4K HDR TVs Can Be Good Monitors

A while back, I added an Nvidia 2080 Ti to my gamming computer. I had been using a 40″ 4K TV as a monitor but it was an older model that lacked HDR. Time for an upgrade! Read on to find out what I chose and why.

A colleague is lucky enough to have a 4K ASUS Predator and it is fantastic, but out of my price range. If at all possible, I need a screen that can serve as a computer monitor, a screen for my consoles, and possibly a TV. I know that is asking for a lot, but I have a lot of stuff and not a lot of space.

Most monitors will support multiple types of connections but can have a difficult time downsizing their resolutions. Many “TV” screens have slower pixel response times and extra signal processing that introduces lag, but they handle multiple sources and resolutions more effectively.

Is a dedicated monitor going to have a better picture? Absolutely. When hooking a computer up to a TV, you lose a little quality and even with game modes and the like. Televisions are just slower. However, if you want to hook up your Nintendo Switch to a 4K HDR gaming monitor you will probably be disappointed with the results. So it comes down to a trade off, performance versus flexibility. Cost is probably in there too LOL.

I limit the screen size to 40″ because anything bigger is too large to be on a desk three feet in front of my face. The 40″ size running 4K means that I can open multiple “full size” windows and do not need multiple monitors. Games take my full field of vision without requiring me to turn my head to see the edges.

The trick to using a TV as a monitor is to turn the “Sharpness” setting down as far as it will go and to carefully adjust the brightness and contrast. If you get the balance right, you can get a decent picture without ghosting (blurry text). Some smart TVs will detect that you’ve hooked a computer up to them and make the changes automatically.

I was able to talk my local electronics store into connecting a few of their TVs up to a laptop so that I could get an idea of how they would perform as a monitor. That experience, combined with research on-line, led me to choose the Samsung RU7100. It’s game mode reduces lag by disabling most of the signal processing features. It’s smart functions include Apple Air Play and my cable provider’s app.

I’ve had the screen up and running for almost a month now and am very happy with my choice. I flip between my computer, iPad, Cable TV, and game consoles effortlessly. The picture looks great no matter what source is selected. I’ve received multiple compliments on it from both my techie and non-techie visitors. Many of them are surprised to learn its a four hundred dollar TV and not something much more expensive.

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