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Is a PC monitor or TV better for Xbox One gaming?

Traditionally, since the early days of gaming consoles, you've plugged your little box into your big screen. There's a freedom associated with consoles that you don't traditionally get with PC gaming. It's great to relax, put your feet up, grab a controller and play some of your favorites on the largest display in the house.

However, is that the best screen to use? PC gamers — and PC users in general — don't necessarily favor TVs. Should you consider using a PC monitor along with your console? There are two sides to this story.

Why you should use a monitor for gaming

HP Omen 32

Omen monitor (Image credit: Windows Central)

Unless you're truly attached to playing Xbox on your sofa, there are some potential gaming improvements you can only get by using a monitor.

On a technical level, gaming monitors will give you a sharper, faster experience. A TV won't offer you the same response time as you'll get from even a low-cost gaming monitor, nor will it have as little input lag. A combination of these two features means that you'll have less motion-blur and image-ghosting, along with a more responsive gaming experience.

After all, when you press to take out your enemies you want to see it happen there and then. No one likes delayed movement.

There's also a case for reduced eye strain. A TV still only shows the same number of pixels as a monitor, but the increased size means you likely sit further away. Pixel density is higher on a monitor, you sit closer, and you're not straining to look for details on the screen.

Then there's price. A quality 1080p gaming monitor can be had for under $200. Even at that price, its performance will be greater for gaming than most televisions.

Why you should use a TV for gaming

Xbox One S

The biggest convenience of a modern console is that it can also be the heart of your home entertainment setup. The Xbox One S has substantial app support from the big content providers, as well as a 4K Blu-ray player and OneGuide integration for your cable or OTA TV channels.

Monitors are great for gaming, but they're not designed for use in the living room. The Xbox isn't going to be your entertainment hub if it isn't hooked up to your big screen TV for the whole family to enjoy.

That goes hand-in-hand with the increase in 4K video content. PC monitors just aren't as big as TVs. The best way to use your Xbox for 4K content is hooking it up to a large TV.

The same can be said of HDR. TV and monitor technologies advance at different rates, which is perhaps strange because they're both fundamentally displays. But if you want to take advantage of HDR in both video and games, a TV is currently your best bet. Monitors with HDR are still fairly rare.

Bottom line

Samsung 4K TV

There's a good case to be made for using either option, but ultimately your planned use of your Xbox One is the best way to help decide. If you're not interested in entertainment, and you use the Xbox strictly for gaming, you might be better off with a monitor. They're cheaper and will offer a better experience. But if your Xbox is at the heart of your entertainment setup, you should definitely stick with a TV. Get the best one you can afford, put your feet up and enjoy!

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

40 Comments
  • I recently stumbled apon commercial use 4k TV's. They have the response time of a monitor but are as big as 85 inches. Best untold secret. I bet only true PC gamers and users know about. They also last for ever.
  • Can you cite an exmaple of one? TY/BR.
  • beware; your milage may vary.
    These kinds of 'industrial' or 'signage' displays have a lot of positives, but they may come with negatives as well. On the plus side;
    They tend not to be terribly expensive for their size
    They tend to be made for extremely bright environments (like an airport) allowing for ultra bright display in a room full of windows
    They are typically rated for 24/7 use rather than TVs that are meant to be used 3-6 hours a day
    They are typically extremely durable, and can last far longer than a typical TV On the negative side:
    Not power efficient. They can take 2-3x the power draw of a normal 'consumer' TV
    Not great image quality; again, typically made for bright rooms, which means they tend to blow out the image. Great for a bright room, but rather terrible for a dark setting, or if you want to see details
    pickey on inputs; not as pickey as they use to be, but they are typically locked to very specific input guidelines and if the signal is off even a little bit then you get 'signal lost'
    No or expensive warranty; you are buying a commercial product, which means there essentially is no warranty. It either works, or it doesn't, and if it doesn't then repairs are typically done by commercial servicing companies that are a bit expensive compared to taking it back to bestbuy. Anywho, if you find a good deal on one, and don't need to worry about power use and brightness, then they can be a great fit.
  • for FPS monitor is always better
  • Unless it's a monitor that has a low refresh rate.
  • of course TV but not because its a better device.. nope, its because the comfort = TV + couch = relax
  • You can put a Monitor in front of a couch, or a couch infront of your PC.
  • Or a couch in front of your couch
  • In my home office, I have a 32 inch 1080p TV with my PC and Xbox One S hooked to it on a desk and a nice leather office chair. A few feet behind the office chair, I have a nice black leather couch sitting about 4 feet away. My daughter and I sat comfortably on the couch and watched Dragonball Z: Resurrection F from the Movies and TV app. It all depends on what your setup and comfort ideas are. In the living room sits a 55inch 1080p or a 42inch 4K TV with an Xbox One S/Amazon Fire TV and that's for my wife to be comfortable. We swap the TVs and devices out so often. Currently the 55 1080p is there, waiting to get a larger 4K TV.
  • Tv. Cant beat the big screen experience although it may be of a lower resolution.
  • You know, there are big monitors...
  • Not in India.
  • Pixel density and viewing distance are a physiological issue.  Sitting closer to a small monitor is not necessarily better than sitting farther away from an equally equipped large TV. It all depends on a person's sight and preference.   4K monitors with HDR and Wide colour Gamut a rare and expensive. TV will provide the best bang for the buck this year.
  • Retina implants ftw.
  • I hook my Xbox One up to a TV because I also have my other consoles (PS3, PS4 and Xbox 360) hooked up to it.
  • 4K Samsung TV
  • Projector (epson 5030/40) on a 110" screen. Its hard going back to tvs and little monitors after gaming on a 110" projector for 4 years.
  • Have you looked in to renting the Imax or theater for a birthday game party? They have them here at Cineplex in Canada. https://www.cineplex.com/Theatres/Birthdays/XBOXParties
  • NIce
  • Just got myself a LG 65" OLED TV hooked up to a 5.1 Sonos set for my Xbox one S. No monitor beats that imo. And FPS with controller, that's a no go imo too.
    And eagerly waiting for Xbox Scorpio (don't change that name) for true 4K Forza Motorsport.
  • The thing with OLED displays nowadays, apart from their price of course, is that I would always be worried when gaming because of the possible image retentions/burns, thus not fully enjoying... I personally went for a really good UHD LED-LCD last month, but the next one in a few years will be OLED for sure.
  • Retention happens, burn in doesn't in my case, my TV is from October 2016 and I'm playing games almost every evening. OLED's have pixel shift while on and clear panel noise in standby to prevent retention/burn in.
  • Burn-in on OLED has been consistantly reported as a non-issue by reviewers. It's possible, but not likely to happen under normal circumstances. OLED  is considered to be much less prone to burn-in than Plasma. I've gamed on a 50" Panasonic Plasma for 8 years with not even the slightest hint of burn in. Burn-in is an over sold scare tactic used by those pushing their own agenda. The only people with damaged screens are stupid people.
  • Depends on how casual of a gamer you are and if you do a LAN party, a monitor is pretty handy. Also, with a monitor and a desk you can use a keyboard & mouse. 
  • What we need is TV's with FreeSync support, hopefully this will happen soon.
  • Should be coming sometime, since MS put Freesync into Scorpio. I imagine it will be a couple of years, but it beats begging for GSync to raise costs $300 and take just as long!
  • I say both. Get two Xbox Ones and have a TV AND a monitor. In my case 55 inch 4k Sony and 32 inch Acer predator. Monitors are best for doing things on computers and TV's for media.
  • Or just use a PC at your monitor, thanks to Play Anywhere as a long-term service.
  • Gaming on an OLED B6 with the Xbox One S has been amazing. Can't wait for the Scorpio!
  • Hear, hear.
  • It largely depends on your room size and TV quality.
    Consoles have a very narrow field of view (perhaps the main reason I switched to PC gaming where such settings are adjustable) which means that the display should not take up a whole lot of your field of view. Having a 40-70" TV in a typical living room generally works well as you are generally 10+ feet away from the display, so the field of view is just fine. But if you are in a dorm or other close-quarters situation then it can be difficult to find a high quality TV that is small enough to have an appropriate FOV. In these cases using a PC monitor makes a lot more sense.
  • I have been gaming on a 4K Samsung 55" lately with Game mode enabled.  It's been great.  Before that had a Samsung 40" 120hz also with game mode enabled.  I recommend if your TV offers a game mode enable it.  But it has been in the living room when I play.  I rarely game on a PC.
  • I went from my 55" Samsung to hooking up the Xbox to my computer monitors. I use Display Fusion and can have apps open on the desktop on one monitor while playing the Xbox on the larger main monitor. Actually comes in quite handy, works for me because I can have Xbox App or GroupMe open on the PC side for easier chatting (keyboard) than on the Xbox.
  • PC Monitor (stream from XB1) High end Samsung TV has very apparent higher latency when playing Forza Horizon 3. When I streamed first time my game score improved.
  • In my particular​ case the "better" option is my monitor. I play on my room (is not a big room) and I'm also a programmer and PC gamer, but I love my Xbox aswale. My 27" 1440p monitor is the best option. It will be imposible for me having a 46 TV on front of my eyes coding or playing PC games.
  • Until a 60" UHD monitor is available and affordable, then TV is the no-brainer.
  • 80" TV with full surround audio system. Best immersive gaming set up!!!
  • I use a cheap 4k TV for my PC. :)
  • Another point: monitors' smaller screen sizes might help gamers who suffer from motion sickness when playing on TVs.
  • My main PC and Xbox are in my bedroom, so I use my TV for both :)