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Projectors Vs Widescreen TV: Which Is Best?

Overview: Have you been looking for a bigger TV recently? Can’t work out whether you should get a 50” or a 55” screen? If this sounds like you, then you may want to check out the world of projectors. Why, you ask? How about 100” + screen sizes for starters. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of using a projector rather than a regular widescreen TV.

For many, having a big TV means searching their favourite electronics store for the widest possible LCD before being quickly horrified by the price. This is either followed by stumping up a huge amount of cash, or by choosing a smaller TV than was wanted. Neither of these options are ideal, but what can you do? A possible answer can be found with projectors, which offer a larger, cheaper, and arguably higher quality alternative to regular LCDs. But what are the drawbacks of each? And what are the positives? Let’s find out.

Firstly, let’s find out a bit more about what projectors are. Front projectors work using a two piece system where a projector casts an image onto a large screen, which then reflects the image back to the eyes of the viewers. There are three different types of front projector technology available – LCD, DLP, and LCOS.

Projector Pros

Size

This will always be the biggest strength of projector screens. Whereas a large TV will be around 50-60 inches, a large projector will be measured in feet, not inches – yes that’s right, we’re talking 12 foot screens here. With projectors you get the chance to bring the movie theatre quite literally into your living room. In fact, if you want an example of how awesome watching movies on a projector can be, go to your local theatre!

Less Chance of Eye Strain

Often people who are in the market for a big TV are wary of whether the extra screen size with hurt their eyes. However, it’s actually the opposite! One of the main reasons that screens hurt your eyes is because they are one small bright spot in your largely dark field of vision. This is why it can be uncomfortable to read from your smartphone in a dark room, as you have a small and very bright screen taking up a small percentage of your vision field. This means that your pupils are adjusted to the main brightness level, i.e. the dark room, not the phone and because of this your eyes become overexposed to the bright screen. Using a large projector screen actually reduces this effect by taking up a larger percentage of your vision field and by needing a lower overall brightness than a smaller LCD screen. So, if getting “square eyes” is something that you’re worried about, then projector screens could be the way to go!

Space

For the most part, projectors can save a great deal of space. Granted that you’ll have to have a fairly large amount of space to warrant getting one in the first place, the screen is light and can be easily stowed away when not in use – not something that can be said for that 100lb flat screen that your neighbour just bought.

Projector Cons

Ambient Light

Whereas the sheer size of the screen will always be the strong point for projectors, the problem of ambient light will always be its Achilles’ heel. Because projectors work by transmitting your image across the room to your screen, if anything gets in the way of this then your image will inevitably be compromised. While ambient light and reflections can be an annoyance for regular TV users, these elements make using a projector completely impossible. So, if you’re not a fan of blackout curtains and lights-off movie times then projector screens probably aren’t for you. However, many people watch TV in a blacked out basement at night anyway, so this downside may be negligible for some.

Replacement lamps

Almost all projectors use UHP lamps to create the light that makes up the image on the screen. Unfortunately, these lamps eventually have to be replaced and this costs money. To give you an idea, let’s say approximately one lamp every one or two years. This kind of annual cost is not something that you’ll have to deal with if you use a regular flat screen TV, provided that it doesn’t break.

Other cons include small things like not being able to walk in front of the screen, not having in-built speakers (although in built speakers are generally not worth using anyway), and having all your friends demand movie nights at your place.

Bottom Line: Projectors aren’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a big screen and a fantastic viewing experience there are few better options. The main downside is that projectors are simply not compatible with ambient light, and if you like to causally watch TV and don’t like closing the curtains then projectors are probably not for you. However, most people looking for a big time TV screen are after a serious viewing experience and probably already have a designated blackout viewing den with all the added features. For these people, which make up the majority of those faced with the TV versus projector debate, the question should be simple: where is the nearest projector retailer?

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