More and more console gamers have made the switch to a dedicated gaming monitor to pair with their Xbox One or PS4 to take advantage of what once were exclusive PC gaming features. TVs have the upper hand in terms of size and, depending on the technology, image quality. However, gamers have prioritized the fast, smooth, and responsive gaming experience that only monitors provide. Let us discuss three of the most significant differences between TVs and monitors for console gaming.
The truth is that TVs and monitors are designed for different purposes so they have a lot of differences in tech specs.
One of the main advantages of playing console games on a monitor instead of a TV is the improved input lag, which is the time it takes for the signal received by the display to be processed and shown on the screen.
Televisions tend to rely heavily on filters that improve image quality when watching TV, like noise reduction and upscaling, but this takes extra time and translates into input lag. However, none of these features are desirable when playing console games, as image quality is largely controlled by the console and game engine. Any added processing on the TV side simply adds latency. Lag or latency slows down your gaming experience with a noticeable delay between button presses and actions seen on the screen
Monitors, on the other hand, do not suffer from severe input lag. They take the digital signal from the console and directly send it to the screen without much processing, providing quick visual response to button presses on your controller. While some TVs have a Game Mode which can reduce lag from 60 milliseconds to around 20, it is still very far from a monitor’s benchmark of 10 milliseconds.
The rule is: the lower the input lag, the better, which is especially true for fast-paced games like shooters.
Another spec that is worth paying attention to is response time. Also measured in milliseconds, it refers to how fast pixels on the display switch from one color to another. Faster response times result in better viewing experiences during fast-paced scenes, while slower response times can result in ghosting or blurring of the image.
Response time relates closely to the type of panel technology used in displays: twisted nematic (TN), vertical alignment (VA), and in-plane switching (IPS).
Overall, modern TVs have much higher response times than monitors, which might result in ghosting and worse picture quality. Casual gamers are happy with a response time of about 10 milliseconds, while competitive and professional gamers usually target something closer to 1 millisecond.
The third aspect that is different between monitors and TVs is the refresh rate. Televisions typically change the image on the screen 60 times every second, generally referred to as a 60Hz refresh rate.
Because most consoles were initially designed for TV usage, the refresh rate used to be a less critical factor. However, Xbox One received an update in 2018 that allows it to work at up to 120Hz, taking advantage of a monitor’s capability to run at refresh rates higher than 60 frames per second (FPS).
Additionally, Xbox One supports a feature usually reserved for PC gaming called variable refresh rate. This technology, commonly found in the form of AMD FreeSync (or NVIDIA’s proprietary G-Sync), allows the video source and monitor to communicate and dynamically match the FPS of the source to the refresh rate of the display for smooth and tear-free gaming.
Most of modern televisions and monitors feature 4K resolution, meaning that they can provide sharper and more detailed images of 3840 X 2160 pixels. TVs are designed to be viewed from a far, with a lower pixel density. Thus, when viewed from a short distance, the image turns out pixelated. Gamers who use a display at a shorter distance to have a more immersive gaming experience, might want to pick out monitors with a higher pixel density. No one would like to play games watching images with low pixel density.
Last but not the least, a display which can offer you viewing comfort is also a feature you need to take into consideration as well. Low blue light and flicker-free are just the basic; a monitor with brightness intelligence which can be adapted to the ambient light will offer the gaming experience.