Does a small flat screen tv make a decent PC monitor?

Posted By: Coot

Does a small flat screen tv make a decent PC monitor? - 07/13/19 03:04 AM

This may seem like a silly question but I just don't know. My sister got a new TV and dropped of the one I had gotten for her as she doesn't need it anymore. Its a Magnavox flat screen I bought several years ago. I think its 32", has HDMI ports, says its an LED screen. I was just curious if a modernish tv nowadays would make for a decent PC screen. I'm still using a 27" widescreen monitor, a Sceptre brand that I bought in 2010 originally to use for an XBox360. Its been a good screen, nothing fancy. Is there a significant difference in the way they make computer monitors compared to HDTVs?

I'm tempted to hook it up for a change of pace, a little bigger viewing area and perhaps a brighter image being that its an LED. I remember buying an LED computer monitor from Best Buy once and I eventually discovered that I didn't care for it. It was TOO bright. Also, does vertical sync work the same way on TVs? Again I don't know much about it but I'm assuming that vsync is a function applied by your video card and its software. So would I be able to enable vsync just fine? Being a TV, how do I know its refresh rate? Also, being a tv, I also have no clue about the screen latency and refresh specs or if they are even done the same way as a PC montior.
Posted By: Allen

Re: Does a small flat screen tv make a decent PC monitor? - 07/13/19 10:21 AM

Questions about latency etc, I don't know answers. But, a couple things.

For my eyes, TV are good average monitors in general. I've used led TV monitors (and plasma tv) for PCs for years (along with normal PC monitors) -- we currently have 5 TVs (27"-1K, 43"-4K, 49"-4K. 56"-1K, 60"-1K) attached to PCs in different rooms. My current main system 43" 4K monitor is an LED TV. It replaces an excellent 32" 2K standard monitor. However, over the years a couple TVs have looked oddly pixelated when viewed up close.

I checked the color rendition on my current 43"-4K TV unit using a tool for the purpose. Its excellent (virtually perfect). Most older TVs as monitors are not excellent. But, most PC monitors are not excellent either.

TVs (and many monitors) have poor "black levels". Dark black areas can look dark gray.

Many are 60Hz refresh. My current one says 120Hz. But, the way I game, over 60Hz does not matter.

To my eyes, 27 inch is the maximum size that works for 1080p (1K) on the desktop. Bigger 1080p screens look pixelated from desktop distances -- but are okay at longer distances.

So, you might want to try it and see for yourself. By the way, brightness is variable using PC settings with my setup (I assume that's generally true). Its also variable using the TV controller. I do cut my brightness on my 43" depending on the use. Just opinions FWIW.
Posted By: Coot

Re: Does a small flat screen tv make a decent PC monitor? - 07/13/19 08:46 PM

I'm not sure if this is a 720p or 1080p. I only ever game in the past couple generations of PCs that I've had with 1080p 60Hz monitors. Someday I would love to get a high quality gaming monitor and maybe even a 4K monitor or TV further down the road.

It is bigger so I imagine it possible won't look right as you mentioned at normal desktop distances. I imagine I'd need to get at least 3ft away. I'm just curious about being able to enable vertical sink and what performance might be like. This old 2010 monitor I'm on has been a good monitor. I think its black level attributes are good. As I mentioned, previously when I tried and LED pc monitor it was just inherently too bright for me regardless of brightness settings. I think it had default modes and eco modes but compared to previous monitors it felt almost nuclear bright on my eyes. Its still working fine, the only problem I have is the power on switch doesn't work most of the time anymore so I've had to get it into the on position and just leave it that way permanently.

A strange thing though, unlike the hundred other games I have and play on this PC and monitor, for some reason Withcer 3 has something going on with its level of in-game contrast or something because with that game and pretty much that game only(and very noticably to the point of discomfort)I see my monitor's black lines imprinted on my retina.

Anyhow, I guess I won't know until I try. I'm hoping that the bigger viewing area and LED aspect might be a nice change of pace for awhile. I miss my old Sony Trinitron PC monitor. I think that may have only had a resolution of 1024X1280(can't remember now)but that's probably the best monitor and picture quality I've ever had. Unfortunately that went kaput years ago, I think the tube went out.

Thanks for the information Allen. I'll just have to give it a try I guess and see how it is.
Posted By: Paradaz

Re: Does a small flat screen tv make a decent PC monitor? - 07/14/19 07:45 PM

vsync will work fine.....the tech is in the gpu and it simply matches (synchronises) with the refresh rate every frame or every second frame......so if it's 60Hz you'll be locked in at 60fps or 30fps. The biggest problem we all have with TVs is that they have much slower response times and therefore input lag becomes a noticeable issue. Good monitors will be 1-4 ms but even the fastest TVs are 15-40ms, this can make fast twitch games like First Person Shooters feel like they are lagging and more often than not it feels like the controls are half a second behind the action. Some TVs have a 'game mode' which attempts to remove as much of the processing as possible to bring down the response time but still, even 15-20ms can be noticeable depending on the type of games you play. With some TVs, it's also difficult to identify what the response time actually is because they often don't include it in the specification.

There is a website which publishes some of the best gaming TV response times - link
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