Can you watch normal TV on a projector?

There’s only so many different films out there you can watch, and video games out there that you can play. Whilst a projector is great for both movie night and gaming, some people like to use it for more than that.

In some circumstances, it can be a good idea to get rid of your television completely, and instead choose to go with a projector instead. If you pick the right model, then you’ll be able to watch normal TV with your projector as well.

And with the increase in popularity of TV shows after Netflix has become so prevalent, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to watch these shows on your projector. But is it simple for you to watch TV on a projector, or is it a little more difficult than that? Well, let’s find out.

Can you watch normal TV on a projector?

The correct answer is that yes, you definitely can watch TV on a projector. It’s very easy to set your projector up to watch both films and television, and you shouldn’t have any problems doing this. All you need to do is connect your digital box to your projector and you’re good to go.

The easiest way for you to watch television shows on your projector will be by using the apps on the projector itself. Many projectors nowadays are running on an operating system like Android, which means it’s very easy to download apps.

Most of them will be able to connect to your wifi easily, so you shouldn’t have any problem watching Netflix or Amazon Prime. This is the easiest way for you to watch TV series on your projector. You can likely also find the catch up apps to use on your projector too, which should be good enough if you want to watch any of your favourite BBC or ITV shows.

Bear in mind that you’ll need a daylight projector if you want to watch TV while it is light outside – many projectors aren’t light enough to be used throughout the day. You’ll also need to ensure you’ve got the right viewing screen if you want to watch television during the daytime too.

So, you can use the apps that come with your projector to watch catch up TV. But what about if you want to watch live TV? Well, this is definitely possible too.

What about terrestrial TV channels? (Normal TV)

Watching sports on a projector

The only issue with watching TV on a projector comes when you’re trying to watch the regular channels that are streaming live. If you’re a sport fan, then this is going to be a great way to watch football or boxing.

Whilst it’s no problem watching Netflix and using other similar apps, it can be an issue linking a TV up to your projector. This is because most people try to link their TV to the projector using a HDMI cable. It is not possible for you to connect a TV to a projector with a HDMI cable.

Why? Well, the HDMI port on your television is only designed for input, not output. This means that you can only display things from other devices on your TV, not the other way round.

So, whilst you can link your laptop and have display on your TV, you can’t have your TV screen output onto your projector in the same way. It’s just not possible to link them together.

How can we get television onto our projector? Well, the simple way to do this is for you to connect your digital box or cable box to your projector directly. Your projector has the same input ports that your television will have, and this is how you can watch TV on your projector.

In the past, we may have used RGA cables to do this. But nowadays, we tend to use HDMI cables, which are good for transmitting both audio and video over to another device.

It shouldn’t be any more difficult than making sure your projector is connected to your set top box (Virgin Media) or satellite box (Sky) properly for you to watch TV on a projector.

Potential alternative method – Opt for a streaming stick

If you don’t need to watch live television on your projector, then there are other ways that you can connect to it to watch films and TV series.

The most common way you can watch TV shows on your projector now is probably by using some form of streaming device. Whether this is a Roku or a Fire stick is really down to your own preference.

They’re the most convenient option, and many people already have one at home already. If there is occasional live TV show you want to watch, then you may be able to bring it up on your phone or laptop and cast it through to your projector.

What are the downsides to watching TV on a projector?

Watching TV on your projector can prove to be a great experience. But, there is one thing to consider when you’re going to watch television on your projector – your viewing time.

Your projector has a bulb in it which is how it manages to project bright images onto the screen. Each of these bulbs has a lifespan. In most cases, they are thousands and thousands of hours.

Typically, a bulb might last you ten years or more. But if you choose to watch all of your television on your projector, then it’s going to run out a lot sooner than this. And replacement bulbs aren’t as cheap as they are for our house lighting.

So, make sure that you bear in mind that you might need to replace your bulb sooner if you choose to watch all of your television on a projector. As well as this, the screen size your projector produces should probably also be considered.

This will depend on whether you’ve got a short throw or a long throw projector. A long throw projector tends to be used for projecting an image of more than 120 inches, so this might not suit if you don’t have the space for it.

There’s also a few more things to consider if you’re planning to use a projector instead of your TV. A television is typically better for convenience, as they switch on and off very quickly. It may take a little longer for you to switch your projector on.

Plus, you have to think about the space that the projector and projector screen will take up. You need to have a good distance between the two as well, with no obstructions between them. It can get very frustrating trying to watch TV with someone walking past a projector.


So in conclusion, yes it’s definitely possible for you to watch television on your projector. Whilst it might not always be the best thing to do in terms of the bulb life of your projector, it can prove to be a much better way to watch TV if you’re looking for a really good experience.

It’s perfect to watch new Netflix series on, and you can easily get apps on most projectors too. So, if you’re going to be setting up your own home theater to watch films on, then there’s no reason why you can’t watch normal TV on it as well.

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About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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