Are Projectors Energy Efficient?

Projectors are a good way to get much larger screen size. But, I recently was interested in whether they use up more electricity than TVs. So, I looked into the different energy usage for each of them and put together this helpful article to explain whether projectors are energy efficient.

So, are projectors energy efficient? Projectors use half the energy of a same sized TV. Plasma TVs use the most energy out of all the TVs types. Because most people use TVs that are smaller than a projector, a TV and projector will use the same amount of power per hour, all things considered.

What you view on your TV or projector will influence how much power you use. Also, what cost savings you can expect when you compare using a projector or using a TV. So, below I’ll give more exact details numbers in wattage for each of the TV types and projectors, so you can see the facts as well as the cost savings when comparing a TV and a projector side by side.

Is It Cheaper To Run a Projector Than a TV?

According to the average power bill and power usage of an American home is 914 kWh per month. Kilowatt-hours are the number of hours the device was running. It is divided by 1000 because most people use much more watts in a month, to make the numbers easier to work with.

The average energy price in the USA is $12.87 per kWh, according to APG&E. So, a projector with a screen size of 200 inches (5 meters) costs $3.81 per hour. Whereas, a TV with a screen size of 50 inches (1.27 meters), costs $1.27 per hour of viewing.

So, comparing apples to apples. Screen size to screen size a projector is the clear winner. Because you can get a bigger screen for much cheaper. And the clarity is as good now.

Projectors use the same amount of power regardless of how big the screen is. Because the size of a screen on a projector is determined by how far away from the wall you put it. 

To make it more clear, when you put it far away from the wall you’ll get a bigger screen. But, it uses the same amount of power, as when you put the projector closer to the screen.

But, most people don’t get a screen size as big as a projector. An average person would be content with a 60 inch (1.5 meter) TV at the most. So, for most people the operating costs would be about the same. However, with a projector you get a much larger screen than a TV which is a huge plus.

A 50 inch (1.27 meters) LCD TV uses around 100 watts (W). A watt is a measurement of how much energy something uses over time. So the higher the watt reading the more energy it uses. Every electrical appliance has a watt rating.

Most projectors have a screen size of 200 inches (5 meters). But, that is the maximum size on average that a projector goes to. The screen will shrink if you move the projector closer to the wall. However, no matter how close you put your new projector to the wall or far away, it uses the same amount of power.

A projector will use 300 watts. This is the same as 0.3 kWh, kWh = kilowatt-hour hours. But, the k means 1,000 so it’s 1,000 watts per hour. Most appliances use a decimal of kWh. Which makes you wonder what the unit was created for.

In case you’re wondering for your convenience to calculate watts to kWh, you can just change it to 0.x of what the watts are. So, it’s 400 watts, it’s 0.40 kWh. Some appliances will list either-or. So, it’s a handy reference to convert it to create a spreadsheet of your energy usage.

  • So, using some rough math. You get 5 times the screen size of a TV with a projector. For the same price.
  • So, a projector is more energy efficient. Also, plasma TVs use significantly more power than both LCDs and LED TVs.

That is why you pay about 3 times the price to run a projector but the screen size is much larger and more enjoyable. They save about US$ 2.60 per hour when watching a flat-screen TV. But, the screen size is much larger on a projector. And it has equal resolution and visual clarity.

What You Play Also Affects Energy Usage

Before, explaining more interesting details about the differences between TVs and projectors I thought I’d mention here that what you play on your TV or projector impacts how much energy they use. For example, on a projector white light and bright colors use up more energy than dark colors.

And the amount of motion that is being played on  screen will use more or less power depending on how much or how little there is. For example lots of action and movement like in the Transformers movies, will use more power than a drama type of movie, where most of the scenes involve mostly people talking back and forward. Like watching a show such as ‘Big Bang Theory’, versus The Terminator 2.

Do TVs and Projectors Have The Same Screen Resolution?

Projectors and TVs will have the same resolution regardless of the screen size. For example, a 1080p projector will be as sharp and clear when it is at its maximum screen size – 200 inches (5 meters) – as when it is placed closer to the wall and is much smaller.

It is the same case with TVs. A 50 inch 1080p LCD will look as sharp and clear as 60 inch 1080p LCD. The same image will just be much bigger. So, you can see more detail. It is especially good for people who play computer games, because it will give you an advantage of having a bigger screen. 

As, you will be able to see small details on your screen that you wouldn’t be able to on a smaller screen. Your peripheral vision is also more engaged when you are playing. Because you can see things happening out of the corner of your eye more so than with a smaller screen. But, it does depend on how close you sit to your screen.

There is a difference between a native screen resolution and the maximum screen resolution. Many manufacturers will list the maximum screen resolution as it’s screen resolution. So, you should exercise caution when purchasing a TV or projector.

Generally, the native resolution of a TV or projector will be as described. But, sometimes when you up the resolution in the settings it doesn’t work as you might expect. It is a case of buyer beware. The good news though is that projectors.

The higher quality TVs and projectors such as 4K and 8K border on the edge of looking lifelike. However, 4k is double the resolution of 1080p, and 8k is double this again. When the resolution goes up. It packs more pixels into the screen area. Which translates into more fluid and precise coloring and movement. 

For example, when you zoom in on the small section of an 8k screen it will be less blurry and more detailed when compared to a 4k screen. When you zoom out, it makes what you are watching super clear. Because of the extra detail that they have at a smaller scale.

Although, some people might feel it’s a bit overkill having such a high definition screen. Many people love it and they are very popular. I myself am content with 1080p, and to me it is sufficient. 

What Is The Difference In Price Between A Projector and A TV That Have The Same Resolution and Screen Size?

The great news for consumers is that technology continues to become cheaper and cheaper. The amazing almost unimaginable technology that was super expensive only a few years ago, is now 50% or 30% the price. You could almost blink and miss what happened.

Therefore, the size of the screen will be much bigger when you buy a projector for the same price and with the same resolution.

So, you can grab a huge screen size projector – 200 inches ( 5 meters) – in 1080p resolution now for under $300. So, overall a projector will give you a screen size that is 4 times larger at roughly the same price. For around the same price you can only get a 50 inch (127 cm) 1080p LCD is around $300.

The more expensive projectors and TVs now are the ones that are 8k resolution. 8k TVs retail for around $20,000 as of 2020 at around the 60 inch size (154 cm).

The latest improvement to screen resolution is 16k and was released in 2019 according to As of yet, there is no 32k.

Are Projectors As Good As A TV?

Projectors in my opinion are superior to TVs. First, because they use less electricity. So, you get more screen time for your buck. Secondly, at the same price, you get a much larger screen when you buy a projector. And the resolution is the same, so you don’t get any degradation in quality. 

Therefore, when you’re watching it you get much more enjoyable because everything is so much bigger. It is similar to how much better it is to watch a movie at the cinema versus watching it at home. Because the screen is so much larger.

The Sound Can Differ

Modern flat-screen TVs have speakers that are so thin that the sound quality is subpar, on most models you’ll run into. This is because the size of the speaker determines how good the sound is. Older TVs -yes quality sound, newer TVs – no, not that great. 

Because of this soundbars were invented that provides exceptional quality sound at an affordable price. I have put together a complete article reviewing the best and most cost-effective soundbars. You should definitely give it a read by clicking Does Soundbars Replace TV Speakers, to read the article. 

Modern projectors have inbuilt speakers and depending on the model they can have a good quality of sound. I have looked at many different projectors and can say that most of the reviews of them say that the sound quality is very good. 

So, be sure to see what previous customers have said about them to ensure the specific project or you are getting does have good sound quality. But, in case it doesn’t you can always pick up a soundbar or external speaker for it that will do the trick.

Are Projectors Compatible With All Inputs, HDMI, VGA?

Projectors offer multiple inputs for all the different methods of playing media. The best is HDMI because you keep a solid connection the whole time. That means it won’t cut out randomly as Bluetooth and WiFi can. All projectors come with HDMI these days. But, it does pay to double-check with the individual projector you are using.

Can You Plug A Home Theatre System Into A Projector?

Absolutely, most home theater systems go through what is called a receiver. It takes all the inputs, and then relays them to each of the individual speakers. Such as you tower speakers, subwoofer, and soundbar. The cable that would normally go to your TV instead plugs into your projector, and works in the same way.

Are Projectors As Easy To Install As A TV?

Projectors and TVs work much the same way as each other, with only minor differences. Because of that, they are as easy to install as each other. The manuals that come with them explain in detail where to plug what. And what buttons and settings to use depending on the type of sound 

How Long Do Projectors Last?

The only part of the projector that runs out is the bulb. The bulb will eventually burn out, after about two to three years. Much like other electronics, all other parts have a manufacturer’s warranty of around 3 years. It is set by the manufacturer. So, some brands will have longer or shorter ones depending.

As long as you don’t drop it or spill water on it, it will last just long enough so that you can buy the next model up at the same price. Which is pretty amazing really. But, if you use it a lot the bulb will run out much faster. So, I’ve included some tips below about increasing the lamp life of your projector.

How To Increase Lamp Life On A Projector

01. You want to always use the remote or power button to turn off your projector.When you turn off your projector at the wall. Or, by unplugging it will cause damage to your bulb. A projector bulb heats up really hot to work well. When you turn it off with the remote or with the power button it dims slowly before shutting off completely. 

Turning it off instantly can cause the bulb to cool unevenly or colder temperatures cause fractures to form on your bulb.
02. Make sure it’s fully cooled before you move it aroundWhen the bulb is still hot and you move it around, small bumps can cause damage to the bulb, and make it fail sooner. The bulb is very sensitive when it has just been used. Because it needs to be very hot to play. So, let a bit of time pass after just watching it to let it cool down. 

What Are The Best Projectors To Buy?

It does depend on your budget. I recently did an article about whether budget projectors are worth it, in which I review the highest-rated budget projectors on Amazon. Definitely give it a read now by clicking here Are Budget Projectors Worth It? to go to the article. And the equivalent TV of that size would be about $2000 or more.

But, the projectors I received were all under $300. If you are a first-time projector buyer I would suggest getting a cheaper model to see if you like it. If you already like projectors the budget projectors are also a good option for you. 

Because unless you’re used to 4k or 8k you will find the 1080p projectors perfect for your needs. With enough clarity and sharpness to satisfy you.

In Conclusion

Projectors are more energy-efficient than TVs. As calculated in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The most energy-efficient TVs are LED’s, followed by LCD’s, and plasma TVs use the most electricity. Projectors, in terms of screen size, also give you more bang for your buck. You can get a much larger screen with the same resolution for the same price.


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