Projector Vs TV: Which Is Better For A Home Theater Display?


Projector Vs TV: Choose What For A Home Theater Display?

This is one of the most important parts of Home theater components.

Of Course, you need top-of-the-notch visuals of any movie or TV show to Get the most out of it.


That’s why Specialized displays for home theater give you the stunning visuals that your eyes crave.

But at this point, you may be thinking, ok What to choose between the projector and TV.

As a general rule of thumb, if you love high contrast ratio and low maintenance then go for a TV but if you love the bigger screen size, lower cost per inch and fine portability then go for a projector.

Home theater shifts the entertainment experience from a typical screen to a more robust and larger screen. 

Keep reading. We will discuss these two types of display in detail with all the qualities and terminologies. So you should be clear about what to choose for your taste. Don’t forget to read the poll results that I have conducted in a Facebook group.

Comparing TV Vs Projector

FeaturesProjector RatingsTV Ratings
Brightness7.5/1010/10
Cost per Inch10/106/10
Resolution5/1010/10
Contrast Ratio8/1010/10
Sound Quality3/1010/10
Maintenance5/1010/10
Convenience4/1010/10
Portability10/101/10
Read the following section completely to know these ratings in detail

Brightness

In brightness, the clear winner is the TV. Because TV screens emit light by themselves and the projector light reflects from the screen to the eyes.

That’s why when there is little light present in the room, the projector’s image colors are washed out. But the TV’s image can be seen flawlessly in ambient light rooms too.

The presence of light has very little effect on the TV image colors.

Cost Per Inch

You can get a bigger image on a projector at less cost. Almost every projector under $100 can give you a nice picture at 120 inches, and it can be extended to 150 inches as well, but the colors will be a little washed out.

But buying a TV of 80 Inches will cost you at least $4000. That’s why in this feature the projector is the winner because it costs less per inch than the TV.

Resolution

In the resolution feature, the TV is a winner because 8K TVs are coming to the market, and we are still stuck in the native and not native 4K resolution in the projector.

Also, many brands claim that their projector is 4K but upon investigation, I figured out that their projector is only providing pixel shifting from 1080p to 4K. This type of projector is not native 4K.

That’s why finding true 4K in projectors is still a hustle to do, while in TV nowadays you can get 8K too.

Contrast Ratio

The contrast ratio is the difference between the bright and black areas of the image. The deeper the black, the better the picture quality.

TV is the winner here because you can have a better contrast ratio. With ambient light in the present still, the image colors don’t wash out.

But with less light presence, the projector colors will wash out because the blacks are not deeper than much to hold the color.

That’s why the TV is the winner here.

Sound Quality

The speaker quality both in the TV and projectors is not good. I always recommend a separate speaker system. (Read my review guide about the best speakers hereOpens in a new tab.. I have reviewed the top 7.)

But when comparing only two of them. Then the sound quality in TV is superior to the projector.

The TV sound can be heard easily, while you can miss little audio in the fan noise of the projector.

Here the TV is the winner.

Maintenance

The projector comes with a maintenance hustle. You need to keep the projector filter clean always and change the bulb after the lamp life is finished.

But with a TV, you don’t need maintenance. You just have to install it, and you are good to go with it.

In the maintenance feature, the TV is the clear winner.

Convenience

The projector is not very convenient. You need to mount it and then adjust the picture on the screen.

Also, you need a longer HDMI cable and little more wire management than the TV.

With TV, you just have to place it on a table and shorter HDMI is required, and you don’t have to worry about wire management. Because you can tuck the wires in the same cabinet on which the TV is placed.

Here the TV is a winner in the convenience feature.

Portability

The projector is very portable. You can easily carry it from one room to another or outdoors.

Nebula has created a projector that can be brought to the camping tour too because it is very small.

I have reviewed that projector in this review guideOpens in a new tab.. I have reviewed the top 7 under $500.

Final Verdict (What to choose?)

  1. If you’re that kind of person that enjoys gaming and watching movies Then go with a good quality TV, but if you love family gatherings and watching movies with your family then the projector is better for you.
  2. Also, if you are a fan of the smart software interface that will let you open streaming services easily, then TV is good because a lot of smart TVs provide this feature without Roku or fire stick. But if you still want to go with a projector, then you can buy a Roku for your projector.

What Will You Choose For Home Theater Display? Projector Or TV? (FB Poll)

OptionsStats
Projector83%
TV17%
There were 283 participants in this poll.

FAQs

Are 4K projectors better than TVs?

Fewer projectors have modern technologies in them and due to those technologies, the 4K projectors are better than the TVs.

Like, Sony has a smart chip that creates a better 4K image. But that cost a lot more than TV.

Are projectors better than TVs for your eyes?

The TV emits light directly at you and the projector image is just a reflection from the wall and the TV is brighter than the projector. That’s why the projector is more good for the eyes.

If you are conscious about your eye health, then the projector is the better option for you.

Are projectors more reliable than TVs?

They are more reliable when mounted to the ceiling because pets and kids can’t reach them. While pets and in some cases kids can reach the TV screen. They can damage it.

There is a funny clip on the internet in which a little baseball fan buries a half-baseball bat on a flat TV screen.

**The conclusion ends here. The following part of this article is archived. But you can read it to know more about the different technologies of displays both in the TVs and projectors.**

Options available for Home Theater Displays

TVs

Tv for home theater display

There are many types of TV available for a home theatre like LCD, LED, QLED, OLED, and plasma TVs. And there are new technologies emerging day by day,  like AI and smart TVs, and 4k-8k picture quality.

We will discuss this jargon in detail with pros and cons in the upcoming comparison part. Just understand it here and Stay glued to the article for a later explanation. 

This kind of display can range from 44-49 inches, 55-59 inches, or even 75-216 inches.

Yes, you read it right.  Samsung has developed a new TV with new Micro-LED Technology that is whooping 292 inches by the name of the wall.

As the name suggests, that literally covers the whole wall.

But we won’t discuss those sizes of screens that are very expensive. We will look into each size of the display in the buying guide of this article.

Know which is the sweet spot to sit in your theater room for the best viewing experience. Know the viewing distance for a variety of display sizesOpens in a new tab.. I have put so much hard work into this guide.

Projector

Projector for home theater display

Projector mainly comes in three types LCD, DLP, and LCoS. And yes 4K picture resolution quality is available here. Here the actual size is limitless but the larger the screen the poorer the quality will become. But don’t get scared here and wait for the pros.

You can read my these guides about the best Short throw projectorsOpens in a new tab. and Ultra short throw projectorsOpens in a new tab.. You will know much more about projectors’ qualities, characteristics, and types and to choose which one.

Comparing All Options Of The Display

LCDs and LEDs TV

LCD stands for liquid crystal display and LED stands for light-emitting diodes. Light-emitting diodes fire up the LCD screen.

They are equipped with a special technology named local dimmer. In local dimming,  the diode brightens one side of the screen and darker the other side of the screen. In this way, they present a perfect difference among the colors.

Pros

  1. Their overall composition is very thin.  This property makes it best for those who love Wall mounting theater experience.
  2. No need to switch off the lights of the room to watch a  movie on this type of screen.  You will witness no difference in the picture quality in a brighter room.
  3. They are not only thin in composition but they are also thin on your electric bill. They consume less electric energy.
  4.  They come in a variety of resolutions like 4K, 8k, and UHD.

Cons

  1.  The most head-scratching con is that LCDs are more expensive.
  2. Fixed eyesight angle for this device is fixed for better picture quality. if you tend to watch it from another angle, you will experience poorer picture quality
  3. The black portion of the screen never looks good, but Samsung and other companies are claiming that they have overcome this problem through QLED Technology.

Plasma TV

Small cells of neon and Xenon gases light up in this type of display. In this technology, Phosphorus forms an image on the screen. By this process, it gives the most vibrant picture quality.

Pros

  1. They are much better than the most of other Technology screens.
  2.  Their colors and brightness evenly distributed across the entire surface of the screen
  3. You don’t have one eyesight angle problem here like in LCD or LED.  it will give good quality from much more angles.

Cons

  1. Most of the plasma TVs are limited to only 1080p and 720p. Some of them provide UHD as well.
  2. They won’t last long because their lifespan is really short. 
  3. They are more expensive than LCD and LED.  You can buy a 1080p quality LCD at the price of 720p Plasma TV.

OLED TV

OLED stands for Organic light-emitting diode but to better understand the whole process we can call it Electroluminescent diode.

The OLED display pixels are made up of organic compounds that light off when being hit by electricity. Due to this technology, they offer a better picture quality than LCD. but you should know;  the better the quality the higher the price is in this world. it is usually a little pricey than LCD.

Pros

  1. OLED provides sharp image quality
  2. Its refresh rate is blazingly fast
  3. Image quality is better than LCD and provides a better viewing angle like 180 degrees. It means that you can watch it from the corners of the room without seeing a drop in image quality
  4. They are good for our ecosystem.

Cons

  1. As I told you before due to their electroluminescent technology. They are pricey
  2. They offer half of the lifespan than that of LCD and LED

Projector

There is not that much to go into detail about LCD and DLP types of projectors. 

DLP projectors can be used for playing video games and watching movies.  These types of projectors are not suitable for home theaters. Some viewers will ex[perience rainbow effects on the screen thrown by DLP projectors but if you want to erase this rainbow effect. Then you must go for the faster color wheel of the DLP projector which will be more expensive.

When you get a faster color wheel DLP then it will be suitable for home theaters too.

LCD projectors are used in corporate offices and in universities for presentations and lectures. LCD projectors are suitable for home theater.

 And yes whether a projector is LCD or DLP they require a separate screen to project the image on. Projector screens are mainly made up of fiberglass and are not that much expensive like LCD TVs.  

But if you want to go even more economical, You can paint the wall white and project the image on it.  This method is not recommended if you want a good movie experience.

Pros

  1. As I told you before, the best thing about a projector is that you can project its image on any white wall. Villagers in Africa project it on a white cow. LOL
  2. But if you want to use the screen then its screen is very storage-friendly. First, it is thin, and second, it can be folded to save space. The screen is portable if you want to store it or move it with yourself to another room or lawn.
  3. Not only it’s the screen but all the components related to the projector and  projector itself is portable
  4. The screen image size can be very large. As you only have to move the projector away from the screen and the image will grow larger no need of buying another larger screen TV you liked.
  5. Guests and your whole family will enjoy the gaming and movie experience. 

Cons

  1. The image quality will decrease if you want to make the image size larger than recommended.
  2. The projector’s lamp has specific hours of lamplight. After that, you have to buy a new one.  so It is expensive.
  3. The darkroom is a must for a good movie experience 
  4. It will put all other TVs in your house to shame.  this mean,  you will no longer enjoy watching a movie on all of them

If you are planning on second-row seating in the room, then follow my this guide to build a seating platform for the best viewing angleOpens in a new tab.. Don’t forget to check my easy formula for that.

Which one is good for you?

Well, that is your personal decision to choose between all the types of TVs and between the TV and projector. I have discussed those for you with pros and cons.

Learn more from this video

TV Buying Guide In A Nutshell

  1. The resolution must be in 4K, don’t settle for less than that. Don’t get trapped by the terminologies like High Definition and 1080 pixel.
  2. Big companies advertising the new form of resolution like 8k. There is one why you should go and one why you should not with 8k. (Why should you not?) Because there are no movies and TV shows that are available in 8k by now. (why should you?) 8k Technology makes the pixels thinner. This means that the image will not be looking of low quality on larger screen sizes. The TV screen size is more than 75 inch is will look good with 8k.  If you want a screen size less than 75 inches then avoid it otherwise if you want more than 75 inches then go with it.
  3. For a 4k TV of 55 inches, your good budget should be 500 Dollars and for 65 inches your budget should be $900. But remember many good features come to the market day by day and those features will definitely cost more. like picture quality, a new model with new technology like micro-led and with a good sound system like Dolby.
  4. Consider a 60 to 120 Hz refresh rate.  60 Hz is just fine but if you want a better video quality for those types of videos that change their frames very fast then better go with 120 Hz. Fast frame changing video like sports,  video gaming, and movies like Fast and Furious in which there is a lot of car racing and Swift action. In these types of videos, the frames change so fast.
  5.  To watch the more realistic side of daily life with true colors you must go for HDR.
  6. LCD is widely used but OLED is better than them. 
  7. For more stunning pixels on the screen, you must spend a little extra $30 for the HDMI port and also see for latest HDMI versions
  8. HD TVs are going thinner and thinner day by day and this is why their speakers are going thinner and worse day by day.  That’s why you must consider a high-quality soundbar.
  9. Check first if your credit card company is providing purchase protection then you can turn down the standard warranty with the tv. 
Home Theater TV Buying Guide checklist
Download This Checklist in Print ready High Quality PDF from Google Drive

Projector Buying Guide In a Nutshell

  1. The higher the lumens the better the projector. It will be brighter and you can make the image larger without losing the quality.  Go at least for 30000 to 30100. There is no Universal measurement for lumens but it still helps. It can’t be ignored. 
  2. The higher the lifespan in hours of the lamp the better it is. Because it will last longer and you will not have to buy a new one. The new lamp can come for at least $152- $350. 
  3. First, go for LCoS after then for LCD and avoid DLP. DLP provides average image quality. It is not recommended for home theater.
  4. Go for a higher contrast ratio.  The higher the contrast ratio the sharper the image. 1000:1 ratio Is good but if you find more than that then it is even better.
  5. 4K is better but if you are tight with your budget then full HD will work too.
  6. The noise level of a projector higher than 30 dp is not suitable for a nice home theater experience.
  7. Pick that one projector which is having keystone correction, lens shift, and optical zoom. For home theatre, 2x zoom will be good
  8. Check lamp Replacement Cost as well for your future budget planning.
  9. Consider optical HDMI cables for better image quality 
  10. Read my this review to get the best budget projector under $500Opens in a new tab.
Home Theater Projector Buying Guide Checklist
Download This Checklist in Print ready High Quality PDF from Google Drive

FAQs

Can you watch TV on a home theater projector?

Yes, you can definitely use a projector as a TV. 

If you have a cable box then connect the cable box to the receiver and then the receiver to the projector and you will be able to stream cable TV.

If you have Amazon Fire TV Stick or any other streaming device then you can connect it to the receiver and can stream channels directly from Youtube. 

Fire Stick also provides a web browsing feature. You can go to the respective TV channel site and can stream it live from there. Read my this guide to know how to connect the amazon fire stick to a home theater system.Opens in a new tab.

Many Projectors have a TV tuner. You can connect an antenna to it and start streaming TV on your projector. You can read about my guide about Ultra Short Throw home theater projectorsOpens in a new tab. the top one supports direct cable in.


How do you hook up a projector to a receiver?

It is very easy

  1. Plug the HDMI plug into the HDMI ARC of the projector. 
  2. Connect the other end to the HDMI ARC of the AV receiver
  3. Connect all the speakers to the receiver
  4. You have successfully connected the projector
  5. Now, the receiver will push the video to the projector and the audio to the speakers

If you want to hook the projector just for audio, then read this guide on ChronOpens in a new tab.


How do I connect my home theater to my Smart TV?

The same process as for projector

  1. Connect the speakers to the receiver
  2. Connect an HDMI cable to the ARC of the TV
  3. Connect another end to the ARC of the receiver
  4. Now, speakers will be used for audio and TV for display

You can read this guide by Sony for RCA and OpticalOpens in a new tab. connections. These RCA and Optical are audio-only connections.


Can I use TV as my home theater Display?

I can understand this question. When I first wanted to have a home theater for myself. I rushed to the internet and searched about every projector out there and was not searching about TVs.

Why? Because our minds are programmed that is why in theater there must be a projector that will project image form behind.

Well, this is not always the case.

Nowadays, we have more robust TVs with awesome technologies like HDR, 4k, QLED, 3D, and smart TVs with display sizes ranging from 45 to 150 inches.

Of course, no one can ignore smart TVs and android TVs. These TVs can further pour gasoline on the fire of the entertainment.


How does a home theater work?

A simple home theater consists of three components display that can be a projector or TV, AV receiver, and surround sound system.

How does it work?

The audio signals come from the TV and the AV receiver processes it and pushes it to the surround sound. When you connect a third media source to the theater room for example Blu-ray player.

The receiver gets video and audio signals from the Blu-ray player. The video then goes to the TV and the audio goes to the surround sound system for the output.

An AV receiver in the theater system works like a brain of the entire system or as a cute caring granny.

This was my opinion read more here about it on HowStuffWorksOpens in a new tab.


Is a home theater worth it?

Yes absolutely worth it. Here are the two reasons which I like the most about it.

  • If you want to enjoy TV shows and movies as the same as professional theaters in the comfort of your home.
  • If you want to enjoy quality time with your family by watching movies or playing games on the larger screen of the home theater system.

Ayaan Khan

Hi, it's Ayaan khan a freelancer and a computer science degree holder from P.E.S. College. I write articles on Homelytainment.com. The facts and research is provided by Daniel and the writing job is mine.

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