Can You Use a 4K TV as a Monitor? Yes. But Should You?

Tips for turning your TV into a computer screen

What to Know

  • Connect your 4K TV to your computer with an HDMI or DisplayPort cable. Your computer must have the capability to support 4K.
  • To optimize the display, increase text size, correct for overscan, and lower image sharpness. Look to see if your TV has a PC or Game mode.

This article explains how to turn your TV screen into a monitor for your computer. You can use a 4K TV as a monitor, but whether or not you should depends on a few factors.

Is It OK to Use a TV as a Computer Monitor?

Yes. In fact, people have been using TVs as monitors since the advent of the home computer. Computer screens and TV screens have relied on the same evolving technologies over the years, from vacuum tubes to LCD technologies. Today, most TVs support HDMI or Wi-Fi, allowing them to connect with your computer wirelessly or with an HDMI cable.

Is It OK to Use a 4K TV as a Monitor?

All 4K TVs support HDMI or DisplayPort, so as long as your TV has a compatible port, you can connect it to your TV. That said, even if you have a 4K TV, it won't display your desktop in Ultra HD unless your computer has a video card that supports 4K resolution (3,840x2,160 pixels).

There are also ways to mirror your screen wirelessly from a computer or mobile device. However, to take advantage of 4K, you must use a wired connection.

How Do I Use My 4K TV as a Laptop Monitor?

First, make sure 4K is enabled on both devices (if both are capable they are already likely set to display in 4K). After that, plug one end of the HDMI or DisplayPort cable into the TV, then insert the other end into your computer. Once you have a picture, you may need to change some settings to optimize the display.

For example, text can appear very small on high-resolution displays from afar, so you might need to adjust the default font size on your computer. Many programs, including web browsers, also allow you to make text larger.

One common issue that needs to be addressed is overscan, or when part of the computer’s display is outside of the viewing area. To fix overscan in Windows 10, you may need to adjust both your TV and computer's aspect ratio settings.

Although it may sound counterintuitive, lowering the sharpness setting on your television can actually make the image clearer. While you're at it, turn off any other features intended to enhance details.

If you're a gamer, another important factor to consider is input lag, or the amount of time it takes to render your computer's display. A fraction of a second can make a big difference, so check to see if your TV has a PC or Game mode to minimize lag.

Your computer may have a setting which optimizes its output (that is, the PC's output) for a TV display.

FAQ
  • How do I clean my 4K TV screen?

    To clean a flat-screen TV, turn off the device and use a dry, soft cloth to gently wipe the screen. If necessary, dampen the cloth with distilled water or an equal ratio of distilled water and white vinegar.

  • What is a good refresh rate on a 4K TV?

    For watching movies and TV, a 60Hz refresh rate is sufficient since most 4K content is shot in 60 FPS. However, to get the most out of modern video game consoles, a 120Hz refresh rate is recommended.

  • What do I need to see 4K resolution on a 4K TV?

    In addition to meeting the hardware requirements for 4K, the content you're viewing must also support 4K. Some devices support 4K upscaling, which upgrades standard definition video to closely match 4K.

  • What's the difference between HDR and 4K?

    4K and HDR are not competing standards. 4K refers to screen resolution, while HDR (High Dynamic Range) refers to the contrast or color range between the lightest and darkest tones in an image.

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