide viewing angles that make it a great choice if you want to watch movies with a friend sitting next to you.
If you want a multimedia monitor for watching HDR content, then the best monitor for watching movies in HDR is the Dell Alienware AW3423DW. While watching HDR content, you want a display that shows great blacks with bright highlights and vivid colors. This monitor does exactly that because it has an OLED panel like the LG 48 C1 OLED but takes it one step further by introducing a quantum dot layer for a wide range of colors. It means that it displays perfect black levels and has decent HDR peak brightness, so colors look vivid, and it has a remarkable color volume, meaning it displays dark and bright colors extremely well.
It's an ultrawide monitor with a 21:9 aspect ratio, which is ideal for watching widescreen movies as it fills out the entire screen. However, it has a 3440x1440 resolution, meaning you won't get the same detail as on a 4k screen, but it's good enough for decent image clarity. Keep in mind that some Dell monitors aren't the easiest to find through retailers, so it's likely best to go through Dell's website.
Should you find the other monitors in this recommendation too big, then something with a smaller screen is better for your needs. The Dell U2723QE is the best 27-inch monitor for consuming multimedia content that we've tested. It has a 4k resolution that results in sharp images thanks to the smaller screen, and it also has wide viewing angles if you want to share your screen with someone next to you. It has remarkable ergonomics that make the screen easy to adjust to your favorite position.
Although this monitor has a low native contrast ratio compared to some of the other displays in this list, it's better than other monitors with IPS panels as it uses IPS Black technology to improve the contrast. It means it has a decent native contrast ratio and alright black uniformity if you want to use it in dark rooms. It also has a local dimming feature that automatically turns on in HDR, but it performs terribly, so the monitor performs best for watching SDR content.
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.
Dec 13, 2021: Switched our Best 1440p Multimedia Monitor pick to the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD, moving the Gigabyte M27Q to the 'Best Budget' category instead. We removed the AOC CU34G2X as a cheaper alternative, as there's almost no price difference between it and our main pick now.
Sep 24, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. Removed 'Best Budget' category because the Gigabyte M27Q is a budget monitor, and there's no better choice. Added AOC CU34G2X as 'Cheaper Alternative'.
Jul 27, 2021: Replaced Dell UltraSharp U2720Q with Dell S2721QS. Added LG 48 C1 OLED as 'Larger Alternative'. Replaced LG 34GN850-B with ASUS TUF Gaming VG34VQL1B.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best monitors currently available for multimedia. 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.