A question many readers regularly ask is: “Why are computer monitors so much more expensive than televisions?”
Ostensibly, it seems curious – as televisions include more components, like a TV tuner, speakers, channel support and, generally, more inputs than your traditional monitor.
There are more differences between televisions and computer monitors than meet the eye, though, which have an influence on price.
MyBroadband did us all a solid by speaking to major television and monitor manufacturers to ask why PC monitors are more expensive.
LG – consider inputs, refresh rates, and pixel density
LG said there are multiple factors to consider when choosing between a TV or PC monitor – factors which ultimately influence price.
One of the factors is the input options. “Although some HDTVs have VGA inputs/outputs, this is not the ideal choice – it’s an analog signal that will give you a far fuzzier, lower-resolution image than an HDMI or DVI signal,” said LG.
Pixel density is another important consideration. “Monitors have greater pixel density compared to TVs. A larger but less pixel-dense HDTV screen will display text, icons, and images as blurry, which will be difficult to read if you’re sitting at a normal viewing distance.”
The company said if you are going to use a TV screen for playing games, you need to consider input lag.
“While many computer monitors prioritize minimal lag times, many HDTVs do not, and prioritize (laggy) video processing instead.”
Many monitors are targeted at people who are using them to either play video games or for video and picture editing.
“A good monitor for editing will feature incredibly high contrast ratios, along with deeper blacks and a brighter display.”
“These features are not quite as sought out on TVs as they are meant to be watched from a further distance.”
“These monitor features, along with some other perks such as good build quality and overall design aesthetics, can bring up the costs of 24-inch monitors to match those of a 60-inch HDTV,” said LG.
Asus – it’s all about the unique features and benefits that monitors offer
Asus marketing specialist Reuben Naude said that the higher price for PC monitors was due to the unique features and benefits monitors offered.
Monitors deal with constant input via a keyboard and mouse, which requires quick response times. Gaming monitors, for example, have response times of 1ms.
“Some of our Asus monitors have a 144Hz refresh rate which ensures there is no lagging or screen tearing during gameplay or HD video playback,” said Naude.
Certain Asus monitors also offer the option to tilt, swivel, and rotate for user comfort.
“Our top-end monitors contain integrated Nvidia G-Sync technology to synchronize the display’s refresh rate to the GPU.”
“This technology eliminates screen tearing, while minimising display stutter and input lag.”
Many of these features, said Naude, are not available on TVs.
Acer – gaming monitors have a far lower input lag than TVs
Acer said one of the most important aspects of PC gaming monitors is the amount of input lag – the time it takes for your monitor to show what the PC is telling it to show.
“Gaming monitors have a low input lag – usually under 5ms – while good TVs tend to have an input lag of just under 10ms,” said Acer.
Acer said TVs have image processing, which in essence means all images are processed before display – which increases input lag.
Many PC monitors also have software such as Nvidia G-sync and AMD Free-sync built in.
“If refresh rates don’t match frame rates, one experiences screen tearing – which is essentially a horizontal line that cuts across the screen during gameplay.”
“The screen then tries to realign the two horizontal pieces, resulting in misalignment in the image.”
“Televisions do not have the software that allows this vertical synchronization.”
Another key difference is response rate – the time it takes pixels to change. “If pixels take a long time to change, the images become blurry and causes ghosting.”
Gaming monitors have a lower response rate – ranging from 1ms to 5ms – which keeps the display as clear as possible.
PC monitors also have higher refresh rates, which is how many frames per second the monitor can display.
“Acer has a monitor that can be overclocked to refresh at 200Hz per second.”
“Many monitors also have additional features. The Acer gaming monitors come with EyeProtect and an Ergo stand, which allows for height adjustment and swivel which aren’t common on TVs.”
Samsung – the comparison of TVs and monitors cannot really be looked at from a pricing perspective
Samsung said TVs and monitors differ in many ways, depending on the requirements of the device.
“Typically, TVs are designed to display a moving image, whereas monitors may be intended to show a static image – this may differ in cases where monitors are used for gaming,” said Samsung.
Samsung said it is difficult to compare TVs and monitors in a like-for-like situation, as the two devices are designed for different uses.
“While we could look at screen size as a point of comparison, the TV and monitor markets differ in terms of purchasing habits and what appeals to consumers.”
“For example, the entry point for monitors is typically around 18.5 inches – conversely, the entry point for TVs is around 32 inches.”
“Both of these entry points are the largest segment in the respective categories. In addition to this, the TV market globally is much larger than that of monitors.”
Samsung said screen size is not the only element to consider when looking at pricing.
Elements such as whether the screen makes use of SMART, UHD, or Curved technology will have an impact on the price, as will the processing speeds and resolution of the monitor or TV.
“For example, Samsung is a pioneer in 4K technology for both TVs and monitors; new-to-market technology features such as this contribute to premium pricing.”
“Other contributing factors which impact pricing of TVs and monitors are the import duty structures related to each of the respective products as well as the exchange rate of the goods upon arrival in country.”