Projector vs TV: Key Differences and Similarities

Tyler Lacoma Profile image

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Updated February 8, 2023

Home theaters are exciting projects, especially for watching movies and playing games on a big screen. But, are you considering a TV or a projector as your entertainment device? The choice between a projector vs TV depends on your needs, but there are key differences between the two. Size, picture quality, cost, portability, and maintenance are some of the main differences. They are similar in the way that they both provide a quality viewing experience, and costs can depend on size and resolution.

If you opt for a TV vs a projector instead, you may be wondering if you have the space for a large TV. And, how many lumens a projector should have to deliver the quality you expect? For example, the best home theater projector will be clearer and brighter than the ones available just a few years ago.

On the other hand, LCD TVs and HD TVs, in general, are bigger, have better resolution, and now stream in 4k HDR. Both options have their share of advantages and drawbacks. Cables, surface space, and connectivity issues are just a few to name. However, there are a few areas you should give special consideration to as you decide between a projector vs. outdoor TV.

Also, if you’re using a projector for teaching, you’ll want to find the top-rated projector for a classroom. We recommend comparing DLP vs 3LCD projectors and home theater vs business projectors to get you started.


TVs have come a long way in just the past decade, especially in regard to screen size. For instance, TVs with big screens used to set you back tens of thousands of dollars. Now you can find one for just a few thousand.

On the other hand, the screen size of a projector can start at around 120 inches. Nowadays, you can find a reliable projector with a sharp image, excellent picture quality, and a positive viewing experience, all for less than a grand.

Even though TVs are still the most popular option, if you want a high-end home theater with a big screen, your best bet is a projector.


An OLED TV, a flat-screen, and 4K TVs have a wide color gamut and HDR capabilities. But what kind of image quality will you get with a 4K projector? Unfortunately, in this category, projectors just don’t stack up.

4K projectors exist, but the cost you’re going to get is not nearly as equitable as it would be if you spent the same money on a 4K TV and sound system.


When it comes to in-home theater projectors, brightness is a huge factor. This result is primarily due to the perception that your projector will largely depend on the room’s level of light or darkness. Your projector image will need to be brighter if you have more ambient light in the room. This feature prevents the picture from washing out.

Brightness can drive up the cost of your projector in a hurry, so give special consideration to the room in which you’re planning on using it. Plus, there’s the added cost of potentially replacing a burnt-out bulb, which isn’t something you have to worry about with a TV.

However, projector screens are easier on the eyes than a TV screen. Still, no matter where you’re watching, you’ll probably want to stick with a TV when it comes to a vibrant and vivid picture.


As you can see, there are plenty of items to consider when thinking about whether you should go with a big-screen TV or a high-quality project. We didn’t even touch on contrast, installation, color accuracy, or sound quality. There are many pieces to think about as you make your decision.

Overall, it really comes down to what you need in your home. You’ll know better than anyone, which makes more sense. Either way, it’s easy to see how far these two high-tech home-theater hardware has come.

Beth Huston Profile image