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TV Response Time vs. Monitor | How Do They Compare?

Watching movies and playing video games on a large screen (TV) is an entirely different experience than on an LCD monitor. That's because TV screens are slow to refresh and have higher response times, so they look blurry as you move your head side-to-side. On an LCD monitor, you don't notice the blurring effects. 

But how do you compare the response time of a TV and monitor? What are the main differences between the two screens? 

You can use the information below to decide whether buying a TV is the right choice for you. Should you buy an external monitor instead? 

I'll explain more below.

flat screen TV

Why Is the Response Time Important?

The response time is a measurement of how long it takes for a pixel to go from one state to another and back again. For example, with a 2ms response time, a pixel will have the following timing:

The pixel starts with the color white, then changes to black after 2ms. The pixel stays black for 2 ms and then goes back to white after another 2ms.

Lower numbers generally mean faster transitions and, therefore, fewer visible image artifacts. That means less ghosting, blurring, and streaking in fast-moving scenes in layman's terms.

The response time is important because it determines the image quality– how it is displayed on the screen.

If you have a slow response time, fast-moving objects suffer from motion blur. This can affect both gaming and watching movies.

On the other hand, fast-moving images will look much sharper with a fast response time.

Therefore, it's important to pay attention to the response time, especially in competitive gaming– requiring quick reaction times.

What Is the Difference Between a Monitor And a TV?

Both televisions and computer monitors are designed to display moving images, yet they differ in several ways.

Televisions use a different method of displaying images than computer monitors, and this results in a different viewing experience, which is examined below:

1. Resolution

The other difference between the two screens is the resolution. A PC monitor generally has higher resolutions than a television. 

The more pixels on the screen, the sharper the image. A TV screen will display content at 1080p or 2160p resolution, while a monitor screen will display content at either 720p or 1080p resolution. 

2. Refresh Rates

The refresh rate is how often the image changes each second. If a monitor or television has a 60Hz refresh rate, then it displays 60 unique frames per second. This number can increase with certain high-end gaming monitors and televisions.

A monitor screen refreshes many times a second to display the most recent images sent to it by the computer as compared to TV screens. For this reason, TV screens can only display very high-resolution graphics if their refresh rate is high enough.

Most gaming monitors and TVs come with Variable refresh rate technology. This technology matches the Pc’s refresh rate with the frame rate of the signal, hence reducing screen tearing.

3. Input Lag

Input lag is how long it takes for an image displayed on your monitor or television to change after receiving input from your computer or video game console. The input lag of 30ms or less is generally considered good for gaming, but many people find lower input lag–under 10ms unnoticeable in gaming performance. 

Televisions tend to have higher input lag than monitors because they add extra time for processing images, which improves picture quality.

4. Size

The difference between a TV screen and a monitor screen is that a TV screen is much bigger than a monitor screen. A monitor screen can be as small as 20 inches, while a TV screen can be as big as 50 inches.

TVs are large enough for several people to gather around, while computer monitor screens are smaller and only display the images of one person at a time.

5. Response Time

One difference between computer monitors and television screens is that the former usually has a faster response time. This means that images displayed on a monitor screen change more quickly when new images are sent to it by the computer, whereas this isn't quite as true for television displays. 

Modern flat screens and 3D TVs and monitors have faster response rates than older CRT screens. However,  they still lag behind the much faster response time of a computer monitor.

The final difference between computer monitors and television screens is that the former are usually placed directly in front of their owner. In contrast, the latter is often viewed from a distance. This means that one pair of eyes will be viewing each device's display at any time.

For example, two or more people can watch TV together. Computer monitor screens are usually placed on desks near the viewer, whereas TVs are often hung on walls or set up on stands at a distance so that more people can watch.

TV vs. Monitor– Which One Should I Pick?

So which type of screen has a better response time?

The answer to this question is that monitors usually have better response times than television sets. There are several reasons for this. 

First, monitor screens tend to be much smaller in size than televisions and therefore require less power and energy to refresh each pixel on the screen.

Second, most TVs are larger than 27" and require more power and processing speeds to keep up with a human's eye movement across the screen. 

In addition, televisions also use a wide range of colors because they are meant to be viewed from multiple angles. Therefore, they may not be the best choice for gaming or fast-paced movies. 

Therefore, gaming monitors offer an immersive experience regarding clarity and quality of images.

a large monitor on the desk

Factors to Consider When Determining the Right Gaming Monitor


Resolution measures the smallest level of detail seen in an image, while response time measures how long it takes for a pixel to change from black to white and back again. 

The faster the response time, the shorter the blur trail behind moving objects. High-resolution screens require powerful graphics cards to push out more frames per second.

Input Lag

Input lag is a measurement of how long it takes your computer’s output to show up on screen after you click a mouse button or press a key on your keyboard. In most cases, a screen with low input lag (game mode feature)  is desirable as it means less delay between input and displays on the screen. 

For most PC gamers, input lag is more important than response time because games require instant reactions. 

In other words, if you see someone in front of you and you shoot at them, you want that bullet to fire out instantly. If there's a delay, it's a matter of life and death (on a lighter note!).

The Kind of Content 

As the console gaming market grows, it is becoming more common for gamers to stream content through their preferred device as well. Response time has a significant impact on the user's overall experience.

For example, when the ping time is high, the player’s experience is impacted by lag, packet loss, and delay. It becomes frustrating for the player and can lead to “rage quitting.” When it comes to gaming content, speed is everything.

Unlike other video content, where you can pause or buffer while watching, gaming content only allows a small amount of buffering time before it becomes a negative experience. This is because games are interactive; therefore, every second of delay between user input and response from the game matters.

As such, you should pay attention to the task at hand before deciding on your screen. 

Contrast Ratio

A screen's contrast ratio measures how much variation between light and dark tones it can display.

The contrast ratio is usually only considered when purchasing monitors, but high-end televisions have contrast ratios that are considered good even by computer monitor standards.

When you're shopping for a new LCD monitor or television, you’ll notice that many manufacturers list two contrast ratios– dynamic contrast and static contrast. 

Dynamic contrast measures how well a monitor or TV can display dark tones relative to light tones in an image. It does this by adjusting the brightness of the entire image as needed. For example, if you're watching a movie with lots of dark scenes, your monitor will turn up its brightness so that you can see what's happening on screen. However, this causes lighter images to appear too bright.

On the other hand, static contrast is the ability of your TV or computer monitor to simultaneously display different levels of brightness side-by-side in an image at any given moment.

According to industry experts, a static contrast ratio is more reliable. It provides a more accurate content display than a dynamic contrast ratio, which uses a "what if" scenario.


Can a TV have a 1ms response time?

Yes. LG OLED TVs feature an incredible 1ms response time. They give a crisp picture quality and blur-free motion without sacrificing color spectrum.

Is a TV slower than a monitor?

Yes, monitors have faster response times, lower input lag, and higher refresh rates than TVs.

What is the difference between a monitor and a TV?

Simply speaking, monitors display computer data, and TVs display entertainment.


Ultimately, it really depends on what you intend to use the screen for. If you are looking for a TV and only watch movies, speed may not be the best quality indicator. 

However, if you plan on playing video games or watching fast-paced movies, it is important to look into the response time of the television and take it into consideration. 

Overall, monitors do have faster response times than televisions. They may better suit your needs, especially if response time impacts your viewing experience.

monitor graphic illustration
About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

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