Can you use a projector for everyday TV watching?
Sometimes a 65-inch TV isn’t big enough. The easiest way to go bigger is by using a projector. Many end up considering can you use a projector for everyday TV watching?
It’s far cheaper to buy a projector and screen capable of creating a 100-inch image than buying a similarly sized TV (or should that be television, yes, you’d need multiple). In fact, a projector set up is more affordable than upgrading to the next screen size, be that 55- or 65-inch.
And while you might enjoy watching sports and movies on a grand screen, does everyday TV look as good? You might not imagine yourself watching the news or a sitcom on a 100-inch screen, but it’s possible and looks superb. It’s a completely different overall experience.
There is a small caveat. The majority of projectors use a bulb, which has a finite lifespan. And while the LEDs in your TV also have a lifespan, a bulb has a far shorter life. So, you’ll end up changing the bulb more often, which can be expensive.
A big 65-inch TV may impress guests and add more realistic details to movies, but nothing is as jaw-dropping as a hidden projector that’s lowered on demand, while the screen also drops from the ceiling. Imagine how surprised your guests will be when witnessing this in action!
That’s not to say there aren’t cons. But don’t worry, we’ll look at the positives and negatives in detail, allowing you to make an informed decision.
So can you use a projector for everyday TV watching? Yes! But, let’s explore the topic.
Overview of using a projector for everyday TV viewing
Depending on who you ask, some will say using a projector for everyday TV viewing is a great idea. Others will dismiss it as a terrible idea. It’s highly subjective as it depends on the room, who’s watching, the budget, and much more!
Pros of using a projector for watching normal TV
Far more affordable solution
As TV sizes have exploded so have their price. For example, Amazon sells a humongous 86-inch LG TV for just shy of £1,600. And while such a TV will produce an incredible image with real-to-life colours and amazing contrast, it is the price of a small second-hand car!
With some basic calculations, we’re still 14% smaller than a 100-inch picture that most projectors can deliver at 3 meters. At roughly a third of the price of the TV is the XGIMI Elfin, an HD portable projector with a built-in speaker. It can produce an image size of 200 inches.
Even if you purchased a screen, you’d still have plenty of change left, compared to buying the LG. So, if you want to go big, a projector is the way to go!
In the race to build super slim TVs, manufacturers have moved the speakers to the rear. So the sound has to bounce off the wall before returning and reaching your ears. These two issues create a muffled sound that isn’t as cinematic as you might wish for.
Even if your projector has a built-in speaker, you’ll be better offer buying a decent soundbar and subwoofer package as this ensures the sound matches the image quality. By separating the components, you can buy the best of each. And yes, it’s still far cheaper than buying a huge TV!
Some people don’t want their TV always on display. They are quite ugly when turned off unless you have a Samsung gallery TV that doubles as a digital picture frame. A projector and screen can easily be hidden away and automated, so they appear with the press of a button.
Impressive user experience
Content looks more compelling on a big screen. It doesn’t matter if you’re watching sport, the news, a movie or singing karaoke, a huge screen will make you feel even more part of the action.
It makes watching content an experience and not just yet another thing you do to use up hours in the day. You’ll be excited again to get home and watch TV, just like you were as a kid.
As a larger screen takes up more of your visual field, it’s easier on the eyes. So, if you watch a lot of content on a TV and suffer from eye strain, changing to a projector could reduce or remove those issues.
What are the negatives of using a projector for everyday TV viewing?
Watching normal TV on your projector set up could be tricky
Set-top boxes, streaming services, and apps are easier to connect to a TV. Smart TVs typically have plenty of apps available, allowing you to easily access more content than you’ll ever be able to watch.
It might not be as easy to hook up a set-top box to a projector and be able to distribute the audio to a soundbar without having to run long cables or additional gear.
Most set-top boxes only have a single HDMI output, so you’ll either need to use an AV receiver (expensive) or run a cable from the audio output on the projector to your speakers. You might have to position the box in a certain location as it depends on an external source, such as a dish.
That said, using a streaming dongle (Chromecast, Fire TV stick, etc.) can give you access to plenty of content as long as you pay for a subscription. You could use a tablet or laptop. Many have an HDMI output and an audio output, allowing for easy connection.
While you can run long cables, they can be a pain to manage, especially if you have to check them before you use the system. So, you’ll want to consider how you’ll wire the components together to see if it’s possible.
Bulbs are expensive
The average life of a projector bulb is around 2,000 hours, which might sound like a lot, but can quickly add up if you’re using your projector daily to watch TV. The situation is worst if you enjoy having the TV on in the background while cooking or taking a call.
Without realising it, you could have your projector turned on for 8 hours per day, which quickly adds up to 2000 hours after just 250 days. So you’d need a new bulb every 9 months or so. Bulbs can be expensive and tricky to change.
Of course, the market is full of LED projectors that use long-lasting LED lamps over the traditional low-life incandescent bulbs. Some LED bulbs offer around 30,000 hours of use. So, even if your projector is on for 8 hours per day, you could potentially use it for 10 years.
It doesn’t take a genius to realise that 10 years (LED bulb) is far better than 9 months (incandescent bulb). So, you might find this negative isn’t an issue if you buy an LED-powered projector.
While the cost of bulbs is high. You might find the actual running cost of a projector is a little cheaper compared to a Television. And as every little helps, this is welcome news.
More complicated audio set up
TVs combine all you need to watch content. They have a display and speakers built-in. Many projectors claim to have built-in speakers, but they leave much to be desired. Often they are cheap-sounding with tinny highs and non-existent lows.
If your television has front-facing speakers optimised to handle the entire frequency spectrum, it will sound far better than any projector alone.
Of course, you can use additional speakers with a projector. However, it can be hard to position speakers correctly or know what ones to use without investing hundreds of pounds. And this is without having to run cables.
You could use your projector with an AV receiver, but they are expensive and require a 5.1 speaker set up, pushing the price up further. And while you can get away with using a soundbar and an optional subwoofer, you’ll still need to run lengthy cables.
With all of these audio situations, a new TV could seem like child’s play as it’s all there from the start.
Can you use a projector for everyday TV watching?
Let’s return to our open question: Can You Use a Projector for Everyday TV Watching? While the answer is yes, it doesn’t mean you should!
Joking aside. For most people using a projector rather than a TV is a superb and compelling option. If you’re saving for a larger TV, you might have enough funds to buy a projector, soundbar and screen.
You’ll find the viewing experience is enhanced, and your eyes feel better after. Plus, the cost is less. One bonus is you can easily move your projector to the garden for days filled with sports and a BBQ or movies at night.
You can also easily transport it to a friend’s house without fear of damaging it. Something you can’t do with a TV. A small bump could spell disaster for your TV! So we recommend investing in a projector rather than a bigger TV. Trust us, the experience is far better!