Big-Screen TVs vs. Projectors

Evan Powell, February 1, 2001

One of the big questions you face when planning a new home theater is whether to get a rear-projection TV (RPTV), or a two-piece system consisting of a front projector and screen. If you are at this point in the planning process, read on. As you will see, both approaches have benefits and limitations.

The appeal of Rear-Projection TV

There certainly is a great deal of consumer appeal for RPTVs these days. And it's easy to understand. Part of it is due to the simplicity of the product. After all, what could be easier than getting a bigger TV? If you want a larger image with no muss and fuss, it can be ordered at any local big-screen retailer and delivered within a day or two. As long as you've got the space, you are in business with almost no effort.

Also, part of the appeal of RPTVs is the impression created by big-screen retailers that RPTVs are cheaper than front projection systems. While that may be true in the retail store, it is not true on the Internet as we will discuss momentarily. We will see that at most given budget levels, front projectors will deliver a much more cinema-like experience for the money.

Clearly there is a market for both types of home theater solutions. From a practical perspective your room size has a lot to do with determining which approach is best for you. If you don't have a large viewing room, a 40" to 60" diagonal TV will probably be plenty. In this case, the rear-projection solution is more practical assuming you can fit the box into the space.

But if you want the large screen cinema experience and your room size will allow it, front projection is the way to go. Front projectors are made to produce screen images in the range of 70" to 120" diagonal or more. Once people realize they can get a picture up to four times the size for the same money as a good RPTV, it opens up a whole new world of entertainment possibilities.

So let's take a closer look at the advantages and limitations of RPTVs vs. projectors. Hopefully we can help you make the best choice for your particular situation.

Contents: Rear Projection TV Appeal The Good and The Bad Aspect Ratio Management RPTV Compromises
  Best Format for You Pricing Considerations