I am looking to upgrade my computer system and am looking for a new "screen". I want to use it both as an extra screen for my computer and as a tv(direct cable, not streaming through internet). Should I be looking for Tv with monitor capabilities or a monitor with tv capabilities? What are the major differences?

Note: My computer does have a blue ray player if that makes a difference.

Any suggestions?


The question is more about resolution and pixel size. TVs tend to be optimized for the 8-10' experience, so they have larger pixels and lower resolutions, and monitors tend to be optimized for a 2-3' experience.

Even the highest quality HDTVs only support 1920x1080, which is fine for a 24" screen but nowhere near suitable for computer text at 32" and above.

As mentioned elsewhere in the thread, Samsung makes monitors with TV tuners built-in, and if you have a cable box that supports HDMI, you'll be able to use any monitor with two or more HDMI inputs. The only thing that a monitor won't have is sound, but a stereo with 2+ inputs isn't very expensive now (especially relative to the price of an HDTV). In a pinch, you could just get an audio splitter/joiner for the TV signal and computer.

  • +1 I think you got the difference between monitors with tuners and TVs with HDMI/DVI! – AndrejaKo Aug 11 '10 at 18:35

I have a 24" LCD monitor which has 3 inputs: VGA, DVI, and HDMI. If you don't mind manually switching inputs, you can probably get a cable box with HDMI ouput. You won't be able to use the TV and the computer at the same time, but if it's just a secondary display that might be OK.


Beware of using TVs as monitors. Overscan and automatic scaling will get you every time!!!

I built a HTPC with Win7 and am using a 720p TV with an HDMI port (converted with a plug to DVI). The problem is that the TV assumes the signal is overscanned, so it cuts off a margin of screen real estate around every edge.

So, I compensate with the Win7 / nVidia overscan settings by adding extra black space, but now, essentially, the TV is truncating and scaling. This doesn't matter much for images, but for text, it is painful. So painful in fact that I can't use it for anything other than watching movies, TV, etc.

The problem is less of an issue with 1080p, but beware. You can always add a tuner card to your PC, but unless your TV specifically allows for 1:1 pixel mapping, I would avoid using TVs as monitors.

  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overscan This helps to describe what overscanning is. Completely outdated in the world of lcd and plasma tv's, but you still have to deal with it. – h4rrydog Aug 11 '10 at 20:43

Option 1: Most Dell monitors come with both DVI-D and HDMI connectors and they generally are a lot cheaper than your average TV in the smaller sizes. You may have to play with the colour and saturation levels more to get a pleasing tv experience, but most monitors allow seperate settings for each input.

Option 2: An LCD or worse plasma TV with a VGA input or an old style DVI connector will render text from your computer poorly, so other than games or watching video i wouldn't recommend this as a 2nd screen.


If your cable connection is on HDMI, I suggest to go with a monitor since HDMI is readily supported on monitors (either directly or via DVI).

And monitors are much more cheaper and sharper than TV for same screen size, See https://superuser.com/questions/148493/why-tvs-are-costlier-than-monitor-for-same-screen-size


Depending on your connections, you might consider a monitor with TV tuner. There are some and they look like the solution for your problem.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.