Gaming Projector vs TV – Pros and Cons


What We Have Covered

It’s a familiar problem gamers have to wrestle with these days. To switch to Projection, or not to switch, that is the question. And it’s a difficult one because many gamers are also wrestling with a budget, so they have to choose wisely. Well, being the really cool guy that I am, I decided to give you all a helping hand by writing this article about the advantages or disadvantages of the gaming projector vs TV. Then you can all go sit quietly in your armschairs weighing up the options before ultimately making a big leap into the world of projection, or sticking with your tried and trusted Television. So, without further delay, let us proceed:


Dude, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you’ve changed

Portability is the word of the Millennium. Everybody wants it and they’ll do anything to get it. Unfortunately TV’s are by no means portable. TV’s simply don’t cater for the modern gamer who needs something they can carry around easily to other places. We’ve changed in a big way. We’re no longer content with packing up our Games Console and taking it to a buddies house where we’d have to make do with whatever TV set he had. Now we want to take our big screen with us as well. We want the same experience on our travels as we get at home. You might be happy with your brand new 50 inch flat screen, but if you want to go somewhere else and play games, you might end up with their 14 inch relic of the 1990’s. With Projectors you always get YOUR giant images wherever you go because unlike TV’s, you can fit them into your pocket. Or, at least a bag. Some are even portable enough for you to play games outside. Try carrying your TV 30 feet into the back garden.


Feel the need, the need for speed.

Gamers love speed. We always did but only recently has technology caught up with our desires. The best Projectors and TV’s will progress seamlessly between frames at a very fast-pace. Enabling you to avoid having your game character perform an action 5 seconds after you pressed the button. We’re going to talk about Projector Types, Refresh Rates and Lag time here so that you can best understand the differences between Projectors and TV’s where speed is concerned.

Projector Types

You can get DLP, LED, or LCD Projectors but to get a real advantage over a TV Set in terms of speed and picture quality you’re looking for a DLP Gaming Projector. These have less Motion Blur in fast-paced environments and often produce more better sequences of frames than their rivals.

Refresh Rates

A Refresh Rate is how often a brand new frame appears. It’s measured in Hertz. The more Hertz you have the faster your device is. Both TV’s and Projectors come with either 60HZ or 120HZ and for gaming you’re really looking for 120 for that fast arcade experience. Interestingly you can get a 120HZ Projector for half the price of a flat screen TV so the winner here is the Projector.

Lag Time

It’s not every second that counts, it’s every Millisecond. A millisecond is one-thousandth of a second and it can mean the difference between success or failure in gaming. Lag Time is how quickly a signal produces an image on screen and it’s measured in Milliseconds. The fastest TV’s have Lag Times of 10-20 Milliseconds. The fastest Projectors have Lag Times of between 20 and 30 Milliseconds. This translates to a speed difference of about 1 frame. So Projectors will be one frame behind in terms of speed. You’re looking for a Projector that has the words ‘no Lag Time’ in the product description. They all have Lag Time so pay no attention to that claim, but it does mean it’s more likely to be among the fastest available. If you get a 120HZ Projector with a stated ‘no Lag Time’ in the product description then you really won’t lose any speed, and you’ll inherit a huge 300 inch screen to play games on.


Fun Fact: The fastest Projector is the Sony VPL-HW40ES


The Foot-Lambert situation

No, i didn’t just make up that word. It’s a real word. Gamers these days also want to play for longer. They want play closer so that they’re consumed by the images. Have you ever wondered why playing games for many hours on a TV causes your head to hurt and sometimes your eyes? It’s all to do with Foot-Lamberts. A Foot-Lambert is a measure of how intense brightness is when it radiates from your screen. A TV will project 80 or more Foot-Lamberts. Projectors have on average between 30-40, so we’re talking brightness that is less concentrated and better spaced-out over the large screen, making it less harmful. The light that radiates out from Projectors has half of the intensity of light from TV’s, and so you can play longer without discomfort.


Speaking of Brightness

While the brightness in Projectors is less harmful because it has less Foot-Lamberts, you still need enough of it to beat out a TV. Anything less than 2500 Lumens and I’d stay stick with the TV. At less than 2500, you’re not going to be able to play games out side while there’s some light left in the day. You’re also not going to be playing games with much light in the room. A TV however would be fine outside in the sunlight and with the light on inside. With a Projector that has under 2000 Lumens you’ll be sitting in the dark like a bunch of burglars who decided on a game of Call of Duty before making their escape. So to beat out a TV, you need 2500 plus Lumens. Then you can make the jump. At 2500, you can set-up outside playing of 300 inches of screen in the evening, and you can get a nice picture with some ambient light present. You can throw up images that are bigger and better than your TV set, without waiting for a pitch black environment.


The Projection Trump Card

The trump card of the Projection world is their ability to produce 3D images for half the cost of a 3D TV Set. The technology is more complex with TV’s so manufacturing is more labor intensive and therefore costs go up. So if you have any interest in not taking up bank robbery in your pursuit of playing games in 3D then a Projector is really your only option. You must get a DLP Projector though because these produce the sharpest images and of course your Projector needs to be 1080p for it to be able to produce real 3D. And you should also remember that 3D is worthless if you have less than a 120HZ Refresh Rate. But, if you get all of these things, then great 3D gaming is very possible in Projection for not much money.



While you lose a few Milliseconds to Lag I’d still recommend Projectors over TV’s for playing games because of all the good stuff you do get. The Refresh Rate on Projectors is equal to that of TV’s at between 60 and 120HZ, and it’s cheaper. The screen-size is much bigger on Projectors and you can get up to 300 inches of gaming space. 50 inches is the standard for TV’s. 3D is easier and cheaper than on TV’s, the light is less harmful and provided you get enough Lumens, you can view a giant screen outside in the evening if you have a Projector. You can also take it over to a friends house without having to settle for playing World of Warcraft on his 32 inch. Remember the specifications. You need 120HZ, 3D, Portability, Low Lag Time (20 Milliseconds), 1080p, 3000 Lumens or more, and DLP. These specs are what makes a great gaming Projector and if you’;re going to make the leap into Projection then you want greatness right? Thank you for reading.

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