Which is Best for Your Home Theater, Projector vs TV?

Which is Best for Your Home Theater, Projector vs TV?

Thu, Mar 17, 2022 2:37 PM

TV Cable

Do you wish to buy a Projector vs TV for your home? We've examined the advantages and disadvantages of both devices so you can pick the best one for your living room or home theater.

In the past, we've recommended TVs with better built-in speakers and a brighter, clearer picture. However, projectors with true 4K ultra-high quality, HDR, more powerful speakers, and even integrated soundbars are now available for the same—or less—price.

In the end, TVs prevail because they're familiar and straightforward—but projectors are catching up and are well worth the extra setup time.

Related: How to Choose between Cable and Streaming TV?

Do you wish to buy a Projector or TV for your home? We've examined the advantages and disadvantages of both devices so you can pick the best one for your living room or home theater.

In the past, we've recommended TVs with better built-in speakers and a brighter, clearer picture. However, projectors with true 4K ultra-high quality, HDR, more powerful speakers, and even integrated soundbars are now available for the same—or less—price.

In the end, TVs prevail because they're familiar and straightforward—but projectors are catching up and are well worth the extra setup time.

The TCL 5-Series ROKU Smart TV in 50" is our recommendation for the best smart TV under $500. It has a fantastic QLED picture with 4K resolution and HDR, a great user interface, and Roku, Google Assistant, and Alexa integration.

The SAMSUNG Q60T Series ($674.95 for the 55” version) boasts a QLED screen, 4K resolution, Quantum HDR, 60Hz refresh rate, and built-in Alexa if your budget allows it.

If you can afford it, the Samsung Q90T Series Smart TV ($1,597.99) has all of the same capabilities as the Q60T Series, plus double the refresh rate (120Hz) and object-tracking sound, as well as two built-in speakers on the top and bottom—ideal for gaming or watching sports.

Let's evaluate Projector vs TV based on a few major criteria: price, upkeep, resolution, screen size, brightness, contrast, space needs, and sound quality.

Related: Updated: Best Paid Streaming Services of 2021

Projector vs TV: Price

In terms of screen size for your cash, TV projectors are far more cost-effective. A nice HD projector costs less than $1,000, and a 100”–120” screen costs less than $100, whereas a 75–85” TV might cost $1,800 or more.

While most customers start with screen size, other features such as OLED technology in TVs and lasers in HD projectors soon push up the price.

Also, Read: Step By Step Guide On How to Use a Cable Splitter

Maintenance

Modern TVs are largely maintenance-free; the LEDs that power them have such a long lifespan that you're more likely to replace the complete TV before worrying about the backlights.

Projectors, on the other hand, often employ lights that burn out over time. You should also be concerned about dust getting inside the projector. If changing bulbs turns you off but you really want a projector, go for one with a laser light source—they're more expensive but last a lot longer.

Resolution

4K is all the rage these days, and it works beautifully on both large-screen TVs and projectors. However, the resolution tale is more than just a statistic.

Unless you're watching on a massive screen, it's difficult to perceive the difference that 4K TVs create. Because the screen is large enough to display the incredible level of information that comes with 4K, projectors really shine here.

This gap is narrowing as TVs get bigger every year, but a projector gives you greater screen sizes for less money. If you're going to watch a 4K video, you'll probably want to use a projector.

Screen size

This is a clear win for projectors, which can display images on screens up to 300 inches across, albeit, as previously said, the margin is decreasing. The average size of modern television is roughly 80 inches, though some reach 100 inches.

While we expect TV screen sizes will continue to rise, there is a practical limit to how big TVs can go because they must be brought into the house and mounted. Plus, jumbo-size TVs are prohibitively expensive, excluding all but the most dedicated home-cinema enthusiasts.

Projectors need screens

Even if you can project onto a wall, a screen is a better option. A flawlessly smooth projection surface, either white or gray and constructed of white blackout fabric, polyester, plastic, or PVC, is required for the greatest picture.

A gain property should also be present on the screen. Gain is a measurement of how much brighter the projection will be as a result of the screen. A gain of 1.0, for example, has no effect, whereas a gain of 2.0 is almost twice as bright.

Fortunately, there are a variety of projector screens to choose from, so you'll have no trouble finding one that fits your home theater space and your budget.

The most cost-effective is foldable anti-crease screens.

Pull-down screens, whether manual or motorized, are inexpensive and extremely cool.

Although a pop-up screen with stands is more expensive, it is portable and simple to put up.

The most expensive screen is this gigantic inflatable behemoth, but it'll be a blast for your family gathering.

Brightness

TVs, particularly more contemporary LED TVs, are bright enough—and you can change the brightness to your preference. As a result, for general use, a TV's convenience and multifunctionality are hard to exceed.

The brightness of a projector is measured in lumens. For dimmer rooms, a projector with a brightness rating of 2,000 or lower is recommended (dedicated home theaters). Higher-brightness projectors are suitable for spaces with more ambient lighting (like living rooms).

It's crucial to remember, though, that brighter isn't always better. Don't assume that a projector with a high brightness will function in any setting. If you use it in a dimly lit room, the image will be washed out, giving you a headache.

Contrast

High contrast ratios are possible with projectors. The problem is that brightness affects contrast as well. A projector is likely to wash out unless you're in a dark environment, which will damage the contrast.

TVs are bright enough to compete with the environment, and if you go for an OLED model, the screen technology allows for an almost limitless contrast ratio.

TVs are the way to choose if contrast is vital or if you'll be watching outside of a dark home theater.

Space

The projectors themselves don't take up much room. The screens may be folded away, and the projection unit itself is compact. The throw distance, on the other hand, is what decides how much space projectors need.

The throw distance is the distance between the projection surface and the projector in order to achieve the best and largest picture.

Many projectors, especially the less expensive ones, require a distance of 10–16 feet. If you don't have space in your home theater for a long-throw projector, search into short-throw and ultra-short-throw projectors that may be placed considerably closer to the screen.

Another point to consider is the viewing distance. When you cram a large screen into a small space, you're forced to sit too close together, which impacts how you see image details. You should sit about nine feet away from a 65-inch television or projector screen.

To find out how big a screen your home theater room can accommodate, use our TV Viewing Distance Calculator.

Audio

Unless you want to upgrade your home theater with a surround sound system or soundbar, nearly every TV comes with built-in speakers, and they're typically all you need.

Many projectors come with built-in speakers. They aren't always terrific, but they are improving. You can also buy projectors with built-in soundbars or particularly tailored speakers. In some circumstances, the audio from the projector meets or exceeds that of the TV speakers.

However, for a full home-theater experience, you'll need a television.

Final Thought

While both Projector and TV win four categories each, and projector technology is catching up to television technology, we won't call it a draw just yet. Because you're familiar with how television works, it's easier to understand. While a projector isn't overly sophisticated, you should expect some trial and error if you're using it for the first time—but probably not as much as you think.

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