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TVs vs. Monitors for gaming - which do you prefer?


TVs vs. Monitors for gaming - which do you prefer?  

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I've read a lot of stuff recently about people choosing to play their games on monitors instead of TVs, especially when it comes to the new Xbox Series consoles, which support 1440p natively. Certainly, most YouTubers and Twitch streamers film themselves playing on a monitor instead of a telly, and there seems to have been a big spike in the market when it comes to 'gaming' monitors in the last couple of years.

 

There're lots of advantages to gaming on a monitor: higher refresh rates is probably the biggest  which is something that the new consoles can now support; in general, monitors offer better response times than TVs, which is obviously important for competitive games; monitors are generally smaller than TVs, so they take up less space and allow someone whose only other screen is the family TV to get some games played when said TV is being used by someone else; and, despite being smaller than most TVs, you tend to sit a lot closer to a monitor than a TV, so any immersion you lose from size you gain from proximity.

 

That said, TVs typically have more inputs, including lots of HDMI ports for your various devices; if you've got a sofa or arm chair in front of your TV, it allows you to play more comfortably than you would at a desk; contrast ratios, typically, are better on TVs, especially when it comes to OLED TVs, while OLED monitors aren't really a thing yet; TVs normally occupy a more social space than monitors, which might be important to you if you play with other people in your household regularly; and, even though you sit closer to a monitor, there's still a lot to be said for gaming on a big screen. You seem to pay far more per inch of screen space when it comes to monitors, too - a 38 inch monitor, for example, can easily cost upwards of £1000, especially those with a high refresh rate, while a 43 inch (or bigger) 60hz TV screen can be had for as little as £300 nowadays.

 

I'm lucky enough to have both - my PC connected to my monitor and my TV, and my TV with my Switch and XSX plugged into it, but when it comes to certain PC games, I often have the very first-world problem of deciding whether to play them on my TV or on my monitor. Normally, I'll solve this by deciding whether I want to play with mouse and keyboard (monitor) or controller (TV), but even though I sit fairly close to my TV, sometimes it's fun to just have a big monitor right up in your face while you're playing a game, you know?

 

Which do you like the most?

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As someone lucky enough to have near-best-case scenarios in both cases (a 3440x1440 ultrawide, gsync monitor; a 4K OLED, VRR TV): as with most things, it depends. Really the simplest answer is that anything which benefits from a mouse and keyboard plays much nicer with a screen designed to have your face in it, rather than one optimised for a couch. I've used a small TV as a monitor, and they're just not suited to it. And I've used a monitor as a TV [of sorts], and again, that's not where their strength lies either. So in reality, the choice is just 'where am I planning to sit when I play this game'.

 

Still, if I were considering solely the display strengths of the screens, rather than the context they sit in, then:

 

Anything which relies on extensive focus on small detail, or simply a lot of reading (so, say, most strategy games, adventure games, visual novels) then I'd prefer the monitor; no matter what sort of distance I'm sat from a TV, it's never as comfortable to read as a high pixel-density monitor. I also appreciate the extra peripheral vision offered in those games which can make proper use of an ultrawide aspect ratio - again, strategy games often benefit from this a lot (more map on screen at once, more space for UI clutter).

 

Otherwise, I'll tend to favour the TV, simply because OLED blacks improve, well, everything, and HDR is nice, when implemented well.

 

But again, in reality, the main decision I have to make is always "do I want to sit at a desk, or on the couch"; it's that decision which the one screen type enables over the other, and so it's that which is the driving preference-setter.

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What's the difference between a large monitor and a small TV? :D I guess it's more a question of whether you'd rather play at a desk or on a sofa, and for me it depends on the game. I play most stuff on a TV while sat on a sofa, but strategy games tend to be designed for a smaller, closer screen so I'd use a monitor on my desk.
 

For Youtubers and Twitch streamers it's probably more a matter of convenience. They'll want to be at their desk with a streaming PC, and usually record at 1080p anyway.

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At the moment, Monitor - because it's newer than my telly, was affordable and came with all the bells and whistles I wanted (1440p, 144Hz, IPS, G-Sync Support). HDR could be better because of the black levels being muddied (for reference), but for £330 on sale it's immense.

I have no doubt the pendulum will swing the other way when modern OLEDs that are less prone to burn-in start being sold at a reasonable price - for reference, my current 49" 1080p LG telly was a snip at £270 in 2016, and I see no issue with sticking with it until something falls into that price bracket. Heck, it took me ten years to move on from my 720p LCD television.

But as @Mogster says, it's highly dependant on what I'm playing/doing, or just how I'm feeling. I'm always going to be at a desk playing Diablo-style games with KBM, and I'm always going to be splayed out on the bed when playing RPGs with a controller. 

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I have a LG OLED with a Series X and now never use it. Once the new console novelty wore off I went back to my PC and its 1440p 144hz Acer monitor. I have a custom built desk and sit fairly close to the monitor. I do not particulary want to use a joypad for anything so this setup suits me as I'm always using a mouse & keyboard.

 

All these people buying that 48" LG OLED for PC gaming and setting it on a desk like a normal monitor are nuts. Their retinas must be scorched by now. :lol:

 

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Jamie John said:

@Siri and @vezna - would you say you get the most out of that 144hz refresh rate? Do you actually play games at that high a FPS, and can you tell the difference between a 144hz screen and 100hz, say?

 

The high refresh rate is ultimately mostly beneficial for multiplayer gaming. Personally I'd suggest 100 fps is the sweet spot and I'm not going to start dropping resolution / graphical settings to be constantly at 144 fps. People that take their competitive gaming seriously certainly will though. That's not me although I do mostly play shooters. 

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51 minutes ago, Wickedkitten said:

My mate just got a 1080p gaming monitor that does 144hz and has a 1ms refresh rate and he adores it but then again he doesn’t think 4K is actually needed

 

Not only is it not needed, it's detrimental on pc.
It's a hell of a power investment for such a slight return, why spend all that grunt on a slightly sharper image when it could be spent on framerate and making the game more responsive?

 

Even if you're a graphics whore, why not spend it on all those daft graphical frills instead?

 

You want to be playing at your native resolution if possible or things aren't gonna look as sharp so buying a 4k monitor to make things slightly more sharper, you're making a rod for your own back.
You're gonna have to spend loads more money making sure your PC is capable of pumping out everything at 4k.

 

Most people pick their display based on what type of games they play and what is most important to them.
I just like having one screen for everything so while a fast, dirty, cheap TN panel isn't ideal for everything, it excels in the areas I want it to, and it's perfectly capable for other things.

 

If I did nothing but watch films on it and play ARPGs and strategy games and do photoshop work or whatever then I'd be after a totally different panel.

 

@Jamie John I play lots of shmups which are usually locked to 60fps, forcing a higher refresh rate is still great because even if you're playing at the same framerate your input lag is lower. Screen tearing isn't noticeable at higher refresh rates so turning off vsync and lowering your input lag further, you don't have to trade that off with visible tearing.

 

Playing at higher framerates regardless of your refresh rate lowers your input lag.

Playing at higher refresh rates, regardless of your framerate lowers your input lag.

Letting your framerate fly uncapped and playing at your displays maximum refresh rate will give you the best results.

 

Of course, everyone has their own threshold where it'll be enough. For example I'm playing a shmup at the minute that defaults to vsyncing at 144hz and it feels snappy enough to me, I didn't feel the need to turn off vsync.

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2 hours ago, Jamie John said:

@Siri and @vezna - would you say you get the most out of that 144hz refresh rate? Do you actually play games at that high a FPS, and can you tell the difference between a 144hz screen and 100hz, say?

 

1 hour ago, vezna said:

 

The high refresh rate is ultimately mostly beneficial for multiplayer gaming. Personally I'd suggest 100 fps is the sweet spot and I'm not going to start dropping resolution / graphical settings to be constantly at 144 fps. People that take their competitive gaming seriously certainly will though. That's not me although I do mostly play shooters. 


TBH, with how VRR works, 100FPS tends to be more beneficial on more variably intensive games - with fully uncapped framerates even on stuff like Destiny 2's PvE environments, you'll find the game pushes to 130-140 for a split second and then drops hard to 90FPS, and you'll notice the stutter even with VRR implemented. VRR tends to work its magic within margin of error, so 100FPS dropping off to 90FPS looks buttery smooth and it's incredibly nice to see and play in motion, while still getting most of the benefits of high refresh.

I do play some games at higher when I can, though - namely Path of Exile, because that game runs at about 300FPS anyway, and that's a game I've definitely put enough hours into to justify having the capacity for it and appreciate being able to crank out movement corrections before getting shat on by server lagged mob packs, along with the occasional FPS fuckery (It might be me drinking the Kool-Aid a little, but I could swear I've been a bit better in D2's crucible just from the game pushing out animation movements faster to the screen and being able to react to it faster).

Dunno about going from 100Hz/120Hz to 144Hz, but coming from a monitor that pumped about 75Hz maximum via Overdrive, I've definitely noticed an improvement in motion smoothness and latency, but of course VRR and a sub-10ms Response Time actively plays a part, as well.

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Yeah, I can remember playing gunfire reborn and my system had trouble pumping out the frames on the later levels and would drop to around 90 at times so having vsync off but capping my framerate to 100 kept the game feeling more consistent.

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1 hour ago, Oz said:

@Thor what’s the bike quest again? Please

Dude, in this thread? I'm assuming you mean Cyberpunk?

 

Back on topic. TV all the way. This thread needs a poll.

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Sorry wrong thread.
 

I got me the LG OLED65CX6LA for Xmas which was supposed to be paired with a ps5 I was never able to find. I tested it with my PC because it has GSYNC but I found it does not work in Valhalla for whatever reason. Not sure why. Also GSYNC would not even show up in menus until I updated software on the TV and the PC drivers. And even after the update it took a while to come up and then suddenly did. Feels like beta support for GSYNC in my opinion. 

Ultimately, my view is for the price of this TV I would rather get a better monitor if the main purpose is PC games. 
 

I agree a poll would be helpful. 

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42 minutes ago, Oz said:

Sorry wrong thread.
 

I got me the LG OLED65CX6LA for Xmas which was supposed to be paired with a ps5 I was never able to find. I tested it with my PC because it has vsync but I found it does not work in Valhalla for whatever reason. Not sure why. Also vsync would not even show up in menus until I updated software on the TV and the PC drivers. And even after the update it took a while to come up and then suddenly did. Feels like beta support for vsync in my opinion. 
 

Ultimately, my view is for the price of this TV I would rather get a better monitor if the main purpose is PC games. 
 

I agree a poll would be helpful. 

 

I think you're talking about "variable refresh rate" here when you say vsync.

I don't like being pedantic, but all that jargon can be confusing enough as it is!

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45 minutes ago, ImmaculateClump said:

 

I think you're talking about "variable refresh rate" here when you say vsync.

I don't like being pedantic, but all that jargon can be confusing enough as it is!

sorry what I meant to say is GSYNC. Apologies. Edited the original post. 

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When it comes down to it, I prefer playing games on my couch, rather than sat at a desk, so it's TV for me. But it seems to me that the monitor market is more of a mess than the TV one at the moment.

 

The TV market has an easy get out, if you've got the money to spend. If you have £1300 to spend on a telly, just buy an OLED and that will tick all the boxes. If not, then you've got a confusing mess of real/fake HDR, poor black levels, inputs, etc to pick from. All made the more difficult by TV manufacturers using different names in different regions (or the same name for different TVs in other regions).

 

On the monitor side of things, you've got panel types added to the mix, monitors which only do what they say on the tin (like 120hz VRR) over DisplayPort, rather than HDMI, monitors which don't specify whether they're HDMI 1.4 or HDMI 2.0 (and there's no option for HDMI 2.1 at all, at the moment). And there's no real get out if you want a great <48" monitor that does everything an OLED does, regardless of what you're willing to spend.

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