Ultrawide Monitor vs. TV

TLDR: The answer is input lag response. Monitors have very little input lag, televisions do not. For slow-paced games, a TV isn’t going to ruin your experience. But for fast-paced games or anything competitive, the input lag of a television will be unbearable. Even casual players can very easily feel the difference in lag as they try to move around on a television screen.

What’s the difference between ultrawide monitors and a TV? Let’s begin by assuming we’re talking about the latest generation of so-called gaming televisions, which have somewhat lower input lag than standard televisions. These rates don’t quite bring them up to the power of monitors, but they’re more reasonable than TVs of generations past.

But input lag is only the first and most important way televisions fail compared to ultra wide monitors. Even after that factor is taken care of, ultrawide monitors come equipped with higher Hz refresh rates, adaptive sync, and higher resolutions.  You’ll get a more fluid gaming experience on a monitor – but you’ll have to settle for a 35’’ screen rather than a 50’’ monster.

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It’s worth understanding that even TVs that advertise themselves as having 120Hz cannot actually deliver that refresh rate much of the time. A TV needs HDMI 2.0, Dual Link DVI, or DisplayPort to achieve 120Hz. Most gaming TVs operate on older HDMI standards, meaning the advertised rate of 120HZ actually gets converted into a 60Hz signal. The TV tries to make up the difference by adding fake frames between regular frames, which can lead to motion blurring and input lag.

(Most consoles and console games are adapted to run at 60Hz. If your multimedia experience is restricted to casually playing on a video-game console, 60Hz isn’t such a bad thing.) If you’re thinking about getting a gaming monitor for PS4 or a gaming monitor for Xbox, you’re not insane. For people who take gaming seriously, TV’s aren’t quite up to snuff.

The fastest televisions can get about 22 ms of input lag, which is still more than twice as slow as most gaming monitors. Televisions also don’t usually offer 1440p resolution, meaning you’re stuck choosing between 1080p, which is reasonable, or jumping into the deep end of the pool and grabbing a 4k monitor.   A 1080p screen has a native screen size of 24 inches, and that means having a pixel density that gets worse and worse on larger screens.

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Televisions also generally have slower response times, which is the amount of time it takes for a pixel to transition from one particular color to another, typically black to white or gray to gray. Televisions often don’t even display this information because it’s not something TV consumers are generally concerned with, but TV response times are also twice as slow as many average monitors. But to bottom-line it for you, that means more ghosting, more blurring.

The Important Thing to Remember

Unsurprisingly, gaming monitors like the LG 34UC79G-B have all the advantages when it comes to gaming.While you can’t exactly hang most gaming monitors up in your living room, you can get extremely high refresh rates with monitors, especially with 240hz monitors now on the market.  You can also take advantage of adaptive sync, synchronizing the refresh rate between your GPU and monitor to completely eliminate screen tearing. Basically there’s no comparison between the two — but if you don’t care about quality, and size is all that matters to you, a TV might be a better fit.