Roku TVs have become a popular and affordable smart TV option. With their built-in Roku platform, these TVs provide easy access to thousands of streaming channels. But could a Roku TV pull double duty as a computer monitor as well?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using a Roku TV as a monitor for your computer.
- Roku TVs can work as external monitors for laptops and desktop PCs with the right cables and adapters. HDMI is generally the best connection option.
- Resolution and refresh rate are important considerations when using a TV as a monitor. Roku TVs match up well to basic 1080p monitors.
- Setup steps vary by computer OS, Roku TV model, and connection method. HDMI is typically plug-and-play while wireless options require more configuration.
- Benefits include the Roku TV’s larger screen size, built-in streaming, and cheaper cost compared to monitors. Downsides are lower resolution, no mount options, and less portability.
- Alternatives like dedicated monitors, wireless display adapters, and all-in-one PCs offer other pros and cons compared to using a Roku TV as a second display.
Can You Use a Roku TV as a Computer Monitor?
At a technical level, Roku TVs can absolutely be used as external monitors for laptops, desktops, and other devices like gaming consoles. But how well a Roku TV will serve as a computer display depends on a few key factors.
Roku TV and Monitor Specifications
Modern Roku TVs support 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution at 60Hz refresh rate. Many also support 4K at 30 or 60Hz over HDMI 2.0. This matches up well with mainstream monitors. Higher end monitors offer better resolution (2K, 4K) and faster refresh rates (144Hz+).
Screen size may be the Roku TV’s biggest advantage as a monitor. They range from 24″ up to 75″+. Most monitors max out at 27-34 inches.
HDMI is the best way to connect a computer to a Roku TV. HDMI carries both video and audio signals. For HDMI 2.0 models, you can get 4K 60Hz resolution.
Other options are VGA, DisplayPort/miniDP (with adapters), and wireless casting. VGA only does 720p and has no audio. Wireless can be laggy for real-time work.
Setup Steps Depend on Platform
Using a Roku TV as a second display is plug-and-play for Macs and PCs with HDMI ports. Just connect the HDMI cable and set the Roku as an extended or mirrored display in System Preferences or Display Settings.
Setup is trickier for laptops without HDMI. You’ll need an adapter like USB-C to HDMI. Wireless screen mirroring also requires adjusting settings on both TV and computer.
Advantages of Using a Roku TV as a Monitor
Large Screen Real Estate
The main appeal is the Roku TV’s large display. Even entry-level models start at 24″, going up to 75″ for high-end units. Very few monitors exceed 27 inches. The spacious screen makes the Roku TV ideal for productivity. You can comfortably have multiple windows open side-by-side.
The Roku TV pulls double duty. You can use it as an external monitor while also enjoying the Roku’s smart features and streaming channels. Switching between PC display mode and Roku TV mode is as easy as changing inputs.
You can get a 32″ to 55″ Roku TV for under $300. Comparable monitors often cost more. And the Roku TV adds streaming capabilities on top of being a monitor. Going bigger, Roku’s 70″ 4K models cost around $700. It would be over $1000 for a comparable 4K monitor.
Disadvantages of Using a Roku TV as a Monitor
Roku TVs max out at 1080p resolution unless you spend extra for a 4K model. Monitors can match or surpass Roku TVs here. Graphic designers and engineers may want higher res monitors for detailed work.
Lack of Ergonomic Adjustments
Monitors offer flexible stands with height, swivel, tilt, and pivot adjustments. Roku TVs simply have fixed VESA mounts. It’s harder to get an ideal viewing angle or line up multiple Roku TVs perfectly.
No Portrait/Pivot Option
Related to ergonomics, monitors can pivot to portrait orientation. Roku TVs are landscape only. Portrait mode is useful for coding, reading long documents, managing photos, etc.
Not as Portable
Monitors tend to be smaller and lighter than Roku TVs of the same screen size. Monitors are easier to transport for mobile professionals. Roku TVs work best as stationary displays.
Alternatives to Using a Roku TV as a Computer Monitor
Dedicated Computer Monitors
An actual computer monitor will offer better ergonomics, connectivity, higher refresh rates, and resolution. But monitors can’t compete with Roku TV’s large screen sizes at their low price point. It depends how much you want to optimize for computer versus streaming use.
Wireless Display Adapters
Wireless adapters like Google Chromecast, Miracast, and AirPlay allow you to mirror or extend your computer screen to a TV. There’s no need for HDMI cables. But lag and lower frame rates make wireless less suited for productivity work vs. entertainment.
All-In-One Desktop Computer
All-in-one computers integrate a monitor and PC into one device. Many models like the Apple iMac offer excellent displays equivalent to standalone monitors. But they lack the Roku TV’s big screen size, smart features, and flexibility to use as just a monitor.
Roku TVs make surprisingly capable monitors thanks to their affordable large screens, 1080p resolution, and standard connectivity options like HDMI. Basic setup is quick and easy for many laptops and computers. Just be aware of the limitations around resolution, ergonomics and orientation that monitors can improve on.
For productivity work, a dedicated monitor is still ideal. But for office and home uses where large screen real estate for documents and web browsing is more important than high FPS gaming, using a Roku TV as a computer display is definitely feasible. You get the benefits of both a smart TV and an external monitor for not much more than the cost of just a monitor alone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I use a Roku TV as a computer monitor?
A: Yes, you can use a Roku TV as a computer monitor by connecting it to your computer using an HDMI cable.
Q: Is it better to use a computer monitor or a Roku TV?
A: It depends on your needs. A computer monitor is designed for close-up viewing, while a Roku TV is better for watching movies and TV shows from a distance.
Q: What are the advantages of using a Roku TV as a computer monitor?
A: The advantages include a larger screen size, better image quality, and the ability to use the TV for both work and entertainment.
Q: What are the disadvantages of using a Roku TV as a computer monitor?
A: The disadvantages include a higher cost, lower pixel density, and the need for a separate keyboard and mouse.
Q: How do I connect my computer to a Roku TV?
A: You can connect your computer to a Roku TV using an HDMI cable.
Q: Can I use a wireless connection to connect my computer to a Roku TV?
A: Yes, you can use a wireless connection to connect your computer to a Roku TV using Wi-Fi Direct or Miracast.
Q: What is the maximum resolution supported by a Roku TV?
A: Most Roku TVs support a maximum resolution of 1080p, while some newer models support 4K resolution.
Q: Can I use a Roku TV as a gaming monitor?
A: Yes, you can use a Roku TV as a gaming monitor, but it may not be suitable for fast-paced games due to its higher input lag.
Q: How do I adjust the screen resolution on a Roku TV?
A: You can adjust the screen resolution on a Roku TV by going to Settings > Display type and selecting the desired resolution.
Q: Can I use a Roku TV as a dual monitor setup?
A: Yes, you can use a Roku TV as a dual monitor setup by connecting it to your computer using an HDMI splitter.