TV or Projector for Home Theater?

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When planning the family home entertainment room, whether a basic living room setup or a dedicated theater space, deciding on what medium to watch on can be a challenge.

With technology rapidly advancing from the old-fashioned tube TVs our grandparents were introduced to, to modern-day smart TV’s and theater-dedicated projectors, we now have a greater selection to choose from.

Deciding on which medium to purchase can, therefore, be difficult. One option that never goes out of style will always be the television. It offers great practicality, and has so many uses if you ever decide to replace the entertainment TV, the old one can always be used somewhere else in the house.

However, the idea of owning a projector sounds like the ultimate fantasy for those sci-fi enthusiasts who would love to feel like they own a hologram entertainment system. Is a projector the practical choice, and perhaps worth it? Read on to decide for yourself, as we discuss the major points and differences between TVs and projectors.

There are advantages and disadvantages between the two. To figure out which would best fit your personal scenario, it would be wise to consider all of these points.


The first consideration in deciding on either a TV or projector would be to identify where it is going to be hosted. The reason for this is because of the different working mechanics between the two types of devices.

You should keep in mind that TVs work by displaying direct images and projectors by displaying indirect, or reflected images. This is the first key difference since this means that TVs are sold with all the needed components in one object.

However, projector technology separates the emitter from the screen. If dedicating a room to a projector home theater system, you should keep in mind that the setting, specifically the lighting of the room, should be compatible for viewing. In other words, a projector-dedicated room needs to be much darker, since the reflected images are not as bright as the display of a TV.

Because of the same factor and change in design dynamics, you should also consider the relative size of the room. While the projector might be small, the screen is not. TVs, on the other hand, can be bought in a variety of different sizes that can fit adequately in any setting. In this regard, a TV would be considered more practical.

TV or Projector for Home Theater

Projectors also require a difficult setup, and since most projectors don’t have built-in speakers, you will need to supply an outside sound source. If the room in which the entertainment system is to be hosted is small, you would likely settle instead for a traditional screen.

Not only should enough space and planning go into providing visibility for the screen, but adding speakers to the decor would become a problem. Sitting too close to a set of speakers might be startling and would take the fun out of any horror film, or even family film nights.

Another consideration that makes projectors impractical is that nothing should obscure the light emissions of the projector. Since most people prefer seating in front of the screen, this can become problematic. However, some projectors do feature designs that eliminate this problem, with placement options adjusted for short distance projecting. You should look for designs like these if you are considering buying a projector.


When approaching the differences in features and design, the practical favorability of TVs will once again outweigh the benefits of projectors. However, since most 3D TVs have fallen out of production, this is where projectors are a better choice.

Like all 3D technologies, you will have to buy the specialized glasses separately, but if 3D is exactly what you are going for, it would, of course, be worth the investment. Projectors, due to showing reflected light, are better suited for applying 3D viewed experiences, and allow better immersion into any film or series.

Despite this advantage, TVs are more practical. Since TVs are made as the mainstream choice, all designs include the correct ports for all the different platforms of entertainment. Most projectors, especially the more affordable models, do not have access to satellite or cable TV connections and only allow certain multimedia devices to connect to the device. The practical side of TVs allows them to connect to a greater variety of entertainment, including the ability to double as screens for PlayStation.

The modern designs of projectors feature all the known technology of television sets, but it should be noted that these devices will cost you a small fortune. Another advantage that televisions have is the latest smart technology featured in newer models. This includes Wi-Fi connectivity and the ability to live stream to Netflix and other multimedia platforms.


The third consideration to make is reliability. Most affordable, but outdated, projectors require upkeep and continuous maintenance. Since they are designed to use lamps that wear with constant use, a projector’s life service is compromised and tends not to last as long as a television set would.

Replacing these bulbs and lamps can be expensive. TVs, on the other hand, will not require as much maintenance and are much cheaper to keep around for a long life of service. However, most modern projectors have stepped away from using lamps, and now employ LED technology, but these devices are more expensive.


The last point of interest would be to consider the cost efficiency of installing either one of these devices. In general, since most people are interested in the general forms of entertainment, TVs are more affordable. On a used market, you might find a few bargains when purchasing a projector, yet the quality can be brought into question.

The general difference between the choices is clear. Since there is a greater demand for televisions, you will likely discover that projectors are the more expensive choice.

Final Thoughts

The choice is still yours. If you want to be entertained by a kind of holographic projection, then go ahead and spend what you can afford on a high-end projector. If you want 3D viewing, then a projector would also be the better choice.

However, if simply looking to entertain the family on a budget, without having to make too many adjustments to the entertainment room, a television is the sensible choice.

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