Published On: August 10, 2023

Home Theater Projectors VS TVs: Choose The Right Display Technology For Your Specific Needs

Published On: August 10, 2023
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Home Theater Projectors VS TVs: Choose The Right Display Technology For Your Specific Needs

Deciding between a projector and a TV can be tricky. Explore the pros and cons of each technology to determine which one best suits your needs.

Home Theater Projectors VS TVs: Choose The Right Display Technology For Your Specific Needs

  • David Bates, a dedicated home theater connoisseur, shares his passion and expertise through engaging writing. He provides insights on the latest trends, technologies, and techniques, helping others achieve optimal audiovisual experiences.

Deciding between a home theater projector and a TV can be a real brain teaser, right?

Today we aim to help you solve this conundrum by providing an in-depth comparison covering all critical aspects such as image quality, installation process, sound performance, smart features along with cost analysis.

Key Takeaways

  • When choosing between home theater projectors and TVs, consider the desired screen size and available room space. Projectors offer flexibility in adjusting screen size, while TVs come in fixed sizes.
  • In terms of image quality, TVs generally have brighter displays and better contrast levels. However, high-quality projectors with 4K resolution can provide impressive picture quality in their own right.
  • Sound quality is typically better with external audio solutions used with projectors compared to built-in TV speakers. Investing in separate speakers or a sound system can enhance the overall audio experience for a more immersive home theater setup.
  • Smart features differ between projectors and TVs. While many modern TVs come with built-in smart platforms, projectors usually require external devices like media streamers to access streaming services.

Size Considerations: Projectors vs. TVs

Size is an important factor to consider, taking into account both the desired screen size and the available room space, as well as the correlation between the two.

  1. Projectors give you the freedom to adjust your screen size based on your preference or the available room space. You can project images from 100 inches to as large as 300 inches, providing a movie theater experience.
  2. TVs, on the other hand, come with fixed sizes ranging from compact 20-inch models to monster sizes of 85-inches or more. Larger TV sizes provide a more immersive viewing experience but require ample space.
  3. The size of your room plays a crucial role in determining the most suitable screen size. For instance, if your room is small, an 85-inch TV might feel overwhelming and cause discomfort while watching due to the lack of sufficient viewing distance.
  4. On the contrary, if you have a large spacious room, you can comfortably opt for projectors that provide larger images without causing strain on your eyes.
  5. Projector's flexibility in terms of throw distance also gives them an edge over TVs. Throw distance refers to how far away a projector needs to be from the screen or wall in order to generate a certain image/screen size.
  6. Lastly, it's significant to note that while choosing between projectors and TVs based on their respective screen sizes, one shouldn't compromise image quality for sheer size alone - ultimately because high-quality visuals are what truly enrich our viewing experiences at home.

Image Quality: A Comparative Analysis

When it comes to image quality, there are several key factors to consider in the projector vs. TV debate. From brightness and contrast to resolution and color accuracy, let's dive deeper into how these two display technologies stack up against each other.


Facing the challenge of ambient light in your room, brightness becomes a critical factor for both projectors and TVs. Projectors depend heavily on darkness to deliver crisp images, so if you're in a well-lit space, you'll need one with high lumens—a unit measuring brightness.

Modern home interior with comfortable sofa and window generative AI

Most home theater projectors offer between 1,500-3,000 lumens which can work fine given optimal dark conditions. TVs typically shine brighter here; they boast higher brightness levels that produce vibrant pictures regardless of lighting conditions.

In terms of picture quality under various lighting scenarios, televisions have an edge due to their inherent design advantages over projectors. So if your home theater setup allows complete control over ambient light or is in a darker environment, then either option works great! But if not - TV's higher contrast and resolution may give it the benefit when battling against excessive natural or artificial light.


Generally speaking, TVs outshine projectors when it comes to delivering stark contrast levels that augment the viewing experience.

A wall with a row of windows with a sunset in the background.

This is primarily attributed to their ability to combat ambient light while enhancing perceived contrast - a highlight most noticeable in bright rooms or during daylight hours.

However, advancements have been made in projector technology with models emerging that can hold their own against their TV counterparts but these tend to come at a higher price point.

Resolution and HDR

An important aspect to consider is the resolution and support for HDR (High Dynamic Range). Resolution refers to the number of pixels that make up an image, while HDR enhances the color and contrast range for a more vibrant viewing experience.

Both projectors and TVs have caught up in this regard, offering 4K resolution and support for HDR video standards. However, it's important to note that high-quality projectors with 4K resolution tend to be pricier compared to comparable TVs.

That being said, if you're looking for exceptional picture quality with sharper details and lifelike colors, both options have something great to offer.

Color Accuracy

TVs generally have the upper hand over projectors here. This is because TVs are designed to provide vibrant and accurate colors right out of the box, thanks to their advanced display technologies.

High-end TVs with OLED or QLED screens offer exceptional color reproduction and can deliver a wide color gamut for a more immersive viewing experience.

On the other hand, projectors may struggle with achieving the same level of color accuracy as TVs. However, modern projectors have come a long way in terms of improving color performance.

Many high-quality projectors now incorporate advanced image processing technologies and color calibration features to ensure better color reproduction.

While projectors may not match the exact precision of TV colors, they can still provide impressive picture quality at a more affordable price point. With proper calibration and adjustment settings, projectors can create rich and vibrant images that enhance your movie-watching or gaming experience.

Installation Process: What to Expect

When setting up a home theater projector or TV, here is what you can expect during the installation process:

  • Determine the ideal location for your display device, taking into consideration factors such as viewing angles, ambient light, and room size.
  • If you choose a TV, wall mounting is a popular option. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and use appropriate wall mounts or brackets.
  • Projectors generally require more planning. You'll need to find a suitable spot for mounting or placing the projector, considering factors like throw distance and screen size.
  • Install a projection screen if you opt for a projector. There are various options available, from fixed-frame screens to retractable ones. Consider your budget and room layout when choosing a screen.
  • Connect your display device to other components in your home theater system. This may include an AV receiver, media streamer, or gaming console. HDMI cables are commonly used for video and audio connections.
  • Set up any additional speakers or sound systems you plan to use with your display device. External speakers can enhance the audio experience compared to built-in TV speakers or smaller projector speakers.
  • Power on your display device and adjust settings according to personal preferences. This might include adjusting brightness levels, aspect ratio, color calibration, and enabling features like HDR (High Dynamic Range).
  • Test your setup by playing different types of media content, such as movies or video games. Use this opportunity to fine-tune settings further if needed.

Sound Quality: Built-in Speakers vs. External Audio Solutions

There is a noticeable difference between built-in speakers found in TVs versus external audio solutions used with projectors. TVs typically have built-in speakers that are designed to produce decent audio for everyday viewing.

They can provide satisfactory sound for regular TV shows or casual movie watching.

However, if you're looking for an immersive home theater experience, external audio solutions are the way to go. Projectors usually require external speakers or a complete sound system setup to deliver high-quality sound.

Black Speaker Close-up

By investing in separate speakers, subwoofers, or even a soundbar, you can enhance the overall audio experience and create a more impactful cinematic environment.

External audio solutions offer superior clarity, depth, and surround sound capabilities compared to built-in TV speakers. They allow you to hear every detail of dialogue and experience the full range of frequencies from booming bass notes to delicate whispers.

Whether you're watching movies or playing video games with your home theater setup, having dedicated external audio equipment will undoubtedly elevate your entertainment experience.

Additionally, using external audio solutions gives you more flexibility when it comes to customizing your setup according to your specific preferences and room size. You have control over speaker placement and can optimize their positioning for optimal acoustics.

In summary, while TVs may have convenient built-in speakers suitable for regular use, if you want exceptional sound quality that matches the visual impact of projectors, investing in external audio solutions is essential.

External options allow for customization and deliver superior clarity and immersive surround sound that will truly enhance your home theater experience.

Smart Features: Inbuilt vs. External Devices

Both projectors and TVs offer various smart features, allowing you to access streaming services, browse the internet, and control your entertainment experience.

However, there is a difference in how these smart features are implemented.

Complex circuit board

Many modern TVs come with built-in smart platforms such as Tizen or Android/Google TV, which provide easy access to popular streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

These built-in platforms also allow for voice control through virtual assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant. With a TV's inbuilt smart features, you can enjoy seamless integration without the need for additional devices.

On the other hand, projectors typically require external devices like media streamers such as Amazon's Fire TV Stick 4K or Roku Streaming Stick+ to provide access to streaming services.

You can connect these external devices directly to the projector's HDMI port or use an HDMI splitter if you have multiple sources. Although this may require an extra step in setup compared to built-in smart platforms on TVs, it offers flexibility in choosing your preferred media streaming device.

When considering smart features for either a projector or a TV, it's important to think about your specific needs and preferences. If ease of use and convenience is essential for you, TVs with built-in smart platforms might be more suitable.

On the other hand, if you already have an external media player that you prefer using or want the freedom to choose different platforms easily as technology evolves in the future; then opting for a home theater projector with support for external devices might be the better option.

Remember that while both projectors and TVs offer similar functionalities regarding their smart features; it comes down to personal preference and how seamlessly integrated into your overall home theater setup you want them to be.

Outdoor Use: Portability of Projectors vs. Tvs

Projectors have the clear advantage in terms of portability. Projectors are lightweight and compact, making them easy to transport and set up outside.

Whether you want to enjoy a movie night under the stars or host a backyard party, projectors offer flexibility and convenience.

On the other hand, TVs are less portable and typically not designed for outdoor use, though there are exceptions. They are bulkier and heavier than projectors, making it difficult to move them around or bring them outside.

Additionally, most TVs are not weatherproofed like some projector models that are specifically designed for outdoor use.

Portability of Projectors vs. TVs

So if you're looking for a display option that can be easily taken outdoors, a projector is your best bet. With a portable projection screen or even a plain white wall, you can create an instant outdoor theater experience anywhere you go.

When using a projector outdoors, ambient light can affect the image quality. The brighter the environment, the dimmer your projected image may appear. Therefore, it's ideal to use projectors in darker settings or during nighttime for optimal viewing experience.

Whether you choose a projector or TV for outdoor use depends on your specific needs and preferences. If portability is crucial and you want the freedom to enjoy movies or games outside of your living room, then go with a projector.

But if portability is not essential and you prefer durability without worrying about weather conditions affecting your entertainment setup, then opt for an outdoor-friendly TV model instead.

Cost Analysis: Initial Purchase and Maintenance

When it comes to the investment in a home theater system, you have to consider not only the initial purchase but also the ongoing maintenance costs. Here's a breakdown of these costs in a comparative manner between projectors and TVs.

Initial PurchaseHigh-end TVs can offer OLED or QLED screens, excellent color accuracy, and high levels of built-in brightness. Prices vary, but expect to pay several thousand dollars for a top-of-the-line model.Projectors can provide a larger display size for a lower initial cost. However, high-quality 4K projectors can be significantly more expensive than comparable TVs.
Additional EquipmentTVs are standalone devices, so no additional equipment is necessary unless you want to enhance your audio setup with a soundbar or surround sound speakers.Projectors often require extras like a screen or a wall mount, and for quality audio, an external speaker system is needed. These additions can increase the overall cost.
MaintenanceTVs require little to no maintenance. With no lamps to replace and only occasional dusting required, TVs offer a lower-cost upkeep.Projectors need more maintenance due to the bulbs, which can be expensive to replace and don't last as long as a TV's lifespan. Regular cleaning is also necessary to prevent dust from affecting the image quality.

Remember, while projectors can usually offer a larger screen size for a lower initial price, the long-term costs might add up due to maintenance and additional equipment needs. On the other hand, although TVs might come with a higher initial price tag, their maintenance costs are typically lower.

Comparing Specific Models

Let's now dive into a comparison of two specific models, the TCL Class 6-Series 4K Roku Smart TV and the BenQ TH685 Projector.

TCL Class 6-Series 4K Roku Smart TV

The TCL Class 6-Series 4K Roku Smart TV is a top recommendation for those who prefer a TV over a projector. With its impressive features, this TV offers an excellent viewing experience.

TCL Class 6-Series 4K Roku Smart TV

It boasts a 4K resolution, which means you'll enjoy stunningly detailed and sharp images. The Dolby Vision HDR technology enhances the picture quality by adjusting the light and color dynamically.

Plus, with its built-in Roku functionality, you have access to various streaming services and apps right from your TV's interface. So whether you're watching movies or playing video games, the TCL Class 6-Series provides exceptional visuals and convenience in one package.

Features & Description

The TCL Class 6-Series 4K Roku Smart TV is a highly recommended option for those who prefer a TV for their home theater setup. Here are the key features and description of this outstanding television:

  1. 4K Resolution: The TCL Class 6-Series TV boasts an impressive 4K Ultra HD resolution, delivering stunning clarity and sharpness to every scene.
  2. Dolby Vision HDR: With Dolby Vision HDR technology, this TV provides enhanced contrast, vibrant colors, and incredible detail, resulting in a truly immersive viewing experience.
  3. Roku Smart Platform: This TV comes with built-in Roku technology, offering easy access to a wide range of streaming channels and apps, including popular ones like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and more.
  4. High Dynamic Range (HDR) Performance: The TCL 6-Series utilizes HDR10 technology to deliver bright highlights and deep blacks, ensuring that every image on the screen is visually striking.
  5. Wide Color Gamut: Thanks to its advanced panel technology and NBP Photon technology support, this TV offers a wide color gamut that accurately reproduces lifelike colors with rich saturation.
  6. Full Array Local Dimming: This feature enhances contrast by independently dimming individual areas of the screen. It helps create deeper blacks and improved overall picture quality.
  7. Auto Game Mode: Gamers will appreciate the dedicated Auto Game Mode which automatically optimizes settings for responsive gameplay with low input lag.
  8. Voice Control: The TCL Class 6-Series supports voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled devices, allowing you to easily navigate through menus or search for your favorite content using just your voice.
  9. Multiple HDMI Ports: With multiple HDMI ports available on this TV, you can easily connect gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, soundbars, or other peripheral devices without the need for additional equipment like an HDMI splitter or switcher.
  10. Sleek Design: The TCL Class 6-Series features a sleek and modern design with slim bezels and a premium brushed metal finish, making it an attractive addition to any living room or home theater setup.

Pros & Cons

With its stunning 4K resolution, Dolby Vision HDR, and integrated Roku, the TCL Class 6-Series 4K Roku Smart TV has its fair share of impressive features. However, like any product, it also has some drawbacks. Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of this popular TV model.

The TCL Class 6-Series 4K Roku Smart TV delivers crystal-clear 4K resolution, making every detail stand out in high definition.Unlike projectors, TVs like the TCL Class 6-Series may not provide a cinematic, large-screen experience for movie buffs.
It supports Dolby Vision HDR, enhancing the contrast and color spectrum for a richer, more dynamic viewing experience.While TVs typically have a better image quality, this model might not perform well in brightly lit rooms due to light reflection on the screen.
This TV comes with a built-in Roku, offering a plethora of entertainment options from popular streaming services.Despite having built-in Roku, some users might not prefer the automatic content recognition feature and may want to opt-out, which can be a bit tricky.
It offers various connectivity options like HDMI and Ethernet ports, granting users flexibility in setting up their home entertainment system.Compared to projectors, this TV may require more space for installation and might not be the best fit for smaller rooms.
The user interface is simple and intuitive, with a remote control that has dedicated buttons for popular streaming service.The built-in speakers may not live up to the audio quality expectations of some users, who might prefer external sound solutions.

As we can see, the TCL Class 6-Series 4K Roku Smart TV is a fantastic choice for those seeking high-quality visuals, smart features, and multiple connectivity options. However, size considerations and personal preferences over image and sound qualities may make projectors a better fit for others.

BenQ TH685 Projector

The BenQ TH685 Projector is a high-quality home theater projector that offers stunning image quality and immersive viewing experience.

BenQ TH685 Projector

Features & Description (BenQ TH685 Projector)

The BenQ TH685 projector is a highly recommended option for anyone looking to create an immersive home theater experience. Here are the key features and a detailed description of this impressive projector:

  1. Large Screen Size: With the BenQ TH685 projector, you can enjoy a cinematic experience with a screen size of up to 200 inches. This larger-than-life display will bring your movies, TV shows, and video games to life like never before.
  2. Full HD Resolution: The BenQ TH685 boasts a native resolution of 1080P, ensuring sharp and crystal-clear images on the big screen. You won't miss any details, making it perfect for enjoying action-packed movies or playing immersive video games.
  3. High Brightness and Contrast: This projector offers high brightness levels of up to 3500 ANSI lumens, allowing you to enjoy vibrant colors even in well-lit rooms. The contrast ratio of 10,000:1 ensures deep blacks and richly saturated colors for an exceptional visual experience.
  4. HDR Support: The BenQ TH685 supports HDR (High Dynamic Range) content, enhancing the overall picture quality by delivering more realistic colors and improved contrast. Whether you're watching HDR-enabled movies or playing HDR-supported games, this projector will make every scene come alive.
  5. Low Input Lag: Gamers will appreciate the low input lag feature of the BenQ TH685 projector. With a response time as low as 8ms, you can enjoy fast-paced gaming without experiencing any noticeable delays or lag.
  6. Dual HDMI Connectivity: The BenQ TH685 comes equipped with two HDMI ports, allowing you to connect multiple devices such as Blu-ray players, gaming consoles like Sony's PlayStation 5 or Microsoft's Xbox Series X, and even streaming devices for easy access to your favorite streaming services.
  7. Easy Setup and Installation: Setting up the BenQ TH685 is a breeze thanks to its user-friendly interface and easy-to-follow instructions. You can quickly adjust the image size and position using the manual zoom and vertical keystone correction features.
  8. Smart Connectivity: With the BenQ TH685, you can enjoy hassle-free streaming with its built-in Wi-Fi capability. Access popular streaming services, such as Netflix and YouTube, directly from the projector using its integrated apps or connect a media streamer like Amazon's Fire TV Stick 4K or Roku Streaming Stick+ for even more content options.
  9. Long Lamp Life: The BenQ TH685 utilizes a durable lamp that can last up to 10,000 hours in Eco mode, ensuring years of uninterrupted entertainment without the need for frequent bulb replacements.
  10. Compact and Portable Design: Despite its powerful performance, the BenQ TH685 is surprisingly compact and portable. Whether you want to set it up in your living room or take it outdoors for a movie night under the stars, this projector offers flexibility and convenience.

Pros & Cons (BenQ TH685 Projector)

The BenQ TH685 Projector is a top-notch piece of technology that can enhance your home theater experience. Let's dig into some of its key strengths and weaknesses.

Offers Full HD 1080p resolution for sharp and detailed visualsAlthough it supports 4K, it's not native 4K, which means it doesn't deliver the same level of detail as a true 4K projector
Produces a brightness of 3500 ANSI lumens, making it suitable for rooms with ambient lightIt might still struggle to perform in very brightly lit rooms
Low input lag makes it excellent for gamingContrast ratio is good but not the best in its class
Equipped with powerful built-in speakers for decent audio outputFor a true surround sound experience, you'll still need an external speaker system
Portable design enables you to move it easily or use it for outdoor movie nightsInstallation might be a bit challenging as it requires a perfectly aligned screen or wall
Comes with a competitive price tag for the features it offersThere can be added costs for screens if you choose to invest in one

Weighing these pros and cons can help you decide if the BenQ TH685 Projector is the right fit for your specific needs.

Choosing the Right Display Technology for Your Needs

If you're looking for a more immersive viewing experience with monster-sized screens and don't mind the installation process, projectors offer an affordable option.

However, if you prioritize convenience, better sound quality, and lower overall costs, then TVs are likely the better choice. Consider factors such as room size, image quality, sound requirements, smart features, portability needs, and budget before making your decision.


What Are the Advantages of Using a Home Theater Projector?

Using a home theater projector allows for larger screen sizes, creating an immersive viewing experience similar to what you would find in a movie theater. Projectors also offer more versatility in terms of placement and can be easily adjusted to fit different room sizes.

Are Projectors Better Than TVs for Watching Movies at Home?

Projectors are often preferred for watching movies at home due to their ability to create a large, cinematic display. However, it's important to consider factors such as ambient light and the quality of the projection surface when determining whether a projector or TV is better suited for your specific needs.

What Are the Benefits of Choosing a TV Over a Projector?

TVs generally provide brighter and sharper images compared to projectors, making them well-suited for well-lit rooms or environments where precise image quality is crucial, such as gaming or sports viewing. Additionally, TVs tend to be more user-friendly and require less maintenance compared to projectors.

Can I Use Both a TV and a Projector in My Home Theater Setup?

Absolutely! Many homeowners choose to have both a TV and a projector in their home theater setup for added flexibility. This allows them to enjoy high-quality display options depending on their preferences and the type of content they want to watch

  • Anonymous
    2023-08-15 02:08:48

    my TV only lasted for 3 months

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