PC monitors (see our monitor reviews) and TVs are close relatives. Usually, they differ in design and image processing capabilities and connectivity. TVs usually have more advanced image processing capabilities than monitors and come equipped with TV tuners and integrated speakers whereas monitors usually have DisplayPort connections that TVs still lack.
Most TVs offer a 'PC Mode' option, which removes the extra image processing and ensures the lowest possible input lag. The most important things to take into consideration when choosing a TV for PC monitor usage are the TV's supported resolutions, the ability to display chroma 4:4:4, and the viewing angles that can cause uniformity issues when sitting close to the screen.
We've tested 80 TVs and here are our recommendations for the best TV monitors to buy in 2019.
Note: Prices and availability fluctuate a lot at the beginning of the year as last year's models are gradually replaced by newer ones.
The Sony KD43X720E is the best TV for use as a PC monitor in the 40-43 inch size. Unlike the similarly priced Samsung UN40NU7100, the Sony KD43X720E has an IPS panel and the picture quality remains accurate for wider viewing angles, so if you are seated close to the TV, the sides will look more uniform. It supports 4:4:4 chroma so text will look crisp, and it can properly display the most common resolutions. The X720E has a low input lag and it is very responsive to your actions, which is very important if you plan to use it as a PC monitor.
However, due to the IPS panel, the contrast ratio is low and this prevents the TV from displaying deep blacks in a dark room, leading to a picture quality which is only decent.
Overall, this 43 inch Sony X720E is a great TV monitor.
If you are looking for a larger TV than the Sony KD43X720E, then go with the Samsung QN55Q8FN. You will have some uniformity issues at the edges when you sit close due to the poor viewing angle issues.
The Samsung Q8FN is a great TV with low input lag that reacts instantly to your actions. It has a very fast response time, and thus you will only see a small trail when you move the mouse. It can display chroma 4:4:4 properly, so the text is crisp, and it supports FreeSync to please gamers. It is suitable for dark rooms as it can display very deep blacks, and for bright rooms due to its excellent brightness. It has a wide color gamut and performs very well in HDR.
Overall, the Samsung QN55Q8FN is a great large TV for use as a PC monitor.
If you are looking for the best TV for use as PC Monitor and don't care if it is hard to find, get the Vizio P Series Quantum. It is a better recommendation than the Samsung Q8FN but it is unpredictable if you can find it in stock online. The PQ65-F1 lacks the FreeSync Variable Refresh Rate option found on the Q8FN, but it is an excellent TV for use as a PC monitor with great picture quality and deep blacks for dark rooms. It can get very bright so you can use it in a bright room without any issues. When used as a PC monitor, it reacts immediately to your actions due to the low input lag, and the very fast response time leaves almost no blur trail in fast motion. Finally, it accepts most common input resolutions and can display clear and crisp text as it supports 4:4:4 chroma.
If you want a large screen with better viewing angles than those of the Samsung Q8FN, then get the LG SK9000. The LG does not have the excellent dark room performance of the Samsung Q8FN, as it has an IPS panel which is more suitable for brighter environments. On the upside, it has a good picture quality, and the viewing angles are much wider so it is less likely that you will experience uniformity issues at the edges. The SK9000 is very responsive thanks to the low input lag, and you will immediately notice this when you move the mouse around the screen. At the same time, the pixel response time is fast and you will not notice much blur trailing behind the mouse.
If you find the Samsung Q8FN expensive, the best budget TV to use as PC monitor is the TCL 55R617. The 6 Series does not have the great local dimming, the excellent reflection handling, or the good gray uniformity found on the Q8FN.
On the upside, the TCL R617 is a very good TV with deep blacks that result in a very good picture quality. When used as a PC monitor, it has an impressive performance. It accepts most common resolutions, including 4:4:4 chroma so text is clear and crisp. It has very low input lag and is very responsive. The TV has excellent brightness and thus can be placed in a bright room.
Overall, the TCL 6 Series is a very good TV for many different usages and it is a good choice for someone who wants to use it as a PC monitor.
If you find the TCL R617 expensive, get the TCL S Series S405/S425 (if you can't find it, get the similar but slightly more expensive TCL S517). It is a worse TV than the TCL 6 Series; it cannot get as bright nor is it equipped with more advanced features. It is, however, a very good TV for use as a PC monitor, with excellent low input lag that feels very responsive. It will accept most common resolutions, and text is clear and crisp as it can properly display 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).
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.