Is A Projector A Better Option Than A TV?
Would you like to organize the most exceptional movie night with your loved ones? Perhaps you could have a split-screen Mario Kart competition on a display that creates the impression that each player has their individual television? If you invest in a projector, you can enjoy all of this and much more. However, it is crucial to be aware of certain limitations that come with projectors, which we will elaborate on.
Projectors are Small but Powerful
Even a TV of modest size can be a hassle to move or install. It can be such a logistical nightmare to transport a TV from one room to another that it’s more convenient to plan events around where the TV is located, rather than where you would prefer it to be. However, this is not an issue with a projector.
Projectors are roughly the same size as a modern console but can project an image that is much larger than the average TV. To relocate a projector, all you have to do is turn it off, pick it up, and put it down in a new location. You may need to adjust things like focus and projection distance on the other end, but this is much easier than dragging a TV from one room to another. Unlike a TV, you can temporarily move a projector outside or pack it in a carry case for traveling.
In addition, you can get a huge display size of 100 inches or more from that same tiny box. Your display size is mostly limited by the amount of wall space you have and whether you have a suitable surface on which to project an image. Like your projector, screens can be rolled up and carried around relatively easily (or you can use a white bedsheet instead if you’re on a budget).
If you were to buy a TV that is the same size as your projector, it would be much more expensive. Furthermore, it would be very cumbersome and difficult to move around due to its size and weight. It might even be impossible to fit it through the door of your living room. If you enjoy concealing your TV when it is not in use, you may appreciate the simple and clean appearance of a projector. To create a neat look, you can add a retractable screen to it.
Ultra Short Throw Projectors Are Convenient
In the past, it was essential to ensure there was enough space between the projector and the screen or surface where you would project the image. Additionally, any equipment you wanted to use, such as a Blu-ray player or game console, needed to be placed near the projector, rather than on a typical entertainment unit. However, with the invention of ultra-short throw (UST) projectors, this is no longer necessary.
These devices, also called “laser TVs,” are highly convenient as they can be placed directly in front of the surface where you want to project the image. Unlike regular projectors, most UST projectors use a laser, which provides a much longer lifespan compared to traditional “bulb” models. UST projectors have a fixed-size screen, and the maximum screen size is around 130 inches at the moment.
To achieve the best results, UST projectors should be used with a UST-specific screen that utilizes ambient light rejection (ALR) technology. Some UST projectors come with a screen included in the package. These screens use angled ridges to capture and project light that comes from the extreme angle at which the projector is placed while deflecting light from windows or lamps within the room.
However, before you get too excited about UST projectors, keep in mind that purchasing a UST projector and a matching screen can be a costly endeavor. For instance, a decent entry-level 4K HDR option, such as the Hisense 100L5G-CINE100A with a screen included, will cost you less than the more expensive alternatives like the LG HU85LA, which cost about the same on sale but don’t come with a screen in the package. You might end up spending a few thousand dollars on a quality aftermarket screen, and even more for a motorized version that can be concealed neatly.
Gaming With Projectors May Not Be the Best Option
Projectors generally have slower response times than televisions, particularly modern TVs that have low-latency modes specifically designed for gaming. Some projectors, such as the Optoma UHD35x, feature attributes that should satisfy gamers, such as a 4.2ms response time at 1080p, which increases to 16ms for 4K output. At 60 frames per second, the projector takes an entire frame’s worth of input (16.66ms) to respond, causing delay.
When compared to modern OLED TVs, which have outstanding response times and cost approximately the same as the Optoma projector, projectors fall short. For example, the LG C2 has an input latency of 5.3ms at 4K 120Hz or 10ms at 4K 60Hz. Other projectors that are less optimized for gaming are likely to have even more input lag, making anything other than single-player or slow-paced gameplay frustrating.
The Optoma projector also supports up to 240Hz refresh rate at 1080p, but only 60Hz at 4K. This exposes another weakness that many projectors share because most modern TV panels now refresh at 120Hz for 4K content. Additionally, most budget TVs and monitors now include support for variable refresh rate (VRR) technology like FreeSync, which projectors lack.
While a projector can deliver the impressive visual display of a wall-sized screen, it may not be the best choice for you. It would be wiser to invest in a device that offers features that are better suited to your needs, such as lower input lag, VRR, HDMI 2.1, and 4K at 120Hz. These features will enhance your viewing experience and ensure that your investment is worthwhile.
Taking Sound Into Consideration
While some projectors have built-in speakers, their sound quality is usually disappointing and inferior to that of many television speakers. If the projector is mounted on the ceiling, a few feet behind you, the audio quality will be even worse. Some UST (ultra-short throw) projectors perform better in this aspect because they are positioned directly in front of the screen. However, most projectors are not designed to provide an immersive audio experience.
It’s important to consider this when deciding on your purchase. You might need to spend extra money on a good sound system to improve the audio quality without taking up too much space. Alternatively, if you want a complete theatre-like experience, you should invest in a proper Dolby Atmos 7.1 setup instead.
A Good Projector Setup Will Cost You
Finding an affordable projector with 1080p or 2K resolution that performs well is not difficult. However, if you want to enjoy the full 4K HDR experience, you need to be prepared to spend a lot of money. For instance, the Epson Home Cinema LS11000 projector is quite expensive, costing two to three times as much as a high-end TV. Additionally, it’s worth noting that your expensive projector won’t give you the best results without a good screen. If you can’t afford a pricey screen with ambient light rejection properties, purchasing a new set of blackout blinds would be a good alternative since controlling the room’s light is critical for obtaining the best picture quality.
Besides these, you may have to pay for wiring and installation costs as well. This isn’t an issue for UST projectors, but if you’re mounting your projector on the ceiling and don’t want a bunch of tangled cables in the middle of the room, you should consider hiring an AV installation professional. Finally, there is also the issue of sound quality that you need to keep in mind.
When everything is accounted for, you may end up spending a significant amount more on your setup than you would have if you had chosen an OLED television such as the LG C2, a QD-OLED model like the Samsung S95B, or a high-end QLED TV like the Samsung QN90B. The OLED televisions, in particular, offer the best contrast ratios out of the three, and a QLED TV is still unbeatable when it comes to providing a bright image in a well-lit room and fast input response times.
These televisions work well with the latest gaming consoles, have 120Hz panels, and come with all the applications you might need. Additionally, although nothing lasts forever, at the very least, you won’t have to replace the bulb after just a few hundred hours.
Should You Buy a Projector Instead of a TV?
Although some of the information presented may appear to be discouraging, our intention is not to discourage you from owning a projector. Choosing to purchase a projector is not as straightforward as choosing to buy a TV. There are many other factors that you need to take into account, such as the type of screen, the lighting in the room, the quality of sound, the suitability of the projector for gaming, and the installation process.
The experience of owning a projector is more about the joy of watching movies or playing games on a huge screen within the comfort of your home. It is not necessary to replace your TV with a projector entirely, as you may have specific plans for how you want to use it. For example, you might use it in a games room, convert your basement into a home theater, or create an outdoor entertainment area.
In short, whether a TV or a projector is better for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. A TV may be more practical for everyday use due to its convenience and simplicity, while a projector can provide a more immersive and cinematic experience for movie or gaming enthusiasts. However, it’s important to consider factors such as room size, lighting, and sound quality when making your decision. Ultimately, the choice between a TV and a projector comes down to personal preference, budget, and the specific intended use.