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What Is the Difference Between a Monitor and a TV?

What Is The Difference Between A Monitor And A Tv 1

Not many people know that there are clear differences between a TV and a monitor; this difference is not just in their physical appearance but in their function.

On a few occasions, you may need a display screen for your computer operations. At the same time, you may need a screen for broadcasting. Hence, the decision to use a TV screen as a monitor and vice-versa can occur. However, before making this decision, let’s see the difference between a TV and a monitor.

Quick Answer

The broad difference between the two is that a TV displays signals from satellites of broadcasting companies. It does this by decoding satellite waves to visual forms. On the other hand, a monitor displays visuals from a computer user’s computer inputs. It converts minute electrical currents generated in circuit boards/semiconductors of computer systems into visual forms.

This article will show the major differences between a TV and a monitor. Also, you will be equipped with knowledge of which is best for you.

The Difference Between a Monitor and a TV

There are many differences between a TV and a monitor. The information below includes size, aspect ratio, refresh rate, viewing angle, image quality, and other differences.


A monitor is smaller in size than a TV. In terms of screen size, which is usually measured by the diagonal length, a monitor is 30 inches on average. On the other hand, a TV measures 70 inches on average.

The purpose of both electronics explains why they have such sizes. A monitor must be viewed from a close range and usually by a single person operating on it. Hence, it requires only a small size.

On the other hand, a TV has to be viewed from both a medium to a far range and is often viewed by more than one person. Hence, for this purpose, a TV is bigger than a monitor.

Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio determines how wide a screen is relative to its height. In the past, during the time of cathode-ray TVs and old computer monitors, the issue of aspect ratio did not remarkably favor the width of a screen over its height. The aspect ratio then was 5:4. In contrast, it is now 16:9 for many TVs and monitors.

A wide aspect ratio is now important not just for TVs but for monitors as well. Viewers are finding more need to have a wider viewing angle. Many individuals usually watch TVs, requiring a larger viewing angle to produce larger images than they can see.

Also, with improvements in RAM size, many PCs can multitask now. Their monitors require a larger viewing angle to accommodate the numerous tabs and windows opened during multitasking. Also, graphics-oriented monitors such as gaming, video production, and many others require a large viewing angle.

Hence, both a TV and a monitor require a wide screen. However, the TV aspect ratio is usually more important than a monitor. If a TV has a small width, it will usually limit its purpose to broadcasting to many people. A monitor with smaller width is manageable as most times, only one person uses the screen.

Therefore, a large aspect ratio screen is likelier to be a TV than a monitor.


Because TVs are usually wider and bigger than monitors, most TVs are more expensive than a monitor.

Nevertheless, monitors are still more expensive than the average TV. For example, gaming monitors and monitors used for image and video editing are generally expensive because they have higher color accuracy.

Image Quality

The pixel density or PPI (pixel per square inch) is commonly used in accessing image quality. A monitor displays texts, symbols, icons, and images, and these characters are usually small in size. Hence, a monitor usually has a higher pixel density than a TV, so these small characters and symbols can be seen.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate is needed for continuously displaying images on your screen. The sharpness of graphics and their position change in moving images like videos. Hence, your screen needs to continually refresh itself to display new images and keep them sharp on the screen. How fast your screen refreshes within a second is known as the refresh rate. If the refresh rate is slow, the image on your screen will appear blurry.

Nowadays, the refresh rate for TVs and monitors is much higher than before. From the existing 60Hz refresh rate, there are now 120Hz and 360Hz refresh rates available.

Between a TV and a monitor, a TV has the most need for a high refresh rate. The reason is that a TV is originally made to display moving images. And with more TV broadcasts such as sports getting popular, TVs have a higher refresh rate.

The exception occurs in gaming monitors as gaming monitors continually produce fast images of high-paced games. Hence, they require a high refresh rate. To this effect, most display screens having 360 Hz refresh rates are gaming monitors.

In general, a TV has a higher refresh rate than a monitor. The exception to this occurrence is strictly in gaming monitors, which have a higher refresh rate.

Viewing Angle

Both the TV screen and a monitor have a large viewing angle. Many people watch a TV simultaneously and view it from different angles. On the other hand, a monitor is usually watched by a single person who is operating it. This is why a TV has a wider viewing angle than a monitor.

The viewing angle of a TV is about 110°. In contrast, a monitor viewing angle is about 160°.

Other Differences Between a Monitor and a TV

  • Monitors do not have curved screens. However, there are TVs with curved screens.
  • Monitors are usually connected to various parts of the computer peripheral devices. Hence, they have more input jacks than a TV.
  • A monitor has no tuner or remote. However, a TV has a tuner or remote.

Which Should I Choose Between a TV and a Monitor?

You should strictly follow the purpose for which you want to use these devices. If you want to use the screen for a broadcast that many people can view, you should get a TV. You should get a monitor if you desire to use it for computing and IT tasks. You should get a gaming monitor if you desire to use it solely for gaming.

Overall, a TV can cover the typical function of a monitor. You only need to convert the TV to use as a desktop monitor. However, the suitable TV to use in this case should have a high resolution and refresh rate.


When deciding to choose between a TV and a monitor, you should choose the one that best serves your purpose. A monitor is usually for a sole person’s function and computing and IT activities. On the other hand, a TV broadcasts information in visual forms to many people.

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