Should you buy a smart TV or a projector—or both?
Smart TVs and projectors can help you get close to achieving that movie theater experience. While they both display content, these two devices perform differently.
If you are looking to recreate that theater feeling, then read further.
About Smart TVs and Projectors.
Smart TVs and projectors are electronic devices that let you display content from different sources. While they both can display images or videos, they also have their shares of advantages and disadvantages.
Table of Contents
1. Can You Connect a Smart TV to a Projector?
You can connect a smart TV to a projector, provided it has a compatible video output.
But rarely will you find a smart TV that has this feature, unlike older non-smart TVs, which have audio and video outputs that let you record to a VCR.
Smart TVs with video outputs are rare, as these can contribute to content piracy.
But in some cases, a projector will have a video output, which allows you to duplicate the screen of the projector on your smart TV.
2. How Do I Connect My Smart TV to My Projector?
The easiest way to connect a smart TV to a projector is by connecting the smart TV’s video output port to a compatible video input port on the projector.
Now, if your projector has a video output, you can connect that to a video input of your smart TV, which lets you duplicate screens.
Can you connect a smart TV to a projector via USB?
Many projectors nowadays have a USB port that lets you connect your device.
Unfortunately, the USB function does not work with smart TVs.
The smart TV will not be able to install the driver needed to connect the two devices. The drivers of projectors are meant for computers running Windows or Mac.
3. Can You Turn a Projector into a Smart TV?
You can turn a projector into a smart device if you have a compatible device.
You can plug any streaming device into the projector’s HDMI port and turn it into a smart device.
Note that the audio output will come out of the projector. If your projector has weak or mediocre quality speakers, you can take the audio output and plug it into a better speaker.
4. Can You Use Chromecast with a Projector?
You can use a Chromecast without any problems on a modern projector.
5. Can You Use a Fire TV Stick with a Projector?
Like the Chromecast, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is compatible with a projector.
6. Can You Use a Roku Streaming Stick with a Projector?
The Roku Streaming Stick is considered a streaming device and can connect to your projector via HDMI.
7. Can You Use a Now TV Stick with a Projector?
Any projector with an HDMI port will work with the Now TV Stick.
8. Can You Use an Apple TV with a Projector?
As long as the projector has an HDMI port, you can use the Apple TV with it.
9. Can You Play Netflix through a Projector?
You can use a projector to stream content from devices like the Fire TV Stick, Roku, or Chromecast.
These devices are compatible with Netflix, so you can stream content without any problems.
10. Can You Get TV Channels on a Projector?
On its own, you can’t get channels on a projector, since it’s not a TV. It does not even have an antenna jack to connect with.
But, with the help of some compatible devices, your projector can show TV channels.
- If you have a cable TV subscription, you can plug the cable TV box into the projector’s HDMI port.
- You can plug a Digital TV box into the projector through the RCA jacks. Since Digital TV boxes are geared towards TVs that do not have HDMI, you will need to connect the two devices using the standard red, white, and yellow HDMI connection.
- And of course, you can opt to plug streaming devices, like the Fire TV Stick or Roku Streaming Stick. Plug the streaming device into the projector’s HDMI port and stream content from services like YouTube TV or Hulu + Live TV to gain access to TV channels on a projector. (Read more about smart TVs and local channels here.)
11. How Do I Connect My Projector to My Device?
There are different ways to connect devices to a projector, and it depends on what you intend to use your projector for.
If you plan to stream content from apps like Netflix or YouTube to your projector, you can use a Chromecast. Just make sure that the Chromecast and your smartphone or computer are connected to the same network.
For those who are using desktops or laptops, make sure you are casting from a Google Chrome window.
If you are looking to mirror content from your smartphone or computer, you can connect to a projector via HDMI. Most computers have an HDMI output that can connect to a projector.
Note, some TVs only have one HDMI port. Here’s a guide to how many HDMI ports TVs have.
In some cases, you can use a USB to connect your computer to your projector. When plugged into a USB port, these projectors will prompt you to install the driver for your computer.
All you need to do is open the driver app, which may launch when you plug the projector via USB, and install it on your computer, which will let you connect your computer to the projector.
If the installer does not launch, you should open your computer’s file manager and look for your projector among the external storage device plugged into your computer.
For iPhones and iPads, you can get an HDMI dongle to connect to your projector.
For those running Android for their smartphones or tablets, you can get an MHL adapter.
The adapter connects to your smartphone via USB-C or micro USB, with the other end connecting to the HDMI port of your projector.
It is possible to connect a smart TV to a projector, but it is rare to find a modern TV with the correct video output. Older non-smart TVs have audio and video outputs that let you record to a VCR, but modern smart TVs no longer have this feature.
Also, smart TVs with video outputs are rare, as they can contribute to content piracy.
To mirror content from a device to your projector using Chromecast, wirelessly connect your device to the Chromecast, open the Google Home app, and then select mirror screen. You can then connect the Chromecast to the projector through the HDMI port.
Another option for screen mirroring from Android devices is through Miracast.
If you own an Apple device and want to mirror your screen onto the projector, you can use AirPlay 2, which lets you cast your screen wirelessly.
12. How Do I Connect My TV to My Projector Wirelessly?
You cannot connect your TV and projector wirelessly. However, you can connect an older TV with video output with a cord.
The catch is, video outputs on smart TVs are uncommon, and you might be challenged to find one that works.
13. Do Projectors Have Bluetooth?
Some projectors have Bluetooth connectivity, but it is not a standard feature.
But if your projector does not have Bluetooth connectivity, you can still take advantage of third-party Bluetooth adapters that can let you connect audio wirelessly.
14. Can Projectors Connect to the Internet?
The typical projector cannot connect to the Internet.
But, in recent years, manufacturers of projectors have introduced smart projectors. They function like smart TVs but have bigger displays and are more portable.
Now, before you jump into buying a smart projector, you can still get the same features with your existing projector when using a streaming device like a Chromecast or Roku Streaming Stick. You get the same features at a fraction of the cost and still get the same connectivity.
15. Do Projectors Come with 4K Resolution?
Most modern projectors on the market today are capable of displaying content in 4K resolution.
16. Are Projectors Better than Smart TVs?
Projectors and smart TVs have their strengths and weaknesses, and what you choose depends on what you need from your entertainment system.
While both can display in high definition, and some projectors have smart functionality, there are some key differences.
- Smart TVs are ready to use out of the box. You just place it on your console, and it’s ready to use. Projectors, meanwhile, need a nice wide wall to display content.
- Smart TVs are bulky, while projectors are more portable. You can take a projector with you on your next vacation, whereas a smart TV is likely to stay put in your house.
- Smart TVs shine if you are watching a lot of content in HDR. Projectors just aren’t yet up to par with smart TVs’ HDR, high-quality picture.
- Smart TVs also have more options for audio connectivity. You can use eARC or Bluetooth to connect with your soundbar. Projectors, meanwhile, don’t have the option for eARC, and not all have Bluetooth connectivity. It may be possible to use the auxiliary output to connect your projector with your preferred speakers.
- Smart TVs are not that future-proof. When their systems are outdated, they lose support for streaming services, which can render your smart TV outdated. Projectors, particularly the non-smart ones, have better future-proofing. If you use it with a streaming device, you can replace that device for a fraction of the cost of a smart TV, should it become outdated.
Given the pros and cons of each, there’s no clear winner in the contest between projectors and smart TVs.