It’s a tough choice, so here’s what you need to know before deciding!
TVs are the ever-classic living room (and sometimes bedroom) feature, but these days, more and more homeowners are choosing to get a projector instead. Compact, yet still able to project huge screen sizes, their popularity spiked during the pandemic, and has shown no sign of slowing even now.
So, since you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering: are projectors really all they’re cracked up to be? Or is a TV still the better option? In this article, we’ve done a comparison based on specific considerations to find out.
One of the most important considerations for homeowners is, of course, price. But in the case of TVs and projectors, this alone shouldn’t be your deciding factor, as they both are priced similarly.
For instance, you can get a Samsung Freestyle projector for $1,499, while a Samsung 55-inch QLED smart TV costs about $1,999 – which are pretty similar, but doesn’t necessarily tell you about the quality or features you’ll get.
So, what you should look at instead are factors like screen size and image clarity, which we’ll explore next.
Verdict: Price shouldn’t be your deciding factor. Instead, think about the qualities and features you can get with your set budget.
There’s a reason why cinemas use projectors instead of a gigantic TV screen. Depending on their individual throw distance, projectors are able to project over 100-inch images from a short distance away. Plus, projectors also give you the flexibility of adjusting the screen size, simply by moving it closer or further away from the screen.
These days, 4K resolution is where it’s at. It’s a feature that many TV models already have, but not for projectors, with most of them hovering at a native resolution of 1080p.
And even then, some of the 4K projectors don’t actually display true 4K resolutions. Instead, they use a method called pixel-shifting, which essentially tricks your eyes into viewing 4K content on a 1080p screen.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any native 4K projectors, because they are! You’ll just need to do your research carefully, and be prepared to fork out a little more.
b) Image distortion by ambient lighting
Another thing that’ll affect the image quality is ambient lighting. Even if you have a projector with high lumens (e.g. over 2,000 lumens), you’ll most likely need to keep the environment as dark as you can make it to help it deliver crystal-clear images.
This isn’t something that’ll affect TVs as much, though. Sure, it can get a little dim on a particularly sunny day, but that can easily be rectified by drawing the curtain.
c) Projection surface
It’ll definitely help if you have a screen to project on, but if you’re projecting on a wall, you’ll have to take extra care to ensure that the surface is as blemish-free as possible, lest it ruins your viewing experience.
Conversely, since a TV doesn’t rely on an external surface, this won’t be an issue.
You’d be hard pressed to not find a smart TV these days. Even the most affordable models now come with a ton of built-in apps, which let you access everything from YouTube to Spotify with just a press of a button.
While more and more projectors are popping up with new integrated features, not all of them are readily equipped with them. That may change in the future, however, so keep an eye out for them!
For TVs, space considerations are pretty straightforward – simply measure the available space you have, and find a model that fits. And besides, many homeowners choose to mount it on the wall, so it doesn’t really require physical distance to work.
Projectors, however, are a tad trickier. By itself, a projector takes up very little space. It’s the throw distance you have to pay attention to, as some projectors – especially the cheaper ones – tend to require longer distances to throw up a bigger image.
If you’re dealing with a smaller space (e.g. a bedroom or a studio apartment), look for short-throw projectors that can conjure up big images without needing too much distance. For bigger, more open spaces (like your living room or home theater), projectors with larger throw distances are more suitable.
Verdict: It depends. Choose a TV if you prefer something more straightforward. For projectors, be sure that the throw distance is appropriate for the room you’re using it in.
Maintaining a TV tends to be more fuss-free than a projector. Other than wiping the screen every once in a while, you don’t have to do much to keep it in top condition. That’s ultimately due to the LEDs powering them – they tend to last so long that you’re more likely to get a whole new TV before you need to replace them.
However, projectors require a little more care. Depending on usage frequency, the lamps used can burn out within a year. Plus, without proper maintenance, there’s a chance that dust will clog up the interior, causing performance issues and potential overheating!
So, TVs vs projectors: which should you choose?
Based on this breakdown, TVs are the way to go. And with good reason – from their image quality to maintenance requirements, they don’t require much effort on your part to give you a solid viewing experience.
That being said, don’t let this stop you from getting a projector. Despite the drawbacks, they’re still able to give you a full cinematic experience that a regular TV just can’t do. Just make sure to give it regular TLC and calibrate its settings every so often!