Decisions, Decisions: Projection Screen Systems vs. Large Display HDTVs

Decisions, Decisions: Projection Screen Systems vs. Large Display HDTVs

Jason Yang
Mar 25, 2013

Will Massive Flat Panels Replace Projection TVs In The Ultimate Home Theater?

For the full home theater experience nothing beats the immersive experience of a massive projection screen setup. But projection screens come with their own issues, most notably setup costs and space/placement requirements. With flat screen TVs continually being offered at larger sizes at lower prices each year, I can't help but wonder if the days of projection screens as the high-end standard of home theaters is numbered.

I've recently installed a 106" drop down projection screen and projector, but I'm suddenly feeling a bit underwhelmed by the size. Granted, I had space constraints limiting the screen size, but I can't help but wonder if my money could have been better spent elsewhere. At just under $1,000 for a motorized ceiling recessed tab tensioned screen, plus a hand-me down 1080p Epson projector originally in the $1,500 range, that's $2,500 even before factoring in the necessary mounts, wires, and labor for an installed system.

We recently highlighted a 60" 1080p 3D plasma HDTV for under $900. And budget brand, Vizio has a 70" model for $1,600. Although newly unveiled 4k Ultra HD TVs are still priced in at a premium, size of standard 1080p displays keep getting bigger while prices drop. It was only last year when 60" sets hit the $2,000 price range!

In hindsight, I might have been better served purchasing a 80" HDTV instead of a projector and screen. Right now light control in the room is an issue, so I can really only use the projection setup at night. Even then the picture doesn't compare to the  Pioneer Kuro plasma I already own.

My projector also sits hanging from the ceiling of my living room like the ugly piece of bulky beige tech that it is, and short of aspirations to concoct a fancy contraption to automatically recess it into the ceiling, it's probably going to stay there. The screen itself was quite a bear to install, requiring two people and quite a bit of struggling to get into exact place.

Sure, for the same money I can't quite reach the 106" my current projection screen offers (and much higher for many others), but we're getting there awfully quickly with huge price drops, and that makes me dream and wonder...maybe, just maybe I'll have a huge home theater sized flat screen TV permanently affixed to our living room wall that I've always lusted for in the first place.

In the meantime, enjoy this video of Porsche Design Studio's stunning 201" LED TV.

Tech 101: A Crash Course in Home Theater Projection Screens
How To Make The Best of Projection Screen TVs
Coming Soon: New 4k Ultra HD TVs
The Next Big Thing: Will Ultra Resolution 4K HDTV Even Matter?

(Images: Sony, Porsche Design Studio)

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