Currently looking at…


G and I are currently looking at a small projector to use at home as a way of watching tv. The one that made us look is Mitsubishi PK20 Pocket Projector. Do you own a projector at home and use it as your tv? If you do, what type of projector is it? Do you miss having an actual tv?

16 Comments leave a comment below

  1. F and I have a Sony VPL-CS5. We use it for watching tv and as monitor for a barebone pc that serves as mediacenter. We received it by someone in the family who upgraded to a newer projector. We do not miss an actual tv. We’re not home theatre fanatics, we use an ikea curtain as screen, but the quality is not lacking. We’d definitely suggest a projector.

  2. I’ve been projecting TV for years. Love it. First, no unsightly TV in the room. Second, the retractable screen and projector are mounted on the ceiling, so no gadgets are in reach of our 1 and 3 yr olds. Positively, I find that it reduces our TV watching because it takes just a little more effort than pushing one button to get started and also you think about the bulb life. It makes us think twice before turning it on. If you want to watch TV in the daytime in a sunny room, the limited brightness could be a drawback.

  3. Due to a recent long-distance move, we are currently living “without” a TV. No projector.. simply using our Mac as a TV. It’s a good deal cheaper to throw a few $$ at iTunes every once in awhile instead of paying for cable or sat hookups. Many of the big networks now allow full screen viewing with limited or no commercial interruptions. is also offering shows with limited commercials. Plus, we take full advantage of the rather tasty & free selection of movies and series DVDs at our local library.

    The only thing we miss is the comfort of our sofa. It’s impractical to move the Mac from it’s workstation to a prominent position where the sofa is every time we want to view something. For now, we’re lounging in our office chairs during shows. The one benefit to this is that we used to fall asleep on the sofa due to it’s relative comfort.

    We’ve considered getting a projector, but I understand that with many of the models there are very expensive bulbs which burn out frequently. For those with projectors, there is a paint you can buy for your wall so that you won’t have to use a screen. Anyone tried it? I haven’t heard any reviews.

  4. I’ve been using a projector for watching films and the occasional program on the BBC iPlayer. Wonderful. No TV in the living room and no TV license required. You’ll not regret it!

  5. I can shed a little insight on a few questions on here.

    I have used the wall paint made for projectors. I was exhibiting in a gallery and we used it, seemed to work fine. I think you can find a “recipe” online for it to mix it up yourself since it’s often pricey.

    Projector’s are great. We have one set up in my sister’s basement, and it is an experience playing a video game and the characters are as big as people.

    The major con of it would be that you pretty much have to have it dark to watch a projection. Yes, more expensive ones do work better in the light, but it’s still not great, everything looks faded. Far from a crisp bright image. If you don’t mind pulling the shades all the time, that’s fine, but i know if i watch a movie in darkness, i often fall asleep. I doubt that mini projector would have a powerful enough bulb to project during the daytime.

    Plus as already mentioned, the bulbs burnout, and it’s not cheap.

    I’d watch the falling costs of lcd tvs, and pick one up. i imagine most of them are going to go to full 1080 hd soon, so if you don’t really need that you should be able to pick up a 720 resolution a lot cheaper.

    just my thoughts.

  6. We own a projector but we only break it out for special occasions (because of the bulb replacement prices mentioned above). But CRT TVs are so huge and ugly and LCD TVs are still quite pricy so we bought a monitor instead of a televion. You can get something close to an HD quality LCD for a LOT less money if you forgoe the built-in tuner.

  7. i spent a while researching before i jumped in and bought my projector, here are a few tips:

    don’t cheap out on the lumens- try to get at least a 1000 lumen projector, be wary of cheap beamers with 2000-3000 lumens, they are usually for powerpoint type projection and fall apart miserably on moving video.

    i got a 720p dlp from infocus from for $1100- they have real steals on projectors, keep an eye out for them. sells a fantastic cheap ceiling mount, their projectors are a little on the weak end but are also cheaper than almost any other option.

    be prepared- bulb life is measured in thousands of hours and when they blow those bastards can cost $400+. that is one advantage to the lumenlab ones- their bulbs are CHEAP and easy to find.

    just get blinds on every window. you will never get something that looks great when the room is bright, accept it and pull the shades down when you are watching it. i watch movies in the dark anyways, so its not like this is some dealbreaker.

    you will basically be looking at 2 types- dlp and lcd. both have their strengths and weaknesses, rather than start a stupid fight here in the comments by declaring one over the other i will just say that at the low end (sub $3000) neither will be movie theater dlp good. so just go for whichever has the most resolution, brightness, best contrast ratio, inputs, and any other settings you like- i personally found to be really helpful.

    good luck! projectors really are fantastic.

    here is the decision process i went through for my own purchase:

  8. I’ve often been tempted, but the prices have always been too high for my tastes. That being said, when I move in a few months, I was planning on getting a TV for the new place (I’m currently without one), but it might be practical to get a projector and a TV card for my computer, rather than a big TV.

  9. We’ve been without a “TV” for several years, ever since our 1989 Sony gave up the ghost. In its place, we have a Canon SX60 projector. I built a little home for it in one wall of our library near the ceiling, so it is not as obvious as if it were ceiling mounted. We project onto the opposite wall for now, but we’re thinking of either using Screen Goo (special wall paint for projectors) or a pull down screen. The projector is relatively bright, 2000 lumens, but still you need to cut down on the light with shades or whatever. If you do that, the images are wonderful, with much more of a movie theatre feel than a big screen TV. And when you’re not watching TV, you don’t have a dark behemoth occupying much of your room. As to the $400 bulb replacement, we don’t watch TV everyday, so it will be a while before we need a new bulb. A good site for evaluating projectors is Good luck.

  10. I have used a projector as a TV for the last three years and have never looked back.

    I recommend getting one designed specifically for entertainment. In my experience the ones made by InFocus are the best.

    Beware the lumen rating as it can be misleading. I had a 2,000 lumen HP business style one, then I replaced it with a 1200 lumen InFocus which is considerably brighter.

    The only other thing to remember is that it will be a bit dark during bright sunlight – I just pull the blinds down and it’s fine.

  11. We’ve had a projector for our TV for three years and I totally love it. There’s absolutely nothing like playing wall-sized wii and xbox or inviting friends over for home theater movie nights.

    Plus, no tv in the living room. Excellent.

    We bought a BenQ projector (the PB6100, now out of production) for about $800 in early 2005, and only recently bought its first replacement bulb for $250. And we watch a fair amount of tv… well, vids + d/l’d shows.

    We also looked into the special wall paint, but it just seemed unnecessary; in our previous apartment, we projected onto a massive white canvas and our current apartment’s walls are a smooth super-white plaster. Maybe the image would be improved with screen goo, but I personally doubt we’d notice a difference.

    The only drawback is sitting in the dark to watch tv. At night, it’s no big deal, but during the day, it’s a bit like being a vampire. Result: we don’t watch much/any tv during the day. Better all around!

  12. I have owned 2 Dell projectors (cheap and good – highly rated on CNET). I watch MORE tv and movies because of it. It looks so amazing that I have a hard time turning it off.

    I bought an upconverting HD-DVD recorder and even for watching regular DVDs, it’s awesome. The picture is so clear and huge (over 100″)

  13. i loooove my projector, its the only way to go, especially for someone who moves around every couple years.

    People’s comments about the pricey bulbs is completely illogical– a $1000 HD projector is more amazing than a $3000 HDTV of a smaller size. Thus you have $2000 worth of bulb ‘investing’ to incur before ever feeling like you should scrimp and save your precious bulb life. A bulb should last 2000 hours– that’s over two years of watching FIVE AND A HALF HOURS A DAY. By the time you spend $2000 on bulbs, we’ll have TiVo implanted in our retinas and cable will be obsolete. You will love a projector, maybe not that cheap tiny one youre looking at, but do the research you won’t regret it.

  14. Hi Tina! Long time, no talk…

    I actually tried having only a projector for almost half a year. It didn’t work out. Example: To be able to watch TV before it was dark outside I had to pull all drapes and curtains – and the projector also makes some noise. I love having a flat tv AND a projector though…

  15. Hi Tina, I follow your blog regurlarly (love all your design links, very inspirational;) and as we’re currently questioning ourselves about putting a tv back in our living room (haven’t had it for the last 6 years with 3 young kids – plus think it ruins everything around it), I did a quick search on your blog and came across this article dated 2008!
    So I would like to ask you:
    – what did you end up doing – projector or tv? Are you happy with your choice?
    – do you have any clever design ideas/links on how to put a tv in a living room without it ruining the rest of your living room style, if that makes sense.
    Many thanks and keep up the great posts!