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Projector vs. TV: Which One Is Best for You?

From screen size to contrast, use the following projector vs. TV comparison guide to discover the best cinematic experience for your home.

Getting Started

If you seek the ultimate entertainment center setup, you might be wondering which is best for your home: a projector or a TV.
Two people watching TV with popcorn
The answer truly comes down to a handful of factors, such as screen size, image brightness, contrast, and even the amount of space you have to support each. So, projector vs. TV? Let's break down the advantages of both to help you decide.

Advantages of Projectors

Family watching TV from a projector

Cost and Affordability

Compared to TVs, projectors are much more affordable. A standard HD projector, including the screen, could cost you approximately $1,000, when a large 80-inch TV could cost $1,500 and upward. When you compare screen sizes, dollar-to-dollar, the projector is a much better option.

Resolution Quality

For homeowners who prefer to watch movies and shows in all their 4K glory, you'll miss those tiny details on even a large screen TV. When you compress that many pixels onto a regular TV, it can make them barely noticeable.
With an HD projector, however, you can see every inch of detail that 4K offers. Even as TVs grow larger each year, a projector and HD screen combination is the better option and is sure to do it justice.

Screen Size

Again, TVs are growing larger and larger. But it's still quite hard to beat that big of a screen. Even as some TVs reach 100 inches, it comes down to a practical question of how to get it into the home and mount it securely to the wall. Screens can be gently rolled, making them easier to transport. And the projectors are not bigger than a game console. This also brings back the first advantage of affordability. The larger the TV, the more costly your entertainment system becomes.

Advantages of Televisions

Child watching TV with popcorn

Easy Maintenance

Modern televisions are mostly maintenance-free, due to their long-life LEDs. There's a greater chance that your entire TV will need to be replaced before the LEDs begin to fail.
Projectors, however, use lamps that burn out from time to time. This may not be a big deal for some, but it's worth noting. Also, projectors can accumulate dust and need to be cleaned to prevent particles from getting inside.

Better Brightness

Projectors require darker conditions to create a clear picture. TVs, on the other hand, are typically backlit with modern LEDs and therefore put out plenty of light at all times. For this reason, a projector is not the best option for a sunlit living room. Projectors require a darker room, such as a basement or dedicated home cinema.

Stronger Contrast

Brightness and contrast go hand in hand. And while projectors are able to create high contrast ratios, it's pretty much useless if the room is not dark enough. Unfortunately, this causes the projector's image to appear washed out and with a faded contrast.
TVs, however, are already bright enough. They even work in rooms with maximum sunlight. OLED TV models, especially, offer strong contrast ratios because of the screen technology. So, in essence, if you're a cinema buff who can't stand a washed-out image, a TV is the best option. If you're a cinema buff who has a dedicated theater in a windowless room of the home, a screen is still okay!

Takes Up Minimal Space

When it comes to placement, TVs actually take up less space. Yes, a screen is very flat, even able to roll up, and a projector can be hung from the ceiling, but it's more than that. What's involved is the distance needed between the screen and the viewing area.
When you place a projector screen in a small room, you'll feel like you're a part of the movie. And not in a good way. You'll be nose to nose with actors and not able to enjoy all those 4K details. And this is why TVs are the ideal option for certain rooms.

Sound Quality

Most modern TVs and projectors already come with built-in speakers but, in comparison, projectors tend to have lesser sound quality. However, if you intend to create a top-notch cinema experience, you'll want to expand your home theater with a full surround sound system regardless. In this case, the choice between a TV and projector is a toss-up and entirely yours to make.

Projector vs. TV: Which One Is Best for You?

All of the above factors and features mentioned play a role in the ultimate decision. Obviously, if you live in a bright, sunny apartment with limited space, a projector is most likely not going to be a possibility. But if you plan to remodel a basement, which has few windows, and a sizable, open space to position the sofa perfectly, a projector and screen setup could be perfect! So which one will you choose; a projector or TV?
From LG to Sony, check out Abt Electronics' TV Buying Guide to learn more about all the various features and screen types.

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