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Should You Replace Your Desktop Monitor with An OLED TV?

You can absolutely do it, but there are some things you need to know first.

use 4k tv as computer monitor
Gear Patrol

If you want a big, beautiful display for your computer why not use a TV? Most TVs have an HDMI input so you can just connect it to your computer and use it exactly like an external display. And unlike most computer monitors, plenty of TV sets boast beautiful OLED displays. The good news is that this is totally possible. The bad news is that it's not as easy as just pugging in and going about your day.

The newer, the better

If you're planning on plugging your computer into any old OLED TV you've just got hanging around, you might want to think twice.

If the display you're thinking about using has less than 4K resolution, it's going to look pretty awful at close range, especially if it's large. Bigger might seem better, but at a viewing distance of just a few feet, a screen much bigger than 30 inches is going to mostly cause pain in your neck unless you adjust your setup to be much further away than you would be from a traditional screen.

What's more, older TVs typically haven't supported the high framerates you'll want out of a monitor. TV's that only support the 24fps standard for movies will be prone to lag when watching videos, playing games and even moving your mouse around the screen.

Newer TVs are solving these issues, however. There are 4K TVs, both LED and OLED, that are between 24 — 42-inches, which is a good size for monitor. Just in 2021, LG has announced plans to release a 42-inch OLED TV, which would be its smallest to date. Its previous smallest was a 48-inch OLED TV.

use 4k tv as monitor
Samsung Smart Monitor M7

Many of today's best 4K TVs have advanced technologies that allow them to support a high resolution picture and high refresh rates, which are vital for people looking to use their TV as a gaming monitor. The main feature to look out for support for chroma subsampling, or chroma 4:4:4. This means that the image will be uncompressed and look best while playing 4K content.

OLED's Achilles' Heel

An OLED TV might seem like an obvious choice to use as gaming monitor. The big thing you have to worry about with OLED TVs, is burn-in.

Burn in is when previous images are "burnt into" the display so that they're still visible you're watching or doing something else. It's a problem that LED displays do't have to worry about but that OLED displays in particular are susceptible to.

Burn-in isn't a huge issue for people who use an OLED TV as a traditional TV because the picture is usually changing frequently enough to prevent it. If a TV is being used as a computer display, however, there will be many, many static elements like a desktop background and icon docks that will be at risk of becoming burnt in very quickly.

You can mitigate these issues by modifying your settings to minimize static images on the display. Setting your desktop background to black, auto-hiding any icon docks, keeping your desktop completely free of clutter, and enabling very aggressive screensaver settings can all mitigate the potential risk, but it will still be there.

The safest setup would probably be to use an OLED TV only as a second screen, devoted solely to videos, gaming, and other similiarly kinetic content.

That, our start saving up to grab an honest-to-goodness OLED computer display.

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