Projector vs. TV: Which is Better For Your Home Theater?

I’ll admit, I’ve always been a TV fanboy, especially when you compare them to projectors.

Projectors never looked bright enough, or sharp enough, in my opinion.

That was until recently, when I went over to a friend’s house for a long-overdue movie night. He’d just gotten a new house and built his own home theater room, complete with a 4K projector.

Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure whether to go with a large TV or a projector for my next home theater upgrade.

Since I looked at them last, projectors have become brighter, and more cost-effective. On the flip side, televisions have grown in size, brightness, and cost.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

So in this article, I’m diving back into the discussion about which is better: TV’s vs Projectors for your home theater.

I’m going to cover some of the major things you should be thinking about before you make that big purchase.

Ready? Let’s get started.


Projector vs. TV: What’s the Difference?

There are several significant differences between TV’s and projectors, and they’re not be as obvious as you might think.

So we are going to divide everything into a few key categories. That should make it easier for you to choose the best option for your own home theater.

Projector vs. TV: Resolution

Technology has progressed tremendously. Right now, we are in the 4K era, which allows you to see everything with more clarity.

On TV, noticing the quality of a 4K image can be challenging since the pixels are all crowded together in a much smaller space. It means you may not be able to appreciate the 4K experience fully.

An HD projector at home, on the other hand, would provide considerably more outstanding performance in terms of resolution. All you need is a high-quality projector cord. That is because projectors enable you to view anything on a much larger screen.

While some televisions may rival the size of the projector’s screen, they can be prohibitively expensive. Overall, the projector is the clear victor when it comes to higher resolution and visual quality.

Projector vs. TV: Price

If two things that produce a very similar output have a different price tag, chances are you will opt for the lower-priced item. It is only human to want to get the most value out of our money, and rightly so.

In this instance, the projector is the best value. Consider dividing your expenditure by screen size. You will notice that you do not have to spend a fortune on a projector to get a large screen.

In fact, for an 80-inch screen, you will not need to spend more than $1,000 on a projector.  However, you might have to pay up to 50% more to get a TV of the same size.

As such, if you are looking for something that will provide you with an incredible experience at a more affordable price point, you should consider purchasing a projector.

Projector lens

Projector vs. TV: Maintenance

It may not seem like a real issue when purchasing a new television or projector. However, these devices will not remain brand new for a long time. As with anything else, they will show signs of wear and tear. However, one takes significantly more effort to take care of than the other.

You know it does not require much maintenance or care beyond the occasional dusting before a party if you already possess a television. There is nothing you need to be concerned about or worry about here.

It is not the same with projectors; you must be cautious about the dust that may enter the projector, as it could result in visual disturbance, which would affect your experience.

Additionally, you must maintain the bulb or blue in the projector regularly. Regardless, it will eventually burn out, and you will need to replace it.

Therefore, if you are opposed to such maintenance labor, television would be the best alternative for you. It will save you a lot of time and aggravation in determining where the dust in your house collects.

Projector vs. TV: Brightness

Brightness is a significant factor when it comes to projectors. This is because apparent contrast is determined by how dark or light the environment is. The more ambient light in a space is, the more brightness is required to prevent the image from washing away.

However, increased brightness quickly increases projector expenses. The majority of projectors priced under $2,000, for example, output between 1,500 and 3,000 lumens. Because projectors bounce light off a screen, their actual brightness is significantly lower when it reaches your eyes.

The majority of $1,000 LED televisions are easily capable of delivering far more brightness. However, keep in mind that televisions measure brightness in nits, not lumens. Projectors have to work harder to get the same level of brightness as even a budget LED television.

On the other hand, if your viewing room is dark, the reflected light from a projector may be comfortable to watch. There is a reason that movie theater screens are so comfortable to look at.

Ultimately, if you want a brilliant and colorful image in any light and requires little to no maintenance, you should go for a television.

Projector vs. TV: Screen Size

Watching movies on a larger screen is always more pleasurable than viewing them on a smaller one. Consider movie theaters. We have a natural affinity for the sights on a giant screen, where everything and everyone is magnified and made more visible.

This feature is something that you will enjoy if you purchase a projector.

Therefore, one of the most significant advantages of the home cinema projector is the size of the displays. You are likely to have a far better time this way. Most projectors have an average screen size of 80 inches, far larger than the televisions seen in most homes.

While you may purchase a television with a giant screen, it will cost far more than buying a projector with an even larger screen. Additionally, finding a television larger than 80 inches will be a challenging proposition.

If you are looking for a giant screen, a projector is the way to go. Of course, unless you are willing to pay a premium for a TV instead. It all boils down to what you want from the device.

Projector vs. TV: Sound Quality

Watching shows will be incomplete without the appropriate sound equipment.

For better sound, I would choose televisions. They come equipped with built-in sound systems, which allow you to hear everything clearly without missing any of the excitement.

However, projectors need considerable effort in this department. Sometimes the projector you purchased includes a built-in speaker. Yet, more often than not, they are inferior, forcing you to use an external sound system.

If you are hesitant to buy a sound system, you should stick to purchasing a television.

Projector vs. TV: Color Accuracy

You do not have to spend an arm and a leg on a projector to obtain excellent color. Depending on the projector, you may achieve fantastic color at a reasonable price. On the other hand, televisions take more labor and processing to provide superior color reproduction.

As you can imagine, this only increases the price. At the moment, the best 4K TVs offer a broader color spectrum than the majority of consumer projectors. It is particularly true for televisions equipped with a high dynamic range, or HDR.

If we only consider price-to-performance, televisions win. If cost is not a problem, consider investing in a light-controlled projector room. This way, you will enjoy a larger image with exceptional color quality.

Projector vs. TV: Space

Space is an essential consideration if you live in an apartment. You cannot buy anything too large for the available area.

When we look at projectors, we see that they are small and compact. You can put them up, and they will not take up much room. However, this is not the issue. They require an entirely bare wall to project their picture. Additionally, the screen is often rather large.

Where are you going to get that kind of area for your projector screen?

Televisions take far less effort and do not necessitate removing a white wall, which is a plus for many people. Therefore, if you have little room, the best option for you would be a television. You can choose the desired size. It would be preferable to get a television than a tiny projector, as the latter negates the point of the former.

Projector vs. TV: Ease of Installation

Television provides the convenience of a more straightforward setup and operation. Despite their fragility and size, TVs are easy to integrate into a home theater setup. Additionally, they serve as an excellent unifier for your gadgets and equipment.

This is because everything plugs straight into the TV and is often managed via the TV’s remote. Unless you are attaching the television to a wall, installation is very straightforward. Additionally, even if you choose the wall-mounted option, you will be able to complete the job alone.

On the other hand, projectors need more planning and effort to install. The first consideration should be your screen. Will you be painting a wall or erecting a freestanding screen? Or, will you be installing a motorized screen that must be affixed to the ceiling or wall?

Regardless of the approach, you will need to ensure that you have enough room for these large screens. Second, you will want to ensure that the projector is positioned correctly.

Indeed, it would be ideal to hire a professional installer to complete the tasks. Before purchasing a projector, it is prudent to determine where it will be mounted and the size of the screen you require. Then there are the wires that you will have to get routed from the receiver to the projector, which will incur an additional cost.

If you want to use a projector, you will need a reasonably big room with lots of wall space and a connected sound system. As you can imagine, it is a complex and expensive setup. Nonetheless, it will provide a more immersive, cinematic experience in your home theater.

If your room is tiny and you can live with smaller screen size, flat-screen televisions might be your best option.

Projector vs. TV: Convenience

If it is not immediately apparent, televisions are the more convenient alternative.

They are easier to use and set up, requiring less planning and work. Additionally, you do not have to worry about ambient light or things throwing shadows on the screen. Moreover, you may be confident that a TV will never lose focus or require bulb replacement.

There is an increasing need for compact, easy to install, and portable projectors. While they are quickly evolving, they nevertheless demand significant time and effort throughout the installation procedure.

Still, the reality is that televisions need less time and effort to install and are more user-friendly.

Tim Wells

Tim Wells got his first computer at the age of ten and hasn't stopped tinkering ever since. After discovering Android TV boxes in 2013, he created a popular Android PC Review website and guided it to over 8 million pageviews before stepping away in 2018. After a brief hiatus from the industry he's back at the helm of AndroidTVNews.com to bring Android TV and TV boxes to the forefront of the streaming world. When he's not writing, he spends as much time as he can with his beautiful wife and his bulldog.

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