Is it a good time now to buy a projector instead of a big-screen TV?

QuestionsIs it a good time now to buy a projector instead of a big-screen TV?
Jepson Teoh asked 10 months ago

Dick, do you think now is a good time to buy a projector instead of a large-screen TV? After all, cost-wise they are quite close. What would you recommend for someone who has an RM10,000 budget for front projection and 100-in screen?

1 Answers
Dick Tan answered 10 months ago

Dear Jepson
The truth of the matter is that the two piece projection system (projector and screen) has been a viable display option for quite a number of years now.
The other truth is that cost-wise, the front projector system can, be very much more affordable to own.
Lets say, for reference reasons, we compare a 70-80 inch diagonal width LCD TV with a native 1920 x 1080p resolution to a projector system with the same resolution.
The former will set you back at least anywhere from RM6,000 to RM12,000. Similarly sized TVs with UHD resolution will easily cost 40-70% more.
At today’s going rate a 1080p resolution format projector system can start as low as RM3,700 for the projector. If you are really tight on the budget that projector can be fired on a clear white/grey wall for a decent watchable picture with sizes anywhere from 60-150″ diagonal width in a 16.9 aspect ratio configuration.
That in a nutshell is perhaps one of the greatest attraction of the front projection system, the ability to configure the size of the picture to your preference. With the large screen TV where the size is constant that’s an impossibility.
One can of course acquire a larger TV (size of up to almost 100″ is available) but the question of cost comes into play again. And we a talking stratospheric price range territory !
If your budget can squeeze in a screen, a good one with a 100″ diagonal screen size can be had for as little as RM700 – RM1,000.
That will put your total cost at approximately RM4,700 – RM5,000 max inclusive of installation, I think.
The difference between a decent screen and a bare wall is the former will generally return a better contrast, improved colour pallette and visual detail. In some cases the screen will also produce a higher level of picture brightness.
My attempt to answer to your queries is not an attempt to bash big screen digital TVs , it is only to point out the obvious difference.
As such, do consider this, something not in favour of projector systems. It will often require some form of compromises to operate optimally. One, you would need some degree of room light ambience control. While today’s high brightness projectors among even entry level designs are more tolerant of room ambient light, a small amount of light control can mean the difference between an adequate visual performance and a great one.
A modern large screen digital TV on the other hand is almost impervious to the effects of normal ambient light in a room.
In short, while a digital TV will just about go everywhere, a projection system at most instances will require some form of ambient light control for optimum performance.
One other factor, most projectors operate with lamps for its light source. These lamps have an operational life span lasting, depending on how its set-up, from 3,000 to 5,000 hours. It is obvious that the lamps require changes and cost vary from RM700 – 1000 for most budget level projectors.
Digital TVs , with its rear self lighting system do not face such handicap, lasting typically anywhere between 40,000 to 60,000 hours.
Check out competing projectors from Epson, BenQ, Optoma, Viewsonic, Sony and Vivitek for the price point that will interest you.

JEPSON TEOH replied 10 months ago

Thank you Dick for your insightful answer. As I am writing this I am thinking perhaps a 65 inch LED/OLED TV could be the better option overall in terms of maintenance cost and ease of installation. The only downside is the size but 65 inch is a pretty good compromise. I just have to sit nearer to the TV.

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