WHEN IT COMES TO HOME ENTERTAINMENT TECHNOLOGY, IT IS AN EXCITING TIME TO BE ALIVE.
In our world of “new normal,” social distancing, and health cautions, going to the movie theater is less and less common and home entertainment systems are becoming more popular. Why trade your arm and leg for a large popcorn and a drink when you can have the same experience from the comfort of your own home where the snacks are all yours?
If you’re reading this, maybe you’re thinking of building an entertainment room that is the envy of your neighborhood. Maybe you’re thinking, “Should I purchase a TV or should I upgrade to a projector?” This is a great question. TVs and projectors both have their pros and cons, which we’ll dig into below.
First, let us say that televisions are a remarkable invention. They’ve been entertaining families, making kids laugh, and bringing comfort to house-bound individuals for over nine decades. During those early days of TVs, the screens were about the size of a piece of paper. Now you can purchase TVs that are 292” (Samsung’s The Wall). For many of us, a television will always be the way to go.
Pros: As compared to projectors, televisions beat out for brightness, color, and contrast. Why? Because projectors have issues displaying HDR (high dynamic range) content. (There are higher end projectors that shrink this gap, but we will get to that in a bit). In addition, televisions are easier to maintain. As pointed out by CableTV.com, televisions use LEDs which last a long time, meaning that repairing your device is nonexistent. However, projectors use bulbs that can burn out, and they regularly need dusting.
Cons: While the prices of large televisions have gone down over the past decade, they can still be mighty expensive. That 292” Samsung we mentioned above? While the price hasn’t been announced yet, it’s looking like it will be in the six figures. But most folks don’t buy monstrous 292” TVs for their home. A large television for a more regular set-up, let’s say a Sony 85”, will run you around $2,000. Once you pass that 85” threshold, you enter the territory of projectors as it becomes incredibly cost prohibitive to purchase a TV above 85”. That price spike will something like going from $2,000 up to 5 figures.
Projectors have been around, in one form or another, for centuries. But high-quality digital at-home projectors weren’t really a thing until the 2000s. As digital streaming services rose and people started going to the movie theater less (even pre-COVID), home projectors began flying off the shelves. Now it’s not uncommon for a household to have an entertainment room with a projector instead of a TV.
Pros: If you want to go big—and we mean as big as a wall—then projectors are the way to go. While purchasing a 100”-120” screen for your projector will give you optimal viewing, projectors are handy because they can be used on any blank surface. One of the biggest advantages with a projector is that they can disappear. While big TVs are a permanent fixture, projectors are usually tucked away, and if you’re able to invest in a screen, they can be rolled up as well.
Cons: Projectors can vary wildly in price. You can find one for as cheap as $50, but it’s not going to provide you with anything close to that cinematic quality you are going to want. If you’re thinking about purchasing a 4k projector, it will run you anywhere from $2500 to $5,000. And if you don’t have a blank wall and you don’t want to use a sheet, you’ll have to invest in a screen, which adds to the cost. Some projectors have speakers, but they don’t usually compare to the sound of built-in speakers many TVs have, meaning you’ll have to invest in good speakers for your projector system.
Overall, the main thing that we encourage any client to think about when deciding between TV or projector is the “dollars per inch” factor. If you’re looking for that massive movie theater feel, you’re going to want that massive movie theater screen. In this scenario, a projector is probably going to be the way to go (unless, of course, you are hoping to spend $50,000 on a giant TV). The projector is going to offer far more bang for your buck in terms of screen size and provide a more accurate representation of that cinematic feel!
If you are looking for a more low-key family room type of entertainment center, you’ll probably want to go with a TV. When you are using this screen for more than just movie night, the screen size becomes less important. A good TV will provide a whole lot more versatility in what you can use it for, when you can use it, and is significantly easier to maintain.
There is countless augments for either option to make them more suitable for your needs, as well as countless “rule breaking” scenarios in which one or the other may be a better option for an unorthodox use. Your best bet, is to consult with a professional to help you analyze the actual room you’re using and what you want to get out of it. This way, they can give you a personalized and accurate recommendation of the tools you’ll need to make your dream media room a reality!