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The best TV for a computer monitor in 2021: top televisions to use as a PC/Mac display

Included in this guide:

best tv for a computer monitor
(Image credit: Samsung)

The best TV for a computer monitor means that you essentially get two products in one. With the majority of TVs now offering 4K resolution and HDMI ports, why bother investing in two separate screens when you can easily use one for both. The big advantage of using a TV is that it gives such a large display - useful, say, for showing off your photographic portfolio or showreel to groups of people.

Sitting on the sofa and balancing a keyboard and mouse on your lap isn't the most ergonomic setup, so we'd really recommend going for a TV that's 50 inches or less. This size is much better suited to a closer viewing distance. Plus, with smaller TVs often offering the same 4K (3840 x 2160) screen resolution as larger TVs, you'll actually get an improved pixel density by going for a smaller size.

One of the most obvious uses for the best TV for a computer monitor is extending your laptop's screen. This will enable you to get a bigger look at your work, or let you run movies or games housed on your laptop on a larger screen. However, it's worth remembering that, unlike computer monitors, TVs aren't designed with gaming in mind. In fact, the additional video signal processing that some TVs apply can result in a delay between a control input and the movement actually happening. 

This can be counteracted by the dedicated picture 'game mode' that some TVs have, but if you're a dedicated gamer, then you'll want to invest in one of the best monitors instead.

Another downside to consider is color accuracy, contrast and viewing angles. If you're looking to do anything such as photo or video editing, it's worth remembering that TVs will prioritize bolder colors and contrast over portraying an accurate representation of the picture. Designing a screen for sRGB and Adobe RGB isn't something that TV manufacturers would have to worry about, so we wouldn't recommend using a TV to edit your photos or videos. 

Essentially, if you're considering the best TV for a computer monitor, make sure that you're going into it with your eyes wide open. Avoid doubling up your PC screen and TV if you think you're going to be doing lots of image editing – but if you're simply looking for a larger screen to watch movies or casually game, then a TV could be just the ticket. Here are our top recommendations…

Best TV for a computer monitor in 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung UE43TU7100

The best budget TV for a computer monitor

Specifications
Screen Size: 43-inch
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Panel type: VA LCD
Connectivity: HDMI: 2, USB: 1, Optical: 1
Reasons to buy
+Well priced+Auto low latency mode+HDR10+ and HLG HDR support
Reasons to avoid
-Limited connectivity-VA panel = restricted viewing angles

A 4K screen resolution on a 43-inch TV really requires you to sit fairly close in order to see the improvement in resolution over a 1080p Full HD display. But this is exactly how a TV works best when used as a computer monitor. What sets this baby Samsung apart from similar 'small' TVs is that it gets the kind of features and extras you'd expect to find on more top-end tellies. There's Samsung's Tizen operating system with its advanced user interface and extensive app selection, along with HDR10, HDR10+, HLG high dynamic range support. 

What's more, if you plan on gaming on this TV, the auto low latency mode really comes into its own, automatically switching the TV to its game mode when a game input signal is detected, thereby reducing input lag. The only downside with this bargain telly is that there are only two HDMI ports, meaning you may need to swap cables around when you want to connect your computer.

(Image credit: Samsung)

2. Samsung Q60T 43"

Image quality that could rival an OLED TV, but for less cash

Specifications
Screen Size: 43-inch
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Panel type: QLED VA LCD
Connectivity: HDMI: 3, USB: 2, Optical: 1
Reasons to buy
+OLED-rivaling image quality+100% DCI-P3 color space coverage+Well priced for a QLED TV
Reasons to avoid
-Viewing angles won't match OLED-A bit expensive for its size-3 HDMI ports could be limiting

Samsung's QLED (Quantum dot) TVs set new standards for brightness and color vividness. In some respects they can be considered superior to OLED TVs, and they're not susceptible to possible screen burn-in like OLED TVs. Oh, and the best bit, QLED TVs are significantly cheaper than their OLED counterparts. Our top QLED pick is actually the cheapest model in the current Samsung QLED range - the Q60T. Its 43-inch screen size makes it an ideal balance between TV and computer monitor, with the 4K screen res making computer visuals crisp at fairly close viewing distances. 

What's more, Samsung claims the QLED screen tech is also capable of displaying 100% of the extensive DCI-P3 color space - something even a high-end computer monitor would struggle to match. The Q60T's HDR and image processing capabilities aren't quite on par with Samsung's larger QLED offerings, and viewing angles won't be a match for a true OLED display. Three HDMI ports could also be a tad restrictive if you want to connect a lot of AV equipment in addition to your computer, but we still reckon this is a great value TV/computer monitor double act.

Recommended

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony XBR49X950H / KD-49XH9505

The very best TV that can double as a computer monitor

Specifications
Screen Size: 49-inch
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Panel type: VA LCD
Connectivity: HDMI: 4, USB: 3, Optical: 1
Reasons to buy
+Top-end image processing+4 HDMI ports+Local backlight dimming
Reasons to avoid
-A little pricey-Viewing angles not OLED-wide

The XH9505 comes in various screen sizes, but our preferred option for use as a computer monitor is the smallest (49-inch) offering. All sizes have a 4K resolution, so the 'baby' 49-incher has the highest pixel density in the range, and therefore a sharper image when viewed from closer distances. The image quality benefits continue with the inclusion of Sony's top-end X1 Ultimate image processor, as well as direct LED backlighting with local dimming resulting in inky blacks and minimal backlight bleed. What's more, Sony’s X-Wide Angle technology improves viewing angles to maintain better color and contrast consistence across the screen, regardless of your viewing angle. 

This means you can watch it from off-centre angles without pictures losing too much color saturation or contrast - useful when used as a computer monitor. You even get four HDMI ports, so there should be at least one spare to take an input from your computer. All this quality doesn't come cheap, but if you're after a great TV first and foremost, which can occasionally double as a computer monitor, this is a superb choice.

(Image credit: LG)

4. LG CX 48"

The best money-no-object TV you can also use as a computer monitor

Specifications
Screen Size: 48-inch
Resolution: 3480 x 2160
Panel type: OLED
Connectivity: HDMI: 4, USB: 3, Optical: 1
Reasons to buy
+OLED black depth and viewing angles+Low latency and G-Sync compatible+Well priced... for an OLED TV
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive next to LCD rivals-Risk of screen burn-in

OLED displays are the holy grail for image quality, with flawless viewing angles, perfect blacks with no backlight bleed, and stunning HDR. OLED computer monitors are almost non-existent, but thankfully OLED TVs are much easier to come by, and the smallest (48-inch) variant of the LG CX is even bordering on being accessibly priced. This TV is an ideal display for PC gaming, thanks to an auto low latency mode that reduces lag to 13ms - not far off the responsiveness of a proper computer monitor. 

Nvidia G-Sync compatibility also ensures the frame rate of the CX matches that of your game, therefore eliminating any screen 'tearing' interference. OLED screens do come with the potential drawback of screen burn-in, where a menu graphic could theoretically become permanently etched into the screen if displayed for a very long time without change, but this isn't likely to be an issue unless you continually display a Windows taskbar or Mac OS dock on screen for extended daily periods. Otherwise, the LG CX is the ultimate money-no-object TV that can double as a computer monitor.

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Ben Andrews

Ben is the Imaging Labs manager, responsible for all the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensors, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest camera phones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to camera bags, filters, memory cards, and all manner of camera accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography! With years of experience trialling and testing kit, he's a human encyclopedia of benchmarks when it comes to recommending the best buys.