Why you should choose a projector vs a TV

Projectors offer a unique entertainment experience that can’t be matched by TVs. Not only can they project images of 100 inches or larger, but they’re also ideal for different situations. In my opinion, there are a few common reasons people decide to bring home a projector. From creating a multimedia room within an existing living room to organizing outdoor movie nights, here’s when you should consider using a projector vs a TV.

1. Create a gaming space with a projector

gaming projector

A projector can be even better than a TV for gaming. With a gaming projector, you can create a gaming space that can be part of your bedroom, recreation room, or living room.

One of the best reasons to choose a projector vs a TV for gaming is screen size. With a TV you’re limited to 55 inches, 65 inches, or larger if you decide you have the space and budget to accommodate a very big TV. With a projector, you can project up to 100 inches on a screen and you can place that screen anywhere in your room. The screen can also be rolled up and stored when not in use, so you can have your gaming area when you need it and store everything when you don’t.

Gaming projectors are lightweight too. You don’t have to worry about mounting a heavy TV to create a gaming space. They are also portable so you can take your projector along to a friend’s house to game with them.

Features to look for in a gaming projector

To get the most out of your gaming console, the display it’s connected to needs to have low input lag, high refresh rate, and realistic colour reproduction. A projector can outperform a TV in all of these areas, and you can find projectors that are much easier on your budget than TVs or gaming monitors.

Take BenQ projectors for example—some of their 4K UHD HDR projectors offer 60Hz refresh rate and input lag of 16ms. You’ll find gaming projectors that are bright enough to use in daylight so your gaming won’t have to be restricted to evening hours. Many also have gaming modes so all of your favourite game settings are ready with just a touch on the projector. When you’re looking for a gaming projector, keep an eye out for models from brands like BenQ, Sony, Epson, and Optoma.

For the best sound quality, you’ll want to choose a gaming projector with good speakers. Make sure to also pick a projector with enough HDMI ports so you can plug in all of your consoles and add speakers to amplify your projector’s sound. As long as the projector you choose has built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth you can opt to add a wireless home theatre speaker, soundbar, or Bluetooth speaker.

2. Use a projector to create a multimedia space

LG projector for small room

When you have an open floor plan, you don’t have any defining walls and the living room can flow into the dining room and kitchen. The lack of established sections can make creating a multimedia space or home theatre space a little challenging, but that challenge is exactly why you’d choose a projector instead of a TV for this type of area.

A multimedia space is an area within your living room where you can kick back, watch videos, game, or stream music. It’s the perfect spot for a projector because they are portable. You can still use the room for other purposes without needing a dedicated area for a TV. Some types of projectors have high-quality speakers so you can enjoy your favourite playlists. Unlike a TV, you have the added benefit of using the projector to turn on a light show for ambience when you’re just listening to music.

What to look for in a projector for a multimedia space

In a multimedia space where you’re enjoying different forms of entertainment, a projector is a great choice over a TV. If you’re more interested in home theatre and want to spend more time watching movies and TV shows, you can choose short-throw, ultra-short throw projectors, or 3D projectors. If you spend more time gaming in your multimedia room, you can choose a gaming projector.

Ultra short throw and short throw projectors vary between 1080p or 3840 x 2160 Ultra HD 4K resolution. They have an average of 2,500 ANSI Lumens brightness. 3D projectors are projectors that support 3D content. You can plug in your Blu-ray player and enjoy your favourite 3D movies right in your living room.

For a multimedia room focusing on movies, you’ll want a projector with superior colour and contrast. You’ll want to look for a projector with HDR10 and HLG support, and for the absolute best picture quality you should opt for a grey-tone projector screen that enhances contrast.

For gaming, you’ll want to look for a projector with low input lag, fast refresh rate, and enough inputs for all of your gaming consoles. For both home theatre and gaming you’ll want to make sure you have a smart projector with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi built in. Some models of Epson, Samsung, or Optoma projectors have smart operating systems so you can add apps or use your projector just like you would a smart TV. You may even choose a projector with built-in voice control so you can use it with your Google Assistant or Alexa.

3. Use a projector in a small room

projectors for small spaces

When you have a small living space, a projector can be a much better choice than a TV. The latest projectors don’t need a lot of space to project images of 100 inches or larger. You can place your projector right underneath your projector screen, mount it above your screen, or even place it on a projector stand.Unlike a TV that’s a fixed size, a projector lets you adjust your image size to suit your room. You can project different screen sizes, making the screen extra large for movie night and smaller if you’re watching TV.

What to look for when choosing a projector for a small room

In a small home, you’ll love having a projector vs a TV. You can choose a short-throw, ultra-short throw, or a Bluetooth projector. They are small enough to store away in an ottoman or cubby when not in use or you can choose to mount one directly on the ceiling or wall.

You’ll find ultra short throw and short throw projectors with 720p, 1080p or 4K Ultra HD resolution and an average of 1,000 to 2,000 lumens of brightness. Depending on which you choose your projector will be bright enough to watch during the day and at night.

The latest Bluetooth projectors include the ultra-portable Samsung The Freestyle. It’s small enough for tiny rooms and offers multi-directional projection so you can project on the screen, ceiling, or wherever you’d like to point it. BenQ also makes a Bluetooth projector that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker, giving you two devices in one compact package.

4. Use your projector outside

outdoor projector

Portability is one of the most important reasons to choose a projector instead of a TV, and you can find portable projectors that are small and compact enough to toss in a bag or pack along with your other gear. Pocket projectors can be placed anywhere you’d like to project an image, and most have a resolution of 1080p Full HD so the images it provides are clear and crisp. The projector itself might be small in size, but you can show videos on screens up to 100 inches.

What to look for in a portable projector

Being able to show videos outside or watch a movie under the stars is one of the best reasons to choose a projector vs a TV. A projector is a perfect device for outdoor movie nights with friends and family. You’ll want to look for a portable projector with an SD or MicroSD card slot so you can take your projector into remote areas without Wi-Fi and still have the option to watch saved content. If you want to take along gaming consoles or other devices like Blu-ray players, you’ll want to look for a projector with at least two inputs. You’ll also need an HDMI cable.

Mini projectors can project on a wall or the side of a camper, but it’s a good idea to choose an outdoor screen if you want the big screen experience. You can find weatherproof outdoor screens in white or grey to enhance colour and contrast, and they are easy to fold up and pack away.

Projectors are a great choice for every space

These are just four of the most common reasons why people choose projectors over TVs for gaming, movies, small spaces, and outdoor movie viewing. What would you use your projector for? To learn more about how to choose the best projector for your needs, make sure to read the projector buying guide.

Shop projectors now at Best Buy online.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag