Crafting the perfect media room or home theater is a multi-layered undertaking, requiring care in the selection of every component so that the entire system can work in harmony to produce the ideal experience. Should you start with the seating? The lights? The sound? The right place to begin your considerations for an upgrade or a new addition is the most important component of all: what you’ll use to watch all that media. Whether it’s your favorite movies, the week’s biggest sports game, or the latest and greatest video games, what screen will offer the crisp, vivid visuals you want?
The “big screen TV” is a perennial favorite, but it isn’t the only option. Today’s home projectors provide TVs with some stiff competition both in terms of quality and dependability. Choosing between the two can prove challenging, though, especially when you want to guarantee years of enjoyable watching after you make your investment. Ultimately, there are no hard and fast rules here; the right choice is ultimately a subjective one based on your home, budget, and other considerations. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the options out there, however, will do much to point you in the right direction.
Let’s start with a look at projectors. Though once limited to the domains of the office conference room and the movie theater, today they’re a popular choice for homeowners looking for that extra visual edge.
What are some of the key advantages of projectors?
- A living room projector is an increasingly cost-effective choice in terms of screen size; projectors can throw an image onto a much larger screen area, whereas a similarly sized television may be prohibitively expensive.
- The ability to make the most of high-resolution content. With a living room projector setup, you can see all the finest details in your ultra HD content. If you don’t have a large enough TV, those images won’t look quite so sharp.
- Retain more versatility in your media room’s usage; projectors are easy to mount, and screens are usually easy to stow, too. If you want a more multipurpose entertainment space, it’s not as easy to move a TV.
While there is a lot to love with projectors — they’re one of the easiest ways to achieve the biggest screen size possible for your media room — there are some drawbacks to keep in mind, too.
- Screen size remains limited by room size; for a larger image, you need a longer distance between the screen and the projector. In some homes, this will put a hard limit on your screen size.
- Most projectors still require dim viewing conditions to achieve the best image. Ultra-bright projectors exist, but with a higher price tag. The best projector can achieve a contrast comparable to some TVs; however, for most units, darker rooms are better, which can limit utility for some users.
- Maintenance can be a concern. With a TV, you simply plug it in and go — with a projector, you will need to replace air filters and bulbs from time to time. If ceiling mounted, this may prove frustrating to some homeowners.
It won’t do to look at projectors in a vacuum, however.
What about the original option, the TV? For many homeowners, a large TV can provide excellent entertainment value, especially with the growing availability of 4K content. Ease of purchase and placement are two other points in the TV’s favor, but what about more specific pros?
- Better brightness and sharper contrast. No matter the light levels in your room, it’s always easy to see clean and clear details on the screen.
- Easier to place and requires less overall space to create a comfortable viewing distance. Plus, most TVs today easily mount to the wall, leaving free more floor space.
- More straightforward to use as a hub for media, with Smart TV features now commonplace and accessible plugs and connectors for adding game consoles, cable connections, and more.
Though incredibly versatile, it’s important to consider both sides of the equation. TV cons include:
- Cost. The top end of the TV range today can be pricey, especially if you want all the latest bells and whistles, such as OLED technology. If you’re trying to choose between a projector or a TV for 4K content, projectors may win out on the cost factor.
- Sound quality. A problem for projectors too, built-in speakers on TVs are often insufficient for home theater purposes.
- Fixed in size and position. One of the benefits to projectors is their range of available resolutions, enabling them to project a wide variety of images. On TVs, images below a specific resolution may not display as cleanly.
Now comes the tricky part: trying to balance the scales enough to decide.
Weighing What’s Best for Your Home
The space you have will play a critical role in what option you choose, in part because it will also determine other factors such as your seating arrangements and even your sound system. For those with full control over the space due to renovations, projectors may offer a longer-lasting option that’s better overall for movie watching experiences. Need more versatility in your media options? A TV may be best, especially when you start choosing the other elements of the room. However, there is no concrete answer as to whether you should buy a projector or TV — each buyer’s circumstances will play heavily into the decision. With that said, both options have clear strengths and weaknesses. With professional input, choosing which option should win out can be much more straightforward.
Find the Ideal Products for a New Home Theater Today with Starpower
As we’ve seen, there are ups and downs to both sides of the equation, and figuring out the right choice requires a close look at what you want most from the viewing experience. Matching your purchases to your budget and space limitations is important too, of course. At Starpower, our teams across every location are always excited for the opportunity to help our customers find the setup that will deliver the experience they’ve always wanted. Reach out to your local Starpower today with your questions or stop by and see us to see some of today’s best projector and TV options in person.