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Why Choose a Projector Instead of TV?

Projectors, once a luxury for movie buffs and technology enthusiasts, are now becoming an exciting alternative to traditional televisions. But can they truly replace the TV for daily viewing, from morning news to late-night sitcoms? Is it practical, cost-effective, and as visually stunning as it sounds?

Using a projector for everyday TV viewing offers a larger screen at a lower cost, enhancing the viewing experience. It’s gentler on the eyes due to reflected light. However, it involves managing bulb life, setting up external audio, and ensuring connectivity for cable TV.

In this article, we will dive into using projectors as TV alternatives. We examine their advantages, from immersive screens to eye comfort, alongside practical considerations like costs, setup, and audio solutions. Discover whether a projector can transform your viewing habits, or if it’s just a novel idea.

Key Takeaways

  • Enhanced Viewing Experience: Projectors provide larger screens at a lower cost, enhancing engagement and being easier on the eyes due to reflected light.
  • Operational Considerations: Consider bulb lifespan and additional setup for audio and cable TV connectivity; LED projectors offer longer usage times.
  • Versatility and Cost-Effectiveness: Projectors are typically space-efficient, suitable for gaming, and can be more economical over time compared to large TVs.

Pros and Cons of Using a Projector for Everyday Viewing

There are various reasons why using a home projector instead of a TV for everyday viewing is either a great idea or a not-so-great idea. It depends on the room that the projector may be located in, the people watching, and much more!

Pros of Using a Projector for Everyday Viewing

Projector Pros

Enhanced Viewing Experience at a Lower Cost

What’s the best-selling, largest TV you can buy on Amazon? At the time of writing, the LG 86UM8070PUA 86″ 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (on Amazon) takes that crown, and it does it at a price point of nearly two thousand dollars. That’s a serious price, and there’s no question that TV will blow your socks off when it comes to performance, image quality, etc.

But here’s the thing: this TV is still 14% smaller than a 100-in screen, and a projector that can do that will be half the cost. Literally. The XGIMI Horizon Smart Projector (on Amazon), for example, comes in at less than half the 86” LG TV and is designed for, not a 100-inch screen, not a 200-inch screen, but a whopping 300-inch diagonal projector screen.

If your goal is big, there’s no question that projectors have the advantage. And if you’re already sold, you can check out some of our projector recommendations here, but keep reading to get more on the pros and cons.

Impressive User Experience

The big screen just makes the video more compelling. Whether it’s sports, sitcoms, or a Blockbuster movie, having a huge screen to watch all of your “normal” content on makes it all feel more engaging. It takes a part of your life–a weekly ritual of watching your favorite shows, perhaps, and elevates that experience to something more substantial.

One more thing to be aware of is that projectors can be also used outside during the day (our guide), and with some considerations regarding the light source, you can have an awesome home theater projector entertainment

Projectors Are Better Than TVs For Eye Comfort

Projectors are often considered better than TVs for eye health in certain respects. The key reason is that projectors use reflected light, which is generally softer and less likely to cause eye strain compared to the direct light emitted by TV screens. This can be particularly beneficial during an extended viewing session.

Space Efficiency

Projectors offer superior space efficiency compared to traditional TVs. When not in use, the projector screen can be rolled up or retracted, freeing up wall space for other purposes.

This feature is particularly advantageous for those who prefer a minimalist or multipurpose space, as it eliminates the permanent wall occupation typical of large TVs. Consequently, a projector setup maintains the aesthetic flexibility of your room while still providing a large-screen viewing experience when desired.

Cons of Using a Projector for Everyday Viewing

Projector Cons

Projectors Have Higher Operating Costs Driven by the Bulb Life

Traditional projector bulbs have a lifespan of around 2000 hours. With everyday TV use, such as having it on in the background for about 8 hours a day, you could reach this limit in approximately 250 days.

Not even a full year. However, the projector industry, and especially high-end projectors like the one listed above, is moving from traditional low-life incandescent bulbs to long-lasting LED lamps.

This bumps the lamp life up an order of magnitude. Taking the example above, the XGIMI H2 has a lamp life that claims 30000 hours of use. At our 8-hour-per-day metric, that’s a cool 10 years. So, if you get an LED-powered projector, this “con” is not nearly as big of a headache.

And there might be one more hidden advantage here in that the projector is likely a little cheaper to run compared to a Television. There’s more on that in our article here if you’re interested.

It May be Hard to Actually Get TV Onto Your Projector

For streaming services that run as apps, or as streaming sticks, there are usually pretty simple solutions to get content on your Projector: whatever box you’re using to run your setup (maybe it’s a computer or an Xbox) you can almost always just download Netflix or Hulu and go.

For traditional TV feeds that you buy from a cable company, however, there might be a few more hoops to jump through. If your cable box needs to be near an Ethernet or Cable jack, you may face issues with placement and have to run a longer cable line to the projector’s location.

Placing the cable box near its required jack necessitates running an HDMI cable from there to the projector. A Wireless HDMI Kit or a wireless cable box could simplify this, but it adds an extra step in setting up traditional TV viewing with a projector.

More Complicated Audio Setup

TVs will almost always have speakers built in that are good enough for everyday use. Projectors…not so much. When they do have speakers built-in, they’re often cheap-sounding with tinny highs and non-existent lows.

Where a Television has a big enough width to have left and right audio speakers, a projector not only lacks any width to play with but is often mounted above you, not at the video surface, so using the projector’s built-in sound will get old quickly.

This means you have to solve an audio problem with a projector that you don’t have to fuss with at all if you’re using a Television.

TV Or Projector: Which Is Better For Gaming?

Projectors are suitable for gaming, offering an immersive large-screen experience. Modern projectors (like this BenQ on Amazon) often have features tailored for gaming, supporting various game types effectively.

However, for competitive gaming or games requiring quick reflexes, you might want to consider a TV as a choice due to lower input lag and better color performance.

For a more cinematic and immersive gaming experience, particularly in single-player games, a projector could be a better choice. Ultimately, it depends on your gaming preferences, the type of games you play, and the environment in which you’ll be gaming. Just remember you should consider brightness, input lag, resolution, and contrast ratio.