Are Projectors Better than TVs?

Are Projectors Better than TVs? Our Verdict

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Get Smarter On Architecture and Design

Get the 3-minute weekly newsletter keeping 5K+ designers in the loop.

Enter your Email to Sign up


Are projectors better than TVs?

The choice depends on what you want to use your display device for and what experience you’re looking for. Projectors have several advantages over TVs. To begin with, they provide you with a larger screen and a more immersive viewing experience. They are also generally more portable than TVs if you want to have outdoor activities.

On the other hand, projectors work best in a dark environment which can limit your experience if you want to place one in your well-lit living room. Also, projectors are not as convenient for use on a daily basis as TVs are.

There are other factors to look at, which we’ll do in a minute. However, the choice between a projector and a TV lies on your preferences, the environment you want to place your display device in, and the experience you want to have.

Projectors Vs. TVs: Guiding Factors to Consider

Are projectors better than TVs?

Let’s compare projectors to TVs by looking at some important factors.

1. Brightness

brightness of a projector vs. TV

TVs take the win when it comes to brightness because you can easily adjust the brightness, and the ambient light does not determine your experience with them.

Although you can adjust the brightness of a projector, too much brightness in the viewing room can sometimes cause the image to be washed out.

Other factors determine how well your viewing experience with a projector will be despite its high brightness setting. For example, you may still need to darken your room for a better viewing experience despite being able to increase the brightness.

Therefore, if you want to be able to use your display device in any room, no matter how much ambient light there is, we recommend getting a TV.

On the other hand, you could get an affordable 4K TV for your living room and a high-quality projector for your bedroom.

Winner: TVs

2. Contrast

 a TV playing in a living room

Contrast is a function of brightness. However, before we decide that TVs automatically win because they win at brightness, let’s talk about contrast as its own factor.

So, the battle for which display device wins at contrast depends on which one wins against ambient light.

Contrast is the difference between the luminance of the darkest black and the brightest white on your screen. So, basically, the bigger the difference, the greater the contrast.

Your device’s high contrast ratio means you’ll see deeper blacks, improving the image quality.

So, when it comes to projectors vs. TVs, the one that wins is the one whose contrast won’t be greatly affected by the ambient light in the room. So, for example, if your room has daylight streaming in, most projectors cannot provide the needed contrast to maintain good picture quality.

On the other hand, although the TV screen may still be affected, it won’t be as much as what happens with the projector.

Winner: TVs

3. Screen Size

TV for projector's screen size

It goes without saying that projectors take the prize regarding screen size. The best 4K projector on a proper projector screen will give you an immersive experience. You’ll honestly feel like you are part of the movie or game you are playing.

Projectors can be as big as 300 inches, while typical TVs are often as big as 100 inches. Therefore, if you’re looking for the best bang for your buck regarding screen size, we recommend getting a high-quality projector.

However, remember that a big part of a projector experience depends on having a good projector screen. You can invest in a projector made from white blackout cloth, PVC, polyester, or plastic.

If you need tips on setting up your projector screen, check out our guide on hanging a projector screen.

Winner: Projectors

4. Resolution

are projectors better than TVs?

You can get a 4K experience with a projector and a 4K TV. However, if you want to enjoy the 4K resolution viewing experience to the maximum, consider getting a projector.

This is because the bigger screen size will allow you to enjoy the experience a lot more. In fact, you’ll feel like you’re getting more value for your money with a 4K projector than with a TV.

Nonetheless, ensure that you check other specs on the display device you’re getting and the resolution for the best experience.

Winner: Projectors for 4K quality viewing on a large screen

5. Color Accuracy

color accuracy on a TV

Both TVs and projectors have good color accuracy. However, TVs take the win if we’re looking at the price-to-performance ratio.

Nonetheless, it’s still important to know which projectors have the best color accuracy to make the best choice if you want a projector.

The best projectors when it comes to color accuracy are laser projectors. However, laser projectors are also the most expensive, which can make them inaccessible on a budget.

The other types of projectors that have amazing color accuracy include Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) projectors and LED projectors. LED projectors use light-emitting diodes to project the image on the screen.

Winner: TVs

6. Gaming

gaming with a TV vs. projector

The choice of whether to get a TV or projector for gaming depends on the size of the screen you want. If you want a screen that’s bigger than 60 inches, go for a projector.

On the other hand, if the size isn’t really a factor and you don’t mind gaming with a display device less than 60 inches, go for a TV.

TVs will give you better value for your money when working with smaller screens. Although, ultra-short throw projectors are comparable.

Winner: Draw

7. Sound Quality

speaker next to a TV

TVs come with better built-in speakers than projectors. In fact, the few projectors that come with their own speakers cannot hold a candle to TV speakers.

Therefore, TVs take the win if we consider sound quality an independent factor.

However, if you’re looking for the whole home theater experience with a surround sound system, projectors may be a better fit because of the immersive experience.

Winner: TVs

8. Installation

installed TV

The only way projectors can win in this case is if you go for a short-throw projector. Otherwise, this is a straight win for TVs.

The installation process for a TV is a one-time thing and something you can do on your own. Even if you need to hire extra help, the process will be cheap and not as complicated as with a projector.

When installing a projector, there are several factors to consider even before you click the buy button to get the best laser projector.

For example, you need to countercheck that you have enough space to place your projector screen, choose the right projector screen, and decide how your cables will run, and so on.

Once you’ve gotten your projector and it’s time to install it, you’ll need to position your projector, set up the screen properly, set up the HDMI cable or get a wireless transmitter, and much more.

These activities are not only complicated and require planning, but they also add to the cost of your projector.

Even if you choose short-throw or ultra-short-throw projectors, they will still dent your pocket and require some planning. The process may not be as complicated as with other projectors, but it’s still more than with TVs.

Winner: TVs

9. Outdoor Use

people watching outdoors using a projector

A projector works best if you plan on taking your display device out of your home for outdoor activities. In fact, if you plan on making outdoor activities a frequent thing, we recommend getting the best projector for outdoor movies for a smoother experience.

TVs are easy to install, making them harder to move around. Therefore, get yourself a portable projector and projector screen that you can use during your outdoor activities

Winner: Projectors

10. Smart Features

smart features on a TV

With the growth of technology every day, it’s no surprise that today’s projectors have smart features such as voice assistance and streaming apps.

For example, Samsung projectors use the Tizen OS to provide you with a great user experience on your projector, and Hisense projectors provide Android/ Google TV to their users.

This means projectors can go toe to toe with TVs regarding smart features.

Winner: Draw

11. Viewing Experience

movie playing using a projector

Projectors take the win here because of the immersive experience they give their viewers.

The large screen, coupled with features such as brightness, resolution, and more, allows you to easily feel like you’re in a movie cinema when using a projector.

Nonetheless, kindly note that the viewing experience can also be affected by other factors outside the display device, such as ambient light in the room.

Winner: Projectors


Are projectors better than TVs?

Are projectors better than TVs? They can be, depending on the type of display device you have, the environment you’re viewing it in, and what you are using it for.

Therefore, before you decide, establish what you’ll be using your display device for and the environment you want to place it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Projectors Vs. TVs

Frequently Asked Questions About Projectors Vs. TVs

1. Is it better to use a TV in the living room instead of a projector?

Yes. TVs tend to have a higher brightness than projectors, meaning their images will not be washed out.

Projectors are best suited for use in a dark room where their brightness will be appreciated.

If you’re really intent on using your projector in the living room, we recommend that you get blackout curtains for your living room or use other measures to keep your room dark. This will give you the best viewing experience, even in the daytime.

2. Is a 4K projector better than a 4K TV?

For viewing experience, a 4K projector does perform better than a 4K TV. This is because the large screen allows you to enjoy the full potential of the 4K feature.

In fact, some argue that you’ll get better value for your money if you go with a 4K projector instead of a 4K TV. Let us know what you think.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Related Articles

How Long Do Projector Bulbs Last (Detailed Review)

Did you know that a projector’s bulb is the device’s primary component? If the bulb fails, the projector cannot function. ...

How to Connect Phone to Projector Devices: Full Guide

Using a projector for meetings allows your audience to follow along with your presentation. Once you have prepared slides on ...

Best Projector for Gaming for the Best User Experience

Playing video games on a projector for gaming is not something new. However, the appeal of playing immersive games on ...