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Television vs. projection: what’s right for me?

How to determine the best viewing solution for you and your viewing space

Television vs. projection: what’s right for me?

With the ever-increasing popularity of open floor plans, entertaining spaces are growing larger and larger.  With the increase in room size, larger and larger televisions are becoming available and increasingly affordable.  For many people, there is an intersection in terms of size where you might ask yourself, “Is projection or a traditional television is right for me?”

While there isn’t a clear-cut answer to this question, there are a number of variables that should help make the decision a little bit easier.  Consideration of all of these variables will help you determine whether a traditional flat-panel television is the right solution, or if opting for a projection solution might provide a bit better bang for your buck. 


Consider the room

The room that you’re considering viewing your new display solution is arguably the most important variable to weigh.  Is the room large or small?  Is the room meant for entertaining or is it a dedicated viewing space?  Are the ceilings low or high?  Is the viewing wall sufficiently-sized and are there any obstacles (shelves, cabinets, mantels) that might interfere with screen?  These are all important points, and realistically, once answered will make the decision a bit easier for you.

We’ve had a lot of success installing projection systems in large and small rooms – indoors and out.  We’ve installed them in rooms that are oddly-shaped, and in situations where screen-size had to be perfect due to shelving surrounding the screen.  In many of these cases, what our client wanted to achieve was a much larger screen size and a more cinema-like experience.  All of this being said, sometimes a flat-panel television is ultimately the correct solution.

Consider the ambient light

We’ve seen a variety of situations where someone desires to place a projection system in a room where there are a lot of windows and consequently, a lot of ambient light.  A common misconception is that ambient light will make for an extremely poor viewing experience with a projector-and-screen.  Fortunately, technology has come a long way, and this is no longer the case.  With ambient light-rejecting screens (ALR) from Screen Innovations and projectors from Epson and Sony that are outputting an incredible number of lumens (simplified term for a unit of light brightness), it’s possible to have a crystal clear and bright viewing experience in a very well-lit room.

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With projection, it’s also critically important to consider the quality of your screen.  One area of confusion we see when people are shopping for a projection system is that they think that all screens are created equally, or that they can just shine their projector on the wall.  This is something we do our best to put to bed as quickly as we can.  Screens are arguably the most important component in the entire projection system. 

You can have the highest quality 4K projector, but if you’re not projecting onto a quality screen, it will never look as good as it can.  Quality screen manufacturers, such as Screen Innovations, build their screen fabric so that it reflects light from the projector to your eye while eliminating light from within the room.  To this end, you get the sharpest image, the brightest colors and the blackest blacks. 

With flat-panel television solutions, the main consideration is how reflective the screen itself is.  If you have a television with a very shiny screen and it’s placed in a room with a lot of ambient light, you may experience a lot of reflection.  Reflections will obviously have a dramatic negative impact on your viewing experience.  Whenever we mount TVs, we always recommend to our customers that we place them on a tilting wall mount.  By tilting the television down slightly, the reflections from the ambient light in the room will be directed downward, instead of right back into your eyes.  If mounting on a tilting mount is not an option, we recommend purchasing a TV with a matte or glare-eliminating screen, such as the Samsung 4K Frame TV or a 4K option from Sony.

Consider your budget

Last, but certainly not least is your budget.  A common misconception is that projection systems are always more expensive than their flat-panel counterparts.  Thankfully, this isn’t true.  While there is certainly a point of diminishing return on investment when going smaller, it’s almost always less expensive to pursue a projection option when going to a very large screen.  Reach out to us today, and we’ll help guide you through the confusion and come up with a solution that’s perfect for you and your viewing space.

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