TV or Projector?
TV or Projector?
One of the most common queries I see in regards to Home Theatre. ‘Should I buy a TV or should I buy a Projector’? This article touches on the ‘pros and cons’ of both and helps you make an informed decision.
Where are you placing it? Is it a living room or is it a dedicated home theatre room? If it’s a dedicated Home Theatre room, the choice is simple… The best experience WILL be a projector, end of story. But if it’s a living room, it’s a little more complicated.
Why? There are always compromises in a living room. Seating positions, light you can’t block out, speaker locations, furniture, hard surfaces etc. All these things can detract from an ideal home theatre environment where a simple TV may be the better choice.
Dedicated home theatre rooms are designed to create the best experience for watching movies. What creates the best experience? Size! Projectors can go much bigger than TVs and for a much cheaper price (inch for inch). Dedicated home theatre rooms also have dark walls/ceilings, ideal seating positions all tailored to the best experience where a projector will shine… literally!
Projectors, especially higher end projectors, hate light. Light completely washes out the image and destroys its quality. I’d argue if your viewing habits don’t include a near pitch black room, almost all of the time, don’t bother with a projector.
TV’s on the other hand, aren’t anywhere near as affected by light. While a darker room is better for both, a TV will perform much better in brighter conditions.
Movies? Gaming? Free to air television? Sport? What will you be watching most? If it’s movies and in a dark room, perhaps a projector is the better choice. If it’s Free to Air television on a Thursday evening in the living room, a TV is the better choice.
Sport is a little more complicated. It’s not about the quality of the picture with sport, it’s about the game itself. So if you’re wanting a projector to watch a lot of sport and don’t have a completely dark room, you might still get away with a projector. One of the triggers for getting a projector myself was an AFL Grand Final party, while the room wasn’t pitch black it was quite dark!
Both projectors and TV’s vary from a few hundred dollars, to tens of thousands of dollars. But I’d argue projectors are better bang for buck.
TV’s are heavily priced based on size; this isn’t as much of an issue with a projector. You can essentially choose the screen size you want, from 80 to 300+ inches!
A $1,000 projector gives a better experience than a $1,000 TV (under the right conditions). The Epson TW5600 is a great projector for around $950 and in a darker room will be much more impressive than a similarly priced TV. One of the most impressive mid/high end projectors is the JVC X5900 which can be had for around $4k. The experience from a good projector (again, under the right conditions) is far more impressive than even OLED, just on sheer size. The old saying ‘there is no replacement for displacement’ strongly applies here.
There’s no right or wrong here (okay, unless you’re putting a TV in dedicated Home Theatre room). Different people have different needs and expectations. Your best bet is to go into a store and view a projector and TV in person under similar conditions to what you will be viewing it at home. This means getting the lighting similar, trying free to air/games/movies, sitting as far back as you would at home etc. Only then will you find out what your tolerances are and the ideal choice.
Personally, I can’t stand the washed out image even the smallest amount of light does to a projector so would never consider it for every day viewing. I also couldn’t stand looking at anything less than a 100-110+ inch screen in my dedicated theatre room which means I need a projector… This leads me to my next point.
“porque no los dos”
Without a doubt, both is the best option, if your budget allows of course. I have a 60” Pioneer Kuro TV in my living room for free to air and casual viewing and a JVC X7500 projector in the dedicated home theatre room for movies and gaming meaning we never have to compromise. Some don’t have the space for two purpose built rooms so another option is a TV with a pulldown screen and projector in the same room, which is quite common. But if you can only have one, hopefully this guide has helped!