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Which Is Better For Movies & Gaming, A TV Or A Projector?

Updated on December 14, 2012

Which to choose?

Lots of people ask the question about which is better, a projector or a TV. I've experience with both so I'm going to outline the pros and cons of each choice to hopefully help you make a decision.

There a couple of things to consider when thinking about whether to buy a projector or a tv. There are advantages of both, the projector gives you a massive screen, but the tv lets you use it in all lighting situations. You have to think about what you're going to use it for, where you're going to install it and when you're going to use it.

What are you going to use it for?

If you're planning on using the projector to replace your tv then this is possible, but not always the best decision. For about a year I didn't have a tv at all and just used a projector for everything. It was alright, but to be honest not ideal. The problem is that when you watch everything at 100 inches, then it stops feeling special, so films aren't any better or worse than normal tv watching. The other issue is that you need a light controlled room ideally, so you usually have to have the curtains closed.

Where are you going to install it?

If you have a separate room, dedicated to movie watching, then a projector can be an awesome addition. If you're going to use a projector and a tv in the same room, then it can be possible. A lot of people do this by having a screen, which drops down in front of the tv. They can then watch tv, then if they want to watch a movie or play a game, then they get the screen down and turn on the projector.

You can get manual pull down screens, pull up screens and also the most convenient of all, electric drop down screens, like the ones pictured. You control these from a remote control, or you can connect it to the trigger port of your projector, so when you turn the projector on the screen drops down automatically. I've not done this before, but I imagine you feel pretty smug when you do that, to the gasps of awe and surprise from your (hopefully) amazed and impressed guests!

When are you going to use it?

If you're planning on doing most of your movie watching and gaming at night, then a projector is a feasible choice. If you do it in the day, you have to remember that you need to be in the dark. I feel even more antisocial if I draw the curtains while it's sunny outside to play games etc, remembering what my parents used to say when I was a kid about how I really should be outside playing, so this is something to bear in mind!

There are some superbright projectors that actually work in the light and you can also improve the picture from those projectors by using a grey screen, which improves black / contrast levels. Easier way is just to pull the curtains though.

So then, which should I get?

If you haven't used a projector before, then they are definitely worth very serious consideration. There is nothing like the feeling of seeing a high definition film fill the wall with 100 inches or more of movie goodness. Gaming is also awesome, for obvious reasons. Projectors nowadays have a very clear, sharp vivid picture, most people's experience of them is watching football matches on blurry rubbish quality ones in bars, but there is a world of difference between those and a good home cinema version. A good one just looks like a tv, but much larger. It can also be cheaper to get a large picture from a projector than a massive tv.

If you are not prepared to have a dark room, or at least to get some decent blackout curtains, then a tv is probably better for you. You also have to bear in mind that projectors don't produce sound, so if you do get one you'll need a sound setup. This is something that some people don't realise.

My personal viewpoint is to only get a projector if you have a dedicated room for it. This is after having a projector in my living room for a while and eventually tiring of it. Now when I use it, there is a sense of occasion. If you have a small place, then you can get some good deals nowadays on some pretty large tvs, 60 inch tvs are not crazily expensive now. But if you have the room and the money, get both!

Please feel free to comment or ask any questions if you have any.



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