Projector vs TV – Which should you choose? [2023]

If you’re wondering which would be better out of a projector and a TV, then there are a few differences between them. They both have their place within the home entertainment world, and cinema fanatics will tell you it’s hard to beat a good mini projector theatre setup in your home.

But which of these would be a better option for you? It really depends on exactly what you’re looking for. In the battle between TV vs projectors, there are many different criteria that will effect which one of the two is more suitable to your needs.

We’re going to look at some of the key differences between them so you know which one to opt for in your living room.

Projector vs TV – How they’re different

The main difference between the two is that with a projector, you’re going to be able to get a much bigger picture for a lower price. However with a television screen, you’re going to get a better quality picture, but of course, this will be much more expensive than using a projector.

When you’re creating your own home theatre system, you want everything to be perfect. But most of us don’t have tens of thousands to spend on a setup, so you’ll likely be looking for the best value option. Often, this is with a video projector, as you can maximize your screen size for your overall cost.

But these are just the basics, and there are other factors which are going to affect your viewing experience. Let’s look at them both in a little more detail.

Projectors – The Big Screen


Projectors are one of the best ways to watch movies late at night. You can even set them up outdoors, which can make for a great way to spend an evening underneath the stars with your family.

Most projectors don’t work well in a bright room. If you do want a projector that is capable of this, then they tend to be fairly expensive – this is because it costs more to increase the brightness of the projector.

However, it’s still likely a better choice than a TV if you’re wanting to project 100 inches or more. Large 80 inch TVs are available, but they tend to be pretty expensive in comparison to a projector.

This does depend on the projector that you end up with. You’ll get short throw projectors, which create a smaller projections. But you also get long throw projectors, which can help you to create larger screens.

A short throw projector tends to be for a 100 inch image or less, with a long throw projector being capable of much more than this. If you have the wall space, then you can easily get a projection of several hundred inches in size or more.

So, it will really depend on the size of the image you’re looking for. Though either way, they are still capable of bigger sizes than you can get with a television.

Pros of Using a Projector

Cheap – If you’re trying to get the maximum possible screen size for the cheapest possible price, then a projector is the way to go. You can easily get a projector that will comfortably project to 10 feet for less than £100, so it makes sense to opt for that if size is your goal.
Good experience – Using a projector at home can be as much about the experience as it is about the actual projector itself. If you want to watch a film in the complete darkness, then the style of a projector can add some authenticity.
Portability – Another good thing about projectors is that you can take them with you anywhere. This is especially true for mini projectors, which can weigh as little as a few hundred grams. Comparing this to the weight of a television and you’ll obviously be able to see the difference.

Cons of using a Projector

Needs darkness – Unlike a television which can be seen easily in a bright room, the majority of projectors struggle in the daytime. This is only true for cheap projectors, as more expensive ones can be seen clearly.
Sound – Another bad thing about projectors is that they either have no inbuilt speakers, or if they do, the sound quality tends to be pretty awful. So, you might need to buy some external speakers too if you want to have a good home theater experience.
Maintenance – In comparison to TVs, over the course of a projectors lifetime it will likely need more maintenance. This is due to replacing the lamps in the projector, and TVs need very little maintenance in general.

Projectors, as well as projector screens, tend to start off as pretty reasonable in price. But when you start looking at 4K UHD projectors and those with a longer throw distance, the price can actually go up by quite a lot. And actually, in the modern day, televisions aren’t much more expensive.

TV – For a better image quality


Whilst projectors are used by some, TVs are used by pretty much everyone. They come in bigger and bigger sizes nowadays, which means you can get a perfect setup in your home.

Televisions are good because you can use them in any lighting conditions, and they’re compatible with a lot of different devices. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using it to watch TV, watch films or play video games, it’s very easily integrated with all of these things.

One of the main advantages nowadays is that 4K resolution TVs are becoming cheaper and cheaper in price. Many larger widescreen televisions are only available in 4K, with 1080p being a thing of the past.

Now, you can get 4K projectors too, and they do have a good picture quality. But, they tend to be much more expensive than a simple4K display television, which is quickly becoming the norm if you’re in the market for a widescreen TV anyway.

Pros of Using a TV

Brightness – The best thing about TVs in comparison to projectors is that TVs are brighter, and you can use them in any lighting conditions. Sure, it might be annoying having the light reflect on your TV screen, but if light gets onto your projector screen, you won’t be able to see anything.
Direct to TV – Whilst it is possible to connect a projector to your TV and watch your favourite programs, it’s far easier to do this with your TV directly. They either have TV channels built in, or it is easy to use your TV with a set top box.
Contrast Ratio – Televisions tend to have a bigger contrast ratio, which means that there’s more of a difference between brightness and darkness, giving a clearer picture.

Cons of Using a TV

Expense – If you’re looking for a larger screen to watch shows with, then you will probably want to opt to use a projector as opposed to a TV. This is especially true if you’re trying to keep costs down, as a projector is going to be cheaper than a TV.
Heavy – If you want to take your projector with you, you can likely fit it in your backpack. But your TV? Well, you might need 2 pairs of hands to move that.
Atmosphere – If you’re trying to create your own home cinema, then a TV might not give you the same experience as a projector. This is pretty subjective, but most agree that there is something special about watching via a projector.

You also have things to consider like your audio; a TV will have speakers built into it, whilst a projector often won’t. This means that whilst a projector may be cheaper on its own, when you add in a projection screen and a decent sound system, it can actually end up costing the same as a television.

Common Questions about Projectors & TVs

Why use a projector instead of a TV?

A projector can be a better option than a TV for a few reasons. The main one is that you can project a much bigger image onto the wall or screen with a projector. Even a good mini projector can project an 8-10 foot image.

Is it worth buying a projector?

If you’re thinking of buying a projector, then there are a few reasons why they might be a good investment. You either want a cheap projector to play around and watch films with, you’re setting up a serious home theatre setup, or you might want a projector for presentations.

How long will a projector last?

Projectors tend to have a lifespan of a few thousand hours. After this, you may need to replace the bulbs. But aside from this replacement, generally projectors do have a very long lifespan, and can last well in excess of 10 years.

Is projector better than TV for eyes?

Another reason why some people opt for a projectors over a TV is that it’s actually easier on the eyes. If you have problems with the reflection on a TV, then a projector might actually help in this regard. However, if there’s a lot of ambient light around your projector display, this can make it pretty difficult to see.

Can you watch TV with a projector?

Yes, you can watch TV with a projector. The best way to do this is to connect your TV directly with your projector via a HDMI cable. Although it might take a little more effort, it is still possible.


Both projectors and TVs have their benefits and different scenarios where they’ll be better used. For a home cinema or if you need something to give presentations in the office, then a projector is going to be the best choice. However, for casual viewing in any light setting, then a TV will almost certainly perform better.

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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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