4K UHD tv as monitor for MBP?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Asianpork, May 12, 2016.

  1. Asianpork macrumors member

    May 12, 2016

    Long time reader, first time poster. I've been looking for a 4K monitor for MBP and was wondering if 4K UHD tvs are a good choice as monitors. Especially http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017VXTYKU/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza

    40" 4K tv for $599 is a lot less than 40" 4K monitors so there must be some caveat I don't know about. I can't seem to think of any.

    Thoughts, comments? Any help appreciated.
  2. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    First off - great idea. I think a factor to consider is your workspace. For me and my vision, monitors about 30 inches away work. I bought a 4K 27" a bit ago. At 4K, it's definitely too small to read for most purposes, and it scales nicely to 2K. But one thing I hadn't realized is how much physical space is there. I am conscious of moving my head around, whereas with HD 24" I was just moving my eyes. In the old days, computer monitors had data grade glass (less imperfection, as easier to notice distortion on still images) than TVs. But I don't think that's true any more.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    40 inches is just too big to be sat at normal desktop distance, 30 inches is probably a better bet but 4K TVs tend to start at 40 inches because they are designed to be viewed at a distance.
  4. Asianpork thread starter macrumors member

    May 12, 2016
    So it wouldn't be too much of loss in quality using a 40" UHD 4K tv as a monitor?
    --- Post Merged, May 13, 2016 ---
    True, good point. But, my desk is rather deep one and I'll be using the 40" size for when I'm painting digitally in photoshop and need to really zoom in, down to the pixel for blending color. At that much zoom I'd like to be able to have as much screen real estate as possible. With that in mind, is it a bad idea?
  5. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    All you can do is try it out it'll either work for you or it won't, that's the trouble with screens everyone likes something different.

    Also remember that a 40 inch to at 4K is going to be nowhere near the sharpness of a 27 inch or 30 inch at 4k, same number of pixels on a smaller screen gives a sharper image.

    Apple went for 5k on its 27 inch all in one and 4K on the 21 inch for a variety of reasons but sharpness is a big factor.
  6. omvs, May 13, 2016
    Last edited: May 13, 2016

    omvs macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    I used to use a 40" 4k TV as a monitor (SE39UY04), and know a number of folks who used the same for coding work. Make sure you switch the tv into a low latency (game mode) or mouse lag will probably be terrible.

    Sounds like you're doing more photo work, so color accuracy could be an issue. The Seiki seemed to be either dithering or downsampling the color space to 4:2:0, even at 30Hz - it wasn't a big deal since I didn't care about color accuracy, but i did notice once in a while with some stipple patterns. I'd imagine the newer TV's probably don't do that, but whether they'd have the color accuracy you'd want is another question.

    Also expect display-sleep to not work like you'd expect. Some TV's won't power down at all. Others will power all the way off, so when you wake up the computer the TV will stay off. And a lot of TV's will drop the DDC signal when they power down, so the computer won't think a display is attached anymore. This wil probably cause the computer to change resolutions and move all your windows around, which is annoying.

    UPDATE: I believe the HDMI ports on the macbook pro's are still HDMI 1.4, so you will also need a mDP -> HDMI 2.0 converter if you want 60hz. I would guess for graphical work you will find the mouse lag from 30hz to be annoying - it was the eventual incentive for me to upgrade from the 30Hz TV to a 60Hz monitor.
  7. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    A coupe of things that I don't know, that may be relevant. First, computers monitors have switchable resolutions. At least the ones I own can be adjusted to preset resolutions from SysPrefs. I don't know if that's true for a TV, nor if it matters to you. Second, there are studies about resolution and viewing distance, that say something to the effect of how well people can view pixels from certain distances. Much of this is based on the focal distance from your eye to the actual pixel. Maybe take your MBP and a 6-foot HDMI cable to Best Buy and see how it goes.
  8. h9826790 macrumors G5


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Mostly agree with the others. dp to HDMI 2.0 "Active" adaptor is required to get you 4K 60Hz. I use my 84" 4K TV as monitor as well. But not for the main OSX operation, I do the "usual stuff' on my 27" ACD. but only use that TV for pictures / 4K video editing preview, etc (something work better on large screen, but not require multiple quick precise mouse pointer action). I am totally OK with on 30Hz on that screen. But in general, 60Hz is much much better for monitor.

    For distance, it depends on what you want. Since I want to use my TV to check the details, therefore I use it only 2' away from me. TBH, there is no way that I can see the whole screen at once. It's just far too big, but that's how I use it. I can only clearly see all the small details when I am very close to the TV. When gaming, I will seat 10-15' away from it.

    Few more points why TV is generally not good for monitor.

    1) Unless the TV provide accurate colour calibrating function. The colour may be very wrong. They usually much more rich then what it should be. That's how the manufacture make the public feel their TV is good (rich colour usually looks nicer). But usually only the top of the line TV have these kind of function. Normal TV only has simple colour tuning ability, hard to perform as good as monitor on accurately display the original colour.

    2) Input lag is high. Most flat TV offer computer / game mode to reduce input lag (which may further reduce the colour correcting ability). However, the input lag may still 3x or even 10x of a monitor can do. Which will may you extremely hard to have accurate mouse movement.

    3) TV usually has lots of post processing, some functions may able to turn off directly, some others may able to turn off by using game / computer mode. However, some functions may not able to turn off. Which may cause the TV unable to accurate display the image. e.g. May be the icon looks a little bit different on the TV then your screen, because the TV add some artificial sharpness / noise canceling on the icon.

    Since you said that you use it for photoshop. I can tell you that's a good way to get a big 4K screen that allow you to see the details. However, a very bad way to accurately display the picture. Unless you know that TV model can turn off all the post processing function AND the colour correcting function can work in computer / game mode.

    In general, colour may not be a big problem, because you can still use something like spider to calibrate the colour from the computer side. However, post processing may kill you. You want the TV allow you to see the details, but it only display the "processed detail", which most likely not your original intention. And TBH, this may make your "able to see the details" become meaningless, because you still can't see the original details.

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7 May 12, 2016