HDTV vs Projector: Choosing the Better Big Screen

Whether you’re building the ultimate home theater experience, or you just need an upgrade to your current entertainment system, HDTV vs Projector is likely the most important decision to make. TVs are getting bigger, projectors are getting sharper and the decision is getting more difficult to make. Which one is better? Is there a clear cut winner? Either choice will let you watch your favorite movies or TV shows, so can you really go wrong? The choice is ultimately up to you and the right choice is not the same for everyone. Let’s look at how the pros and cons stack up for HDTVs vs Projectors.

HDTVs

HDTVs have dominated the home entertainment market for a long time and they don’t show signs of slowing. With the recent release of 4K ultra high definition and other technological advances, a whole new level of size and viewing quality is possible.

HDTV Pros

HDTVs have a huge advantage over projectors when it comes to ease of installation. Just about anyone could buy a TV, take it home, and install it in time for the big game that night. Very little know-how is involved in the installation process. Additionally, wall and ceiling mounts are becoming sturdier and more user-friendly which only adds to the ease of installation. In the same vein, adjusting the image quality of a TV is simpler and more versatile than a projector. TVs are not plagued by the same restrictions as projectors in regards to ambient light or viewing environment. HDTVs are the clear choice for those looking to “plug and play”.

Finally, even though this is a widely-varied and “hot-button” issue, the image quality and definition of HDTVs is constant and consistently superior to comparable projectors. HDTVs, as a general rule, are much better equipped to handle higher resolutions. They have richer colors, stronger contrast, and more color accuracy. Again, this is a generalization; it is certainly possible to match the image quality with a projector, but not without proper planning and a little know-how.

HDTV Cons

Don’t decide on an HDTV just yet. There are a few key downsides to consider. When it comes to price per inch, HDTVs don’t stand a chance against projectors. Even though TVs are getting bigger and smaller TVs are becoming scarce, the price of a 100+ inch HDTV (a size easily reachable by a projector) is outrageous and likely unrealistic for most people. If you have to have a huge display and don’t want to take out a second mortgage, a projector might be your best option.

HDTVs are all or nothing when it comes to lifespan and replacement. The standard TV has an average lifespan of 100,000 hours, much longer than a projector. But unlike projectors, there are no replacements bulbs. When it’s dead, it’s dead. Depending on your lifestyle, purchasing a new TV may not be a purchase that can be made on a whim.

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Projectors

In just the last few years home theater projectors have made huge strides in the right direction. With rising image quality and falling prices, projectors have really become a much stronger competitor in the battle of HDTVs vs Projectors.

Projector Pros

The biggest and probably most obvious advantage of going with a projector is the size. It’s the closest you can get to a true theater experience from the comfort of your own couch. Projectors, hands down, have the largest display possibilities. With even mid-range projectors easily reaching 100+ inches while sacrificing little to no image quality, projectors are the most cost-effective way to watch your favorite movies as the director intended. Projector displays are also flexible and can be adjusted to fit many different home theater setups.

Projectors can also provide you with the best viewing experience. Unlike HDTVs, projectors provide a more immersive image by occupying more viewing space with less brightness. This is easier on the eyes and provides a more natural viewing environment.

Finally, projectors are cost effective. Much like any gadget or device, you can spend as much as you want on a projector, just be prepared to get what you paid for; from the PYLE PRJLE78 Home Theater Multimedia Digital LED Projector at $279 on amazon to the Sony VPLVW665ES 4K 3D SXRD Home Theater Projector (2015 Model) at a whopping $14,998.00, there is something for just about every price range. Even figuring in the added cost of screens, additional cords, and replacement bulbs, a projector is the most cost-effective choice.

Projector Cons

However, projectors don’t come without their downsides. First, projectors can be a larger investment in terms of time and preparation. The installation of a projector can be complex and costly without proper planning. Are you using a screen or a wall to project onto? Have you found the right screen? Do you need to repaint the wall? How far away will the seating be? Being able to answer these questions is crucial to choosing the right projector and installing it correctly. Another concern with projectors is lighting and ambient light. If the intended room for your projector has a lot of ambient or natural light, you have to eliminate that light in order to maintain the best image quality. This is possible but requires a bit more planning. Projectors require a darkened room with as few windows as possible in order to provide the best quality.

Projectors also require an investment over time. Projectors operate using bulbs that must be replaced periodically. While there are many factors that contribute to the lifespan of a projector bulb, the average lifespan can be anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 hours with replacement bulbs running anywhere from $200-$500.

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The Bottom Line On HDTV vs Projector

All in all, there is no clear winner. When it comes to the battle of HDTVs vs. Projectors, the winner depends on your preferences. Regardless of what you’re looking for, the best way to make sure you’re satisfied with your purchase is to:

1.) Set your budget! Don’t forget this part. It is very easy to overspend.

2.) Establish your own checklist of wants and needs, and determine what you’re willing to sacrifice.

3.) Shop around and do your homework before committing to either option.

Are you building the ultimate home theater room for movie nights and viewing parties and you strive for that “movie-going” experience? Then projectors are probably your best option.

Are you looking for a quick installation and the best and brightest images while you binge-watching Netflix? Then HDTVs are likely your best bet.

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HDTV vs Projector: Choosing the Better Big Screen

time to read: 4 min