Projector Vs TV


I was going to make a post about one of my favorite video games - "The Last Of Us", but realized part of my current love of games, shows, and movies has to do with enjoying it on a 120-inch projector screen and not a TV (even if a big one). 

So I figured I needed to make a post: Why Projector? And here it is.

Three common deterrents of projectors are cost, complexity, and scarcity.  My set up, for example, with a 1080p Benq projector, 120-inch fixed frame screen, and some regular 5.1 stereo is less than $1000 combined. The screen was about $225 or $250, projector about 600-650 with extended warranty and stereo I've had for a while already - it's probably 150-200 bucks set, maybe less. Plus about $10-20 for a long audio optical wire. The projector is also 3D ready, but I wear glasses, so never tried it since having glasses over glasses is weird. So cost wise they're quite reasonable. Consider long-term movie going savings and projectors almost pay for themselves (I haven't been to the movies in over a decade).

Here's Soc (short for Socrates) enjoying the CrossFit Games.

One thing is definitely true: setup is quite a bit more tedious than a regular TV, especially if you're running wires through the attic/walls. The projector must be on one side and the screen plus stereo opposite of it all connected by rather long wires. The throw distance needs to be calculated to pick a correct screen size (it's readily available though and not difficult at all).

In our previous house the projector was set up in a corner room, so I just ran the wires through the wire hider down behind the couch (painted the wire hider wall color) and along the walls to the stereo receiver. 

Currently, I have the projector wall mounted, with a wire hider strip running down with the optical audio cable running to the stereo located under the screen and a much shorter HDMI wire running to the PS4 located almost underneath the projector (in the gray cabinet right behind the chair, between the couches).

It's been about 2 years now and I just ran the audio wire on the floor and threw a rug over it. I really should run it all properly through the attic, but I haven't noticed it in a long long time and don't really feel like dealing with the hassle for now. Due to the layout of my house the screen had to go at an angle - making setup a bit more tricky than the other house.

One of my favorite benefits of the projectors is the reflected light off the screen - it's much easier on the eyes. Doesn't feel like my retina's have been scorched after a couple hours of video games or TV (or 8 hrs straight...don't judge me). It does help to black out the room at least partially (or close the blinds/curtains), but there are special projectors for brighter environments if you need it.

If you feel like your room is too small - consider there's short throw projectors that can project a 100-inch image from only 4 feet away. Most projectors have the math of what the size of the projected image will be from various distances. 

And I have to mention just the sheer feeling of something special when you start it up and the movie previews begin and there's no people yelling, no need to go anywhere, no smell of that awful popcorn (unless you like it).

Ten feet of Assassin's Creed Syndicate.

Ten feet of Assassin's Creed Syndicate.

The cost isn't really that much of an issue with projectors as scarcity and perceived complexity - the lack of knowledge about them holds the spread back. 

I got into the projectors by chance - we needed a TV or projector for a seminar presentation years ago at our gym. A gym member and friend of mine gave me his old projector and 84-inch pull-down screen. After the seminar, the friend didn't want the projector or the screen back and said I can just I can keep it for the future ones since he's already got a new screen and projector (the projector was only VGA quality which is 480p or 640x480 aka not very good).

A year or two later, another friend hooked me up with a free Nintendo Wii which I played at home on a tiny 20 inch or so TV (not a flat screen either) which was all we had. At some point, I decided to try out the projector with Wii and got hooked. It was so much better. I remember watching my first Netflix mail-order DVD and being impressed. 

Eventually, the projector burned out and it wasn't worth swapping the bulb - so instead of buying a TV, I ordered a ViewSonic 720p projector (it was about $300 or $350 at that time) and my wife got me a PS3 for Christmas. What a difference it made! 

Once I had to replace the burned out bulb, which is one of the inevitable costs of projectors every 3-5 years (depending on usage), but it's easy to do. Mine was about $100.

Once we moved into our new house in 2015, the ViewSonic projector was getting on in age and I upgraded from a 4:3 screen and 720p projector to a 1080p and 120-inch fixed screen. The fixed screen is fantastic if you have the room - the material is very taut (it's quite a pain to put together for the first time) and the sides are made of black velvet type material for crisper image (it absorbs light very well around the main picture).

The old projector & screen I set up in the master bedroom, but majority of the time I use it now for all my numerous projects.

The projector route for home entertainment - it's a road less traveled, but so worth it!