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As 4K has now become the main resolution for most types of content, the need for bigger screens is more obvious than ever before. That’s because the pixel density of 4K media just doesn’t work on smaller displays if you’re interested in entertainment, meaning movies and television content. For modern living rooms, 4K projectors have many advantages over flat-screen TVs, and in this quick article, we’ll try to give you advice for choosing between a projector and TV. We’ve noticed this has been an increasingly popular topic on social media and forums, notably Reddit. And so, we decided to offer our take on this issue with several points we think you should consider before making a purchase.
The promise of 4K visuals floated around since the early 2010s but only became a mainstream reality in the last couple of years. By now, virtually all TVs sold on the market offer 4K, but the problem is that most of them are simply too small for living room viewing. If you get a 55” or even 65” 4K TV, you really need to sit no further than 2-3 meters away to even begin to experience 4K. Any further than that and you might as well be looking at 1080p. So, you can either sit close to the TV or get a bigger set, but the problem there is that TVs rarely go over 85”. In terms of cost, 85” TVs get very pricey, and the few models that are larger than that truly break the bank to the point that only the very wealthy can afford them.
Conversely, a native 4K projector easily offers up to 200” of the screen for a price that’s nowhere near as high as one of those ultra-expensive TVs. You can easily find 4K projectors that cost the same as good 55” TVs while offering more than twice the screen size. The cost per inch or per pixel, if you will, is much lower with projectors. You get the massive screen with no increase in price and aren’t forced to sit so close to the screen. Thus, you gain a combination of comfort and a genuine 4K experience that’s not diminished by sitting too far from a small screen.
We often find ourselves contrasting monitors and TVs with projectors, which is odd for us because we make all of these devices. But making them means knowing them, and an important thing to keep in mind is that projectors offer a viewing experience that’s a lot gentler on your eyes. If you find yourself suffering from eye fatigue after a long session in front of a monitor or TV, then for your precious entertainment time a projector may be a wise choice.
This is because TVs use self-illuminated images that shoot out directly into your eyes, including a whole bunch of notorious blue light. Sure, there are ways to mitigate that, but most TVs don’t have blue light filters as that would raise their end cost. Projectors don’t need blue light filters because they deliver next to none of that into viewers’ eyes. Projectors use indirectly illuminated images that bounce from a screen or other surface to you. This process naturally reduces blue light.
Certainly, TVs may look brighter and more vivid than a projected image, but not by much if you choose the right projector, and also there’s a downside to that. Bright and vivid images mean more strain on the eyes. We’re not saying go for a dim image, but that projectors have a natural tenderness to the way they deliver visuals.
In a darkened home theater room, a 4K HDR TV stands out so much it’s like staring into the sun sometimes. That doesn’t happen with projectors, regardless of light conditions. After all, when was the last time you had eye fatigue after watching a two or even three-hour movie in the theater? Same thing.
Contemporary 4K projectors are far more compact and lighter than TVs. They’re designed for flexible installation, meaning you can place them pretty much anywhere or choose a ceiling or floor mount, and so forth. With larger TVs (65”-85”), you’re getting a very nice screen but one that’s smaller than projector displays and much bulkier with regards to the device properly. Those TVs are designed to be installed once and only removed when you get a new one. Projectors, on the other hand, can be picked up and carried to another placement area or entirely different room with ease.
Just think of the weight comparison. The native 4K HDR projectors we have in mind clock in at about 4Kg, or 8 pounds. And what about a good 85” 4K HDR TV? Nearly 100 pounds, or 50Kg. That very much says it all right there. We have nothing against TVs, but the larger ones are simply not meant for flexible installment, and certainly not portability, no matter how brilliant their image quality.
It’s mostly true that modern TVs offer simplicity and reliability, and do not need any maintenance over their lifespan. However, if something goes wrong with an essential part, you need to send the entire TV for service or more likely spend money again on a new one.
Projectors by their nature use a much more modular design. With TVs, the panel is so integral to everything that if it goes bad, the whole TV is useless. Even if “going bad” means just a few transistors. There’s no such problem with projectors, and thus far less chance of downtime. The light source or lamp, the mirror array, and the color wheel are all separate parts that can be quickly swapped for new ones without needing to replace the entire projector. Yes, projector lamps aren’t as long-lived as TV panels, but they’re much cheaper to replace and current models last long even if you’re quite the binge-watcher.
We’re sure you already know what the TV experience is like, so if you’re not really happy with that, then it’s definitely time for considering a projector. But in any case, projectors win every time when it comes to big-screen cinematic experiences and sheer viewing comfort. If what you want is a large screen and the ability to sit back, relax, and not worry about image quality so much, then a projector would be a good choice. We can’t deny that TVs work better in well-lit environments, so if your home has plenty of light, perhaps a projector isn’t for you. But if you can swing a dimmer location, we think the epic viewing experience of a projector will be worth it.
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