Video gaming is one of the most popular hobbies for children, teenagers, and adults alike. Everyone likes to indulge in their favorite genre of games from time to time. The amount of fun that people have while playing a game will depend on their screens. Gamers till a few years ago used either monitors or TVs for gaming on computers and consoles. However, recent innovations in the field of projectors have provided gamers with an additional display option.
Modern projectors have high resolutions with the top-end 4K models displaying 4096 x 2160 pixels on the screen. There are ultra/short throw projectors also available from different brands that can be placed just a few inches from the projector screen and provide good quality output. Gamers can opt for these projectors for video gaming instead of TVs or displays. Projectors allow gamers to experience their fantasy world in a new way that is almost lifelike.
There are pros as well as cons associated with using a projector for video gaming instead of TVs. They have their advantages and disadvantages and may suit some gamers while others may prefer TVs.
Why People May Find Gaming On A Projector Appealing
Large Viewing Area – One of the biggest advantages of playing video games on a projector is the large viewing area. Projectors can display images that have a width and height of several feet. A large viewing area provides a more profound gaming experience and allows gamers to delve into the gaming world. TVs and monitors have a smaller image area and do not provide an experience as vivid as a projector.
Flexible Display Size – The users gaming on the projectors have the option of controlling the viewing area by adjusting the distance of the projector from the screen or using inbuilt features. TVs and monitors have a fixed display size that can’t be changed. Users have to choose the exact size of the TV or a monitor for their gaming purposes. However, projectors provide them with a more flexible option as they can adjust the display size as required.
High Portability – Projectors can be carried from one room to another more easily than conventional TVs and monitors. Individuals who like to take their gaming consoles and rigs along with them or shift from one room to another frequently can benefit from projectors. Projectors are also easy to install and do not require mounting hardware.
Image above is the JMGO J6S portable smart projector
Cheaper Image Size to Cost Ratio – A projector that displays a 100” image might be cheaper than a TV of the same size. It makes them a more cost-effective option for users whose primary aim for gaming is to have a large viewing area.
Compact Size – One of the biggest concern that homeowners have while choosing a TV is the amount of space available in their living room. A TV will require a cabinet that will take up more space unless the TV is being mounted on a wall. Projectors are quite compact and can even be placed on a small side table. They require comparatively lesser space and can even be hidden from sight after use. TVs and monitors will still have a major presence in a room even after they are switched off.
Why Gaming On A Projector Is Not For Everyone
Projectors are Expensive – Purchasing a projector is going to be more expensive than a gaming monitor. A user can buy multiple gaming monitors with 4K resolution in the price of a single 4K projector. Even in lower resolutions like 1080p, there is a significant difference in the cost of a projector and a monitor. A gamer can purchase a 1440p or even an entry-level 4K monitor or TV for the price of a 1080p projector.
Fixed Resolution – Projectors have a fixed resolution, unlike monitors and televisions that might support multiple resolutions. It is important for gamers as they might want to lower the resolution of the display device especially in graphics intensive games that yield low frames per second. As projectors do not facilitate this option, the users will have to pick a projector with the right resolution beforehand. Users prioritize resolution and high details in images will find projectors with comparatively lower resolutions unappealing.
Higher Input Lag – Projectors have a higher input lag as compared to TVs and monitors. Input lag determines the time between the moment a user presses a button on the input controller and the instant it is duplicated on the screen. TVs and monitors are available with input lag as low as 1ms. Projectors have a higher input lag that depends from model to model and can range anywhere from 15ms to 50ms or higher. Input lag is significant for users who play multiplayer games online as it can impact their gaming performance.
Lack of Speakers – While every TV and even most modern monitors come with decent quality speakers, it is not the same in projectors. Very few projectors come with speakers, and most of these are not good for gaming or watching movies. Users have to either purchase external speakers or use headphones with their projectors.
Degrading Light Quality – One of the biggest issues in choosing a projector for video gaming is its life expectancy. Most affordable projectors use Ultra High Performance (UHP) lamps to display the output image. These lamps have a life of about 3,000 to 4,000 hours after which they have to be replaced. Modern LCD monitors and TVs will easily function from 25,000 to 50,000 hours or even more. If a gamer is going to use the projector for a long duration, they will have to replace their UHP lamps which are costly. Owning a projector, in the long run, will be more expensive for a gamer because of the replacement costs. There are LCD, LED and laser projectors also available that are designed for 10,000 to 50,000 hours, but they are quite expensive.
Effect of Ambient Lighting – Projectors produce the best images when they are used in areas with low ambient lighting. High ambient lighting will compete with the light output by the projector and reduce its brightness. The colors of the projector may also appear washed-out when it is being used in areas with high ambient light. Monitors, on the other hand, are designed to function in varying lighting conditions. The effect of ambient light on the output image of a monitor is negligible. As games have high and low light areas in different missions, the effect of ambient light will be more pronounced in projectors. Hence, using a projector in areas with high ambient light is disadvantageous and hampers the playing experience of the gamers.
Slow Start-up – Projectors take a specific amount of time to turn on or off. It can range anywhere from thirty seconds to a few minutes. TVs and monitors, on the other hand, do not require time to start and can turn on almost instantly. The time taken by projectors to start can be a deterrent for gamers who want to get in the action and do not want to wait for the projector to start.
Power Consumption – Another factor that can discourage users from opting for a projector is its power consumption. A projector can easily consume a few hundred watts of power while most modern LCD and LED TVs and monitors have a power draw of under hundred watts. It can result in hefty power bills especially for gamers who play for long durations.
When To Buy A Projector For Video Gaming
There are several scenarios that encourage gamers to consider a projector for video gaming.
Multipurpose Usage – Modern gaming consoles like Xbox and Play Station can play Blue-ray and DVDs. People who use their gaming consoles for watching movies and other multimedia can opt for a projector. A projector will produce a larger image which will enhance the viewing experience of the users. It is a great option for gamers who regularly have movie nights with family and friends.
Portability – Gamers who often attend LAN parties and would like to take a display along with them can consider a projector for video gaming. A projector is compact and lightweight and can be carried in a bag. It is also a good option for individuals who like to shift their display from one room to another.
Split-screen Gaming – Gamers who like to show off their gaming skills to their friends or engage in split-screen games that allow them to play with their friends can consider a projector for video gaming. As a projector has a larger display area, it makes it easier for multiple players to play a game on a single screen.
When Not To Buy A Projector For Video Gaming
People who are going to sit close to their displays should avoid getting a projector for video gaming. As a projector produces a large image, it will be harder for the gamers to focus as they are very close to screen and they will be viewing the display in an uncomfortable position. It will hamper their gaming experience and may also cause health issues related to their necks when they game in an uncomfortable position for a long time.
Gamers who are on a tight budget should also avoid getting a projector as they will not be able to get a decent projector in entry-level range. Most projectors available in the entry-level range are designed for office applications. The gamers would be better off by opting for a monitor that will be cheaper.
Hardcore gamers who give preference to the superficial attractiveness and detail level of the games are better off with monitors or TVs. Projectors are not able to provide the same level of eye-candy in images that the monitors and TVs do.
Ultimately, buying a projector for video gaming comes down to the individual requirements and preferences of the gamers and their budgets. Gamers who want portability and have the money to spare can opt for projectors. Individuals who are put off by the few limitations of projectors can buy TVs or monitors for gaming.