Whether you’re building a new home theater or trying to set up a fantastic entertainment room, you’ll want to know whether you need a projector or a TV.
There are many reasons to choose a TV, but there are also many ways in which a projector can come in handy. We’re going to show you how to get
Here, we will go over several factors, including size, resolution, brightness, contrast, color, sound quality, setup and installation, convenience, maintenance, lifespan, and cost. According to these different factors and how TVs and projectors differ, you will know which option is the best one for you.
TV Or Projector: Which One To Pick For You?
If you want to compare to the right product projector vs TV for your new entertainment room or home theater, reading this guide will put you on the right path.
The size is not the most crucial part to consider, but it can make a huge difference depending on the place you’re installing the TV or projector. In a bedroom, you’ll want something large but not that much. But for living rooms, going for the largest option can be your best choice.
Projection systems can deliver up to 120 inches of image size without much trouble. Even the most affordable projector available out there can be massive with the right brightness and light. It doesn’t need the ultimate resolution or color performance to provide excellent size without problems.
As for TVs, you will need to spend a little more if you want to get a 120-inch screen. In fact, most TVs don’t go over 85 inches, and that could be a considerable investment when compared to projectors.
Of course, at this size, the image quality will be twice as good as any projector. But the investment is way higher, which makes it a bad choice.
You can find TVs way better in image quality when it comes to size performance. But they are way more expensive if you want the larger screen possible. If you can afford an expensive 85 inches or larger TV, then go for it. But we recommend sticking to projectors if you want a decent size without spending too much.
Size is not everything, though. As I said before, you will also need the right resolution to know which one works better. The resolution will tell the difference between a low-quality image and a high-quality one. Here’s how they differ:
A projector can go to 4K in resolution without problems. But at this quality, they tend to be hugely expensive. You can still get cheap projectors with 720p or 1080p resolution at an affordable range. But most of them don’t go over the 55-inch mark, which can be a little limiting in size for the right resolution.
Usually, the best resolutions tend to be double as expensive as TVs. But on the cheaper side, you will find better costs. They just don’t have the quality you’d expect.
4K HDR TV is expensive. It will probably feel like spending too much on a TV. But they surpass projector quality in every way. Apart from that, a 4K TV tends to be much cheaper than a 4K projector. When it comes to high-end TVs, you will find them less expensive.
However, the lower end TVs tend to be more expensive. So, if you want a cheap 55-inch TV, for example, you may find it a little more costly than expected. The quality is still worth it.
We could say that when it comes to high-end resolutions, TVs win by a landslide over projectors. There’s almost no competition when it comes to quality and overall cost.
But if we go to the lower end of resolutions, you will find that projectors are way more affordable than TVs.
If you aren’t looking for much resolution or size, then you’ll find projectors better than TVs. But if you want quality above anything else, then an excellent 4K TV will be your best bet.
Brightness is essential for both TVs and projectors. But of course, it is projectors that rely more heavily on it due to how they produce the image (projecting light on a screen or wall).
Still, it is the quality of the image that matters. If you can get nice brightness on whatever you’re watching, then that’s the product to go for.
A projector will always need more brightness to deliver decent quality. That’s why it is always recommended to bring down natural and artificial lights in a room before starting a projector.
This can be a problem, though. Due to the need for having high brightness and not working well in places with lots of light, you will need the maximum amount of lumens possible. Lumen is a measurement of brightness. We discuss it in further detail in our article about how many lumens do you need to project in daylight.
So, using a low-brightness projector in a low-light room is not a problem. But using one in a place that has lots of light will probably make the image too difficult to catch.
If you want a high-brightness projector that works well in low-light and high-light places, then you’ll need to spend a lot of money. This means getting something with at least 4,000 lumens, and they are not short on the price tag.
A TV doesn’t rely as heavily as a projector on brightness. Yes, they need it to work well too, especially in places with lots of light – but they don’t need that much.
Here, you will find that TV brightness is measured in nits and not in lumens. This happens because their image comes from bulbs/pixels and not light projections.
So, a TV demands little brightness to work well in any situation. Of course, the more brightness, the better – but it is not necessary to go for the best brightness to get decent performance on any room.
Here, you will find that TVs are the best option for the price and quality. You won’t need nearly as much brightness as with a projector to enjoy decent image quality.
In contrast, projectors rely heavily on low-light rooms, or in tons of projection brightness to work well. This also has a significant impact on preparation and can take a toll on your wallet due to the price of lots of lumens.
A decent LED TV at a low price will quickly look better on high-light rooms than most projectors. So, yes, TVs are better when it comes to brightness performance.
The contrast ratio is a combination of black & brightness. It tells how well the projector or TV can play the blackness against the brightness on the screen.
But it is not that easy. They have different ways to display image, so calculating which one has better contrast is not so easy.
Projectors rely heavily on brightness, so how do you calculate their contrast? Well, that’s not too hard, but it isn’t easy either.
Most projectors nowadays will offer between 5,000 and 25,000 against 1 in contrast. This means they produce up to 25,000 points of brightness against 1 of black.
That looks like a lot, and it is. But you need to consider that contrast in projectors works weirdly. Remember that they rely on brightness, but not only from the projection itself but also from around. So, the more brightness there’s around, the less contrast you will experience.
Especially if you are using a projection in places with lots of light, then you’re likely to get a washed-out image, where blackness and brightness are difficult to tell apart.
But projectors can still have tons of contrast. They will just need a lot more brightness to correctly display a black/white image.
Otherwise, it may not offer that much unless you are playing a projection in a low-light place.
In contrast with projectors, TVs don’t rely on brightness that much to provide excellent contrast.
Most LED TVs offer between 2,000 and 10,000 whites against 1 black. This is not so much of a ratio to consider, but it is enough to work well in most places. Even in bright-light rooms, you can get decent contrast on your TV.
Of course, lots of light can still hinder the performance of the contrast on the TV, but not that much.
If you want the highest amount of contrast, you can go for an OLED TV. You can get up to 1,000,000 whites against 1 black of contrast ratio. You may think that this won’t deliver that much contrast, but it does.
As the white color are way brighter than the blacks, it is easy to tell them apart when a black shows. And most OLED TVs do this not by changing the color of its bulbs, but by turning the internal bulbs off so you can experience the contrast between whites and blacks more effectively.
You could say that a projector relies too heavily on the brightness level and overall light environment around. Instead, a TV just needs proper brightness level to control how the contrast works.
In short, a TV performs better when it comes to contrast in images than projectors. This doesn’t mean that projectors are bad, they just rely too heavily on brightness and light, which is a considerable disadvantage.
After learning about contrast, you will want to know how color works in each electronic. Here, you will find that color makes a significant difference in how brightness and contrast are perceived too.
A projector works directly with light. It has nothing to go pass through to deliver proper colors. Not pixels or bulbs to light up – it just displays a projection in a wall, and that’s it.
This projection can have tons of color and fantastic clarity without problems. Of course, the brightness level and light around will have a massive say in how the color is perceived, but in typical situations a projector offers excellent results.
And the best of all is that projectors don’t demand much to provide decent color. This brings the complexity of color in a projector down, with the price also following.
When it comes to TVs, you’ll see that the color tends to be a little brighter – but that demands a lot more work and processing.
The color needs to go through filters, bulbs, pixels, and other processes that demand a TV to do double the work and consume double the electricity.
The colors will be outstanding, though, and they won’t wash out with little brightness or reflective light around.
But due to the higher processing and needs, a TV needs to be more expensive to offer decent color. At the higher end of the spectrum with 4K HDR TVs, however, most TVs will surpass the color quality of any projector.
A projector is way more affordable and demands less work to provide decent color. You won’t have to spend too much to get the highest quality image in your living room. But you will need proper darkness in the place and a lot of brightness from the projector.
For TVs, color processing tends to be more exhausting and energy-demanding. This increases the overall demands and price of the electronic. But it won’t be caught up by surrounding lights. And if you go for a high-end TV, you will get way better color than with any projector.
So, you could say that projectors are better if you’re on a low budget. But if you want the highest-quality color delivery, then go for a high-end TV.
The sound is one of the easiest things to compare between projectors and TVs. Here’s why:
A projector doesn’t have any way to produce sound by itself. So, you will rely heavily on external sound systems, especially speakers, woofers, soundbars, and others. You can use different types of adapters or connectors to plug external speakers Into a projector.
But it is important to note that some projectors have the chance to connect with entire home-theater audio systems, while others will not have this.
Most projectors will only connect to two speakers, and that’s it. Especially in the low-end of projectors, this is pretty common.
All TVs come with their own set of built-in speakers. These can be decent or really bad – but they are still there.
On top of that, you can connect TVs to sound systems if needed. Whether it is speakers, woofers, soundbars, or entire home-theaters – most TVs come with that compatibility.
But if you don’t want to spend any money or time on additional sound, then a TV will help you out.
Here, TVs are on a massive advantage over projectors because they come with their own built-in speakers while almost all projectors do not.
To make it even worse for projectors, some of the cheapest ones do not have the chance to connect entire audio systems but only a few speakers, and that’s it.
Most TVs, on the other hand, come with entire sound system connections so you can hook them up if needed.
So, TVs are better when it comes to sound.
Once you have the TV or projector at home, you will want to get it in the desired place and start playing your favorite media. But to get it up there, you will have to spend some minutes or hours installing it. Here’s how projectors and TVs differ when it comes to doing this:
Once you start unpacking the projector and planning where you want to install it – you’ll know it is not something easy to do.
First, you’ll need to install the projector in a place with enough space for the image to travel through.
Secondly, you will have to make sure that this place is dark enough (or at least can be made so), so you can enjoy the best image possible.
And thirdly, there are many cables, wires, and other devices to hook up with if you want the projector to start emitting an image.
On top of all that, you will need to decide whether you want the projector to work from a chair, a desk, any other piece of furniture, from a wall, or even from the ceiling.
And let’s not forget that pairing a projector with some devices via HDMI is not an easy job unless the projector has an HDMI port (which is not too common). Otherwise, you will need an adapter that can cost some money.
Overall, setting up a projector can take anywhere from 30 minutes up to 12 hours depending on what you’re looking for.
Installing a TV is not hard. They are fragile and require some space in walls or desks to work, but the whole process tends to be straightforward.
With a home-theater desk where you can place a BluRay player, a TV, a streaming device, and any videogame console, you won’t need to do any installation and will bring everything together. You can even install the speakers along if required.
For wall mounts, the process tends to be a little harder. But similarly to projectors, it requires only a few holes in the wall and the mount arms installation, and that’s it.
You won’t need to look for an ample space for the projection to travel through, and you won’t have to worry about brightness or light around either.
The cables and wires are often easy to hook up too. And most TVs nowadays come with all the ports you need for any device or console you may want to install.
In short, TVs require little to no installation efforts. You will still need a large enough space to install them, which is a little inconvenient. But they are a piece of cake.
Projectors, on the other hand, don’t require much space but can take a lot of time setting up. From making sure the projection looks well to looking for adapters, cables, and other critical components – projectors can take a lot of time.
When it comes to how easy a projector or TV is when using, then you’ll find that they have some differences to think about:
Once you have a projector installed on your desired room, you will need to turn it on and enjoy.
Here, you’ll find that hooking up multiple laptops, USB, speakers, and other devices is not as easy as it seems.
Playing the media from the projector is not too easy, either. You will need a device that plays the media so the projector can receive it. Otherwise, you may need a projector with its own media center that can play the media you want to enjoy.
Configuring the whole image of a projector also takes some time and effort. Some models come with their own remote controls, but others only come with on-device buttons and turning knobs for contrast, brightness, zoom, and so on.
In short, a projector is not the most convenient product to play videogames, movies, or any other kind of media.
As for TVs, you won’t have to do much more than just connecting your preferable devices and play whatever you want directly.
Even hooking up TVs to laptops, smartphones, USB drives, and Bluetooth devices is a piece of cake nowadays. When it comes to audio systems, you won’t have much of a problem either.
If it comes to configuring the image or setting up anything related to the TV, then you can use the remote control directly. Some TVs even come with smartphone applications that you can use through Bluetooth to configure your TV directly.
And of course, you can play practically anything you want. Most TVs play audio, video, photos, and much more without problems. You won’t need another device apart to make it work.
When it comes to practicality, TVs win by a wide margin. They are simply much better overall, making it easy to use and operate whenever you need to.
Projectors, on the other hand, can take more time and effort to get the most from.
Doing upkeep is something necessary to both projectors and TVs. But of course, being widely different devices, they have different ways to do maintenance on.
Before you get a projector, you need to understand that they produce projections using a bulb inside. This bulb sends the light across lenses that eventually magnify the light that goes out of the lamp to create an image.
But both the bulb and the lenses can wear off over time. Some bulbs tend to burn out with time and use. And lenses can get dirty or crack.
Replacing the bulb is not a difficult job, though. It can last several years without problems still. As for lenses, you will need to clean them up consistently to keep them working. If a lens cracks, you may need to replace the whole projector.
We could say that TVs are totally maintenance-free. They demand little to no cleaning unless they receive tons of dust or dirt. And you won’t have to think about bulbs, lenses, or any other part of the TV if you take good care of it.
But of course, wiping the screen at least once every 6 months is an excellent way to make the image clear and prevent buildup.
Overall, TVs are easier to maintain. They require little to no upkeep and will last a lifetime with no tweaking or maintenance.
But for projectors, you will have to consider their bulbs and their lenses. You won’t have to do much upkeep apart from cleaning the lenses at least once a month – but that’s still a lot more than TVs.
The lifespan of the devices will let you know how much durability you can expect. Here, again, you will see that they are somewhat different:
A projector can last a lifetime – as long as the bulb doesn’t burn out or the lenses don’t crack.
Projector’s bulbs tend to last between 2,000 life hours which is about 1,000 two-hour movies. That could look like a little, but it’s actually tons of time.
As for lenses, they rarely break or crack. But they can still do with impacts or falls.
The lifespan of a TV is not limited by bulb life or any other similar measurement. You can get decades of life out of a TV without problems.
Unless there’s a hardware issue caused by short circuits, lack of power, or inefficient electric current, then you are likely to get several years of use from a TV.
There’s nothing more durable than a well-maintained TV. It doesn’t mean that a projector can’t last a long as a TV – but they have a few factors to consider.
You could buy a used TV and not be worried. But buying a used projector is a little trickier, as you’ll have to consider bulb life.
They are both long-lasting, though. But a TV is a little better.
By now, you should be aware of how projectors and TV differ in terms of price and quality. But let’s still explain a little further.
A cheap projector is way less expensive than a cheap TV. But you will still need to consider a few additional factors.
Projectors demand cables, wires, adapters, and screens. You can easily spend half the price of a projector with all the components and parts to set it up.
While the initial cost tends to be lower than a TV, you will need to consider additional hurdles and other parts that a projector demands to work correctly.
As for TVs, it is obvious that they are more expensive in both the lower and higher end of the price range. But they are way simpler to install and require fewer components.
You may need a wall mount or a desk to make your TV stand at the right height in your living room. But that often doesn’t cost too much – and sometimes you may already have them. On top of that, furniture can commonly be used for other things, which is a huge advantage.
They are still more expensive at first than most projectors, so that can make them less of an option for you.
Projectors are less expensive at first but can cost a lot of money when installing and setting them up.
TVs can be way more expensive initially, but installation takes little to no work or money. So they end up being a little better.
Overall, we recommend projectors if you want to save some bucks – but only if you won’t need to make special installations and have all the required components.
Otherwise, you will find TVs way better. With the initial investment, you’ll be ready to enjoy your favorite media without any added costs.
If we come to the point of adding up all the points one device has over the other, the clear winner is the TV.
But you need to consider that projectors are not bad choices either. When it comes to enjoying 3D movies and large screen sizes, you will find the perfect option in a projector. And of course, they are often cheaper than a TV even at the high-end range.
For those who don’t want to over-complicate things and receive decent quality for their bucks, then a TV is the way to go.
As I’ve demonstrated to put all the things on TV vs projector in describe, I hope that this take measures a luminous-clear concept to you. Choose the one that matches your needs, and you won’t regret it. They are both fantastic in the end.