Should your next computer monitor be a TV?

It doesn’t seem like a difficult decision at all. For your PC you get a monitor, for your lounge you get a television.

However, a strange situation caused by a recent change in the import duties charged on monitors may make a TV a more cost-effective and feature-filled purchase than a computer monitor.

With full HD TVs running at the same resolution, and typically sporting more features than monitors, one might expect there to be a difference in the LCD (liquid crystal display) panels to explain a difference in price.

Not so, said both Corrie Labuschagne, product and marketing manager for TV at Samsung Electronics SA, and Bennie Budler, product manager for IT products.

According to Labuschagne and Budler, TVs and PC monitors have the same panel and the LED lighting and panel quality is the same for both.

TV and monitor prices compared

Comparing the prices of monitors and TVs indicates that if you’re looking for a monitor with a 27-inch diagonal or larger, you may want to consider a TV to fill its role.

While 24-inch monitors start at R1,500 (with LED backlit displays going for upwards of R2,000), 27-inch LCD monitors seem to start at R3,600.

A 27-inch TV will cost about the same, if not slightly less, at many online retailers.

When one starts looking at 32-inch displays, the price difference becomes more pronounced.

We found 32-inch LCD TVs listed from R3,700 and 32-inch TVs with LED backlighting from R5,000. In contrast, the cheapest 32-inch monitor we could find went for R7,000.

Samsung explained that a difference in import duties provide TVs with a pricing advantage in South Africa. According to Samsung, as of 1 April 2011, all desktop monitors larger than 20-inches in diameter attract a 25% import duty.

TVs are manufactured locally and monitors are not, Samsung said, which means that TVs avoid the full brunt of the new import duty.

Related Article:

PC monitor tax: It can be avoided (legally)

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Should your next computer monitor be a TV?