Why Are Monitors More Expensive Than TVs?

By | August 18, 2023

If you’re in the market for a new display, you may have noticed that computer monitors often cost more than televisions of the same size.

For example, a 24-inch 1080p monitor could easily run you $150 or more, while a 24-inch 1080p TV can be found for under $100.

What gives? Here’s a look at some key differences that make monitors more expensive.

Why Are Monitors More Expensive Than TVs?

Why Are Monitors More Expensive Than TVs?

1. Monitor Resolution

One of the biggest factors in monitor pricing is the resolution. Monitors designed for computers often have higher resolutions than standard televisions.

For example, a 24-inch monitor may have a resolution of 1920×1200 pixels or higher.

Televisions are typically limited to 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p) at that size.

The higher resolution allows for sharper text and images, which is important for computer work but largely unnecessary for television viewing from a distance.

So the monitor has to pack many more pixels into the same screen size, requiring more advanced panel technology.

2. Refresh Rate

Another specification that factors into monitor pricing is the refresh rate, measured in hertz (Hz).

A standard television operates at 60Hz, meaning it redraws the image on the screen 60 times per second.

Monitors can have refresh rates of 75Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz or higher. The faster the refresh rate, the smoother motion appears on the screen.

This is advantageous for gaming and video but not as important for television programming.

The fast refreshing requires more advanced circuitry in the monitor.

3. Panel Types

There are different types of display panels used in monitors vs televisions.

TVs overwhelmingly use either LCD (liquid crystal display) or OLED (organic light-emitting diode) panels.

Monitors, however, can utilize those technologies or others like IPS, VA, TN, and quantum dot.

IPS (in-plane switching) panels offer the best viewing angles and color reproduction.

TN (twisted nematic) screens are cheaper but have worse colors and viewing angles. The varying panel technologies ultimately impact the pricing.

Gaming Features

Gaming monitors contain specialized features tailored for video games, such as low input lag, fast response times, and adaptive sync technology (G-Sync and FreeSync).

These add to the complexity and cost of gaming monitors. For non-gamers, these features are nice but not necessary.

Televisions aren’t included because they are optimized for passive viewing rather than interactive gaming.

4. Connectivity

Monitors designed for computers generally include more connectivity options than regular televisions.

You will find ports like HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, and VGA on the back of a monitor.

Some high-end monitors even have USB hubs for connecting peripherals.

Most TVs have a coaxial cable or satellite input and HDMI ports.

The computer-centric connectivity adds functionality that TVs don’t need but does impact the price.

5. Adjustability

Ergonomics and adjustability are more important factors for monitor buyers than television shoppers.

Most monitors can be raised, lowered, tilted, pivoted, and rotated, allowing you to customize the viewing position.

TVs offer little to no adjustability since they are meant to be viewed from a distance. The adjustable stands and mounts add cost to monitors.

6. Integrated Speakers

Since televisions are made for both audio and video, they universally include built-in speakers.

Computer monitors often skip speakers, assuming users have their external sound system.

This helps avoid some costs being baked into monitor pricing. If a monitor does have speakers, they are considered a bonus rather than a necessity.

7. Size Variety

Monitors come in a much wider range of sizes than televisions. You can find monitors as small as 10 inches up to 49 inches or larger.

Twenty-four and twenty-seven inches are the most popular sizes for desktop use.

Televisions are predominantly available in sizes 32 inches and up. It’s rare to find a TV of that size these days.

Producing many monitor sizes requires more SKUs and flexibility in manufacturing.

8. Brand Reputation

Well-known consumer TV brands like Samsung, Sony, and LG sell monitors too.

But there are many monitor-focused brands like Dell, Acer, Asus, BenQ and ViewSonic that cater specifically to computer users.

These brands invest heavily in monitor technology and innovation, but they lack the overall name recognition of the big TV players.

The specialized monitor companies ultimately charge a premium for their reputation and niche products.

9. Lower Volume

This one comes down to simple economies of scale. Many more televisions are sold each year compared to computer monitors.

That means the large TV makers can take advantage of bulk pricing discounts and cheaper per-unit costs as they scale up production volume.

Monitor companies have lower sales volume and cannot achieve the same economies of scale. The increased costs get passed onto monitor consumers.

10. Professional Use

While monitors and TVs are used for entertainment, monitors have the added use case for professional business and office work.

Features like higher resolutions, faster refresh rates, and greater ergonomics appeal to those using monitors for their jobs.

These buyers are less price sensitive if the monitor increases their productivity. So professional monitors can be priced higher than plain consumer displays.

11. Longevity

On average, the typical television gets replaced every 5 to 8 years as buyers upgrade to the latest technologies like 4K or Smart TV.

Computer monitors aren’t swapped out nearly as often, sometimes lasting 10 years or longer without being upgraded.

That extended lifespan means buyers are willing to pay more upfront for a monitor that will serve them well for many years before needing to be replaced.

12. Bundled Software

Some monitors, especially higher-end models aimed at graphics professionals, come bundled with specialized software for calibration, editing, asset management, and more.

This included software increases the value of the display and commands a higher price.

Televisions don’t come with any bundled software, as they don’t need calibration or editing capabilities.

13. Warranties

Most monitors come standard with 3-year warranties that cover defects and performance issues.

TV warranties are generally only a 1-year standard. The longer included coverage suggests the manufacturers have more confidence in the product quality and longevity.

But those extended warranties also add to the purchase price.

So in summary, monitors designed for desktop computing utilize more advanced panel technologies, higher resolutions, and refresh rates, superior connectivity and adjustability, and specialized features that drive up their costs compared to mainstream televisions.

The increased performance and versatility are worth the price premium for most monitor shoppers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ques 1: Are computer monitors just small televisions?

Ans: No, monitors are designed specifically for desktop computers and laptops.

They prioritize resolutions, response times, and ergonomics over a television’s sound quality and smart platforms.

Monitors are made for an up-close interactive experience, not passive viewing.

Ques 2: Do monitors and TVs use the same LCD panels?

Ans: Not necessarily. Monitors use specialized LCD panels like IPS, VA, and TN designed for the tighter pixel densities and refresh rates expected of a computer display.

Most televisions use basic twisted nematic (TN) LCD or LED-backlit LCD panels. Very few TVs use IPS.

Ques 3: What resolution should I look for in a monitor?

Ans: 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) monitor provides clarity for screen sizes up to 27 inches for general use.

Aim for a 2560 x 1440 (QHD or 2K) monitor for larger monitors or more screen space. Graphic design pros may want a 3840 x 2160 (4K) monitor.

Ques 4: Is a 4K monitor better than a 1080p monitor?

Ans: A 4K monitor will look crisper and show more fine details, but you need a robust graphics card to play 4K games or video.

For everyday tasks, a good 1080p screen is sufficient for most people and easier for your PC to handle.

Ques 5: Are gaming monitors good for office work?

Ans: Absolutely. A gaming monitor’s fast response times and refresh rates provide a very fluid and responsive experience for office tasks like spreadsheets and documents.

The only downside is they sometimes skip integrated speakers to cut costs.

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