Last Updated December 11,2018
Sports fans often prefer watching their favorite teams in action at a sports bar. Sports fans love the energy and atmosphere of the place. Whether your establishment is in a cozy neighborhood or at the most buzzing place of the city, you will need a large display, nonetheless.
Sports bars can either opt for televisions or projectors for telecasting sports. Projectors are the economical option of the two as they project large images. A sports bar that may require a dozen televisions to cater to its customers can manage the same with just a couple of projectors.
A wide range of projectors, each with distinct features, are available from different vendors. Choosing the right projector for your sports bar will depend on a few factors. Here are some things to consider that can assist you to choose the best projector for a sports bar.
One of the first things to decide upon when choosing the best projector for a sports bar is the resolution of the projector. Projectors are available in different resolutions the most common of which are XGA (1024x768), 720p (1280x720p), 1080p (1920x1080), and 4K UHD (3840x2160). The higher is the resolution of a projector the better will be the quality of the images it projects. Sports bars should ideally opt for a 1080p projector. These projectors have excellent image quality and are becoming increasingly popular in commercial establishments due to their lowering prices.
4K UHD and True 4K projectors provide unmatched picture quality, but they are relatively expensive. They also need a source that can output 4K digital signal. XGA projectors are the cheapest but project low-quality images. 720p projectors are closer to 1080p projectors in image quality. 1080p projectors are the best option for sports bar out of these resolutions. Most cable and satellite television service providers transmit content in 1080p allowing you to utilize your projector to its full potential.
The second factor that you must pay attention to when choosing the best projector for a sports bar is the size of the images it can project. An advantage with projectors is that you can adjust the size of the images projected by them even though the resolution remains the same. It provides you with the flexibility to adjust the images according to the size of the projection screen or wall. However, manufacturers specify the ideal projection range for their projectors to maintain optimum image quality. The ideal image size for sports bars of different sizes is recommended as:
- For Small Establishments – Up to 80”. - For Medium Establishments – 80” to 120”. - For Large Establishments – 120” to 180” or more.
Lumens rating of a projector is another important factor that will determine the projector that will suit your sports bar. It specifies the brightness level of the light source used in a projector which in turn affects the visibility of the imagery.
The ideal lumens rating of a projector for your sports bar will depend on two things:
Ambient lighting in your establishment – Every sports bar has different ambient lighting. Some may have transparent windows that allow high amounts of ambient lighting while others may have low light conditions. Ambient light will affect the brightness and visibility of the images projected by a projector. The more is the ambient light in a sports bar the higher will be the impact on the brightness of the images. Ambient lighting may be controllable or not depending on the premises.
The size of the projected images – The size of the projected images will also impact the ideal lumens rating of your projector. As the size of the imagery projected increases, the light from a lamp or LED used in the projector is dispersed over a larger area. A 60” image projected by a projector will be much brighter than a 120” image projected by the same projector.
You can choose a projector from the following table based on the previously mentioned factors.
A projector with a higher lumens rating will cost more than a projector with a lower lumens rating. Another thing to note is that projectors that have same brightness rating, but different light sources may project images with different brightness. It is best to ask for a demonstration of different projectors from their respective vendors before committing to a purchase.
A factor which most sports bar owners may overlook while choosing a projector is the light source it uses. Most projectors employ a lamp or LED as a light source while a few latest models use lasers also. Lamp projectors are the cheapest out of the three types, but their lamps have a limited life. They work for around 4,000 to 6,000 hours on an average and have to be replaced after that. Considering that ten hours of daily usage comes to about 3,650 hours in a year, you may be required to replace the lamp of the projector every year. Lamps are quite expensive which can lead to increased maintenance cost.
LEDs and lasers used in projectors are rated for 20,000 to 30,000 hours making them long lasting as compared to lamp projectors. They are more expensive than lamp projectors, but their long life makes them more economical in the long run. LEDs are not able to produce as bright images as lamp projectors. Laser projectors output best image quality.
* LAMP Projectors – Lamp projectors are ideal for sports bars where they will be used for a few hours daily. Owners of bars who want a cheap option can also consider these projectors.
* LED Projectors – LED projectors are ideal for sports bars where the projector will be used for 10 to 12 hours daily. They are more expensive than lamp projectors.
* Laser Projectors – Laser projectors have excellent brightness rating and a long lifespan. They can be used in establishments that have intensive usage requirements. They also perform well in areas with high amounts of ambient lighting.
The throw ratio of the projector plays an important role when choosing the best projector for a sports bar. Throw ratio determines how far the projector is installed from a screen or wall. Projectors with an ultra-short throw ratio can be placed almost next to the projection screen or wall and still project large images.
Short throw ratio projectors have to be installed a few feet away from the projection screen for producing optimum quality images. Standard throw ratio projectors are designed to be installed several feet away from the projection screen or wall.
Ultra-short throw projectors can be advantageous as they ensure that the imagery is not obstructed due to the movement of people. Images projected by projectors with a short or standard throw ratio can be blocked if people come in between the projector and the screen especially if they are installed at a low height. You can choose a projector with an optimum throw ratio depending on the way you are going to install the projector.
Projectors have to be connected to a source that outputs the video signal. HDMI is the most popular port on modern projectors as well as DVD players and set-top boxes. You must choose a projector that has the same connectivity interface as your set-top box or DVD player. There are a few smart projectors also available that come with an inbuilt operating system. They allow you to connect to the Internet and install applications from different streaming services. You can stream popular sports channel without having to incur the expense of a set-top box. Smart projectors also have audio ports that can be used to connect external speaker system.
The final thing to consider in a projector is the image correction features. These features allow you to correct distorted imagery without moving the projector itself. Lens shift adjusts the lens assembly for correcting the image. Some projectors may employ keystone correction which adjusts the image digitally but causes a minor loss in quality. Projectors with lens shift will be more expensive than those with keystone correction.
Here are a few great options when it comes to choosing the best projector for a sports bar.
Top Pick – JMGO SA Laser Projector
The SA Laser Projector from JMGO is a great choice for owners looking to choose the best all-around projector for a sports bar. It is a 1080p laser projector with a lifespan of up to 30,000 hours which is relatively affordable. It can project images ranging from 80” to 150”, making it suitable for small and large establishments alike. Your patrons get to watch their favorite sports in Full HD.
JMGO SA Laser Projector
It also has an ultra-short throw ratio and can project 150” imagery at a distance of just 34” from the screen or wall. The viewers will not be disturbed by the movement of people. The JMGO SA has an operating system based on Android 7.0 and Wi-Fi connectivity which enable you to install applications for different streaming services and eliminate the need of a set-top box. It also has an HDMI port for connecting it to a set-top box if required.
Best Budget – Epson Home Cinema 760
If you are on a tight budget, the Epson Home Cinema 760 may be a great projector for you. It is a 720p projector with a 3,300 lumens rating. The default aspect ratio of the projector is 16:10 (1280x800), but it also supports 16:9 (1280x720) images. It has keystone correction, can be mounted on a ceiling and comes at a competitive price of around $550 (USD).
Epson Home Cinema 760HD
Best 1080p – Epson Home Cinema 3700
The Epson Home Cinema 3700 projector is a great choice for sports. It has a native resolution of 1080p and a lumens rating of 3,000 making it ideal for most establishments. It has both horizontal and vertical lens shift correction and 1.6x zoom lens. The projector comes with a lamp that is rated for up to 5,000 hours in eco mode.
Epson Home Cinema 3700
Best For High Ambient Lighting – Optoma ZH500T-W
If you have a sports bar with high amounts of ambient lighting, then consider the Optoma ZH500T-W projector. It is a laser projector with a lumens rating of 5,000 which is adequate for even the most well-lit environments. It has a resolution of 1080p and a rated life of 20,000 hours. Optoma also has cheaper lamp projectors with high lumens output and even 4K projectors with high lumens rating. But it is quite expensive which is expected.
Best True 4K – Sony VPL-VW285ES
If you are looking for a 4K projector, then the VPL-VW285ES from Sony is a no-brainer choice. It has a native resolution of 4096x2160 pixels and outputs excellent imagery with rich colors and high contrast. It has various technologies for enhancing the viewing experience. Its 1500 lumens rating makes it suitable for sports bars with low to moderate ambient lighting. Consider the VPL-VW675ES projector or another higher model from Sony if you require a brighter projector. Be prepared to spend a decent amount of money though.