How to use a projector as a TV?


Standard Member
Mar 29, 2005
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Hi all,

I've been thinking if buying a projector for a room in my house. There isn't any room for a TV BUT I can put a projector on the ceiling and project onto a wall (or screen).

How can I view TV RF signals through a projector? Surely I must need some sort of TV tuner?

Can you get projectors with TV tuners built in?

I have a low budget so I'd be after something older and possibly bulky if necessary.

Any help greatly appreciated.


Use a video recorder.

Chances are you already have one with a useable connection and it'll cost you nowt.
Thanks Marty,

So your are saying buy any old projector with a video and audio connectors and put the RF signal into the video and use the scart or video/audio outputs from that to go into the projector?

Sounds good, any recommendations of projectors? It's something I can box away above a wardrobe so doesn't have to be anything to good looking but don't want it to cost me a fortune in bulbs??


Projectors don’t usually have TV tuners – there were a few, but don’t expect to find one. Projectors normally have quite good flexibility in inputs, and to make the most of their picture quality, you would normally want to use VGA, RGB, component, DVI or HDMI. Video recorders do have a tuner, but the connection is only composite, which is the poorest of the poor. You will get better picture quality if you use a Sky or Freeview tuner, and connect the scart output to the VGA or RGB input. There are also TV tuners produced specifically for PC monitors, which is what a projector behaves as, from an interfacing point of view. There are many available, and most have aux inputs for other sources such as DVD. They always connect to the projector by VGA (the PC monitor connection). The best tuners are probably by Avermedia, but there is a wide choice.
By the way, projectors don't usually have any audio capability (ie amp and speakers). A few do, but they will be very poor. Far, far better to use a cheap separate stereo system for the audio.
Bulb life is always going to be a factor with a projector. They vary with the average around 2000 hours and avaerage replacement cost around GBP300.

If you want to keep putting it away then of the three major/common technologies:

1: CRT is discounted; these have to be permanently mounted
2: DLP will give best contrast, but you should be aware of the rainbow/eyestrain issue which may affect you/your family etc. 3DLP will be too expensive.
3: 3LCD (or just "LCD") is probably the cheapest and "safest", but with somewhat less contrast than DLP.

After that, it's all about budget

As mentioned, you'll need a source. Either a VCR (for analog TV) or - better still perhaps you'd prefer a Freeview box if you are in a good reception area (that way you'll get widsecreen from most channels) which will work just as well. Or for even greater flexibility, a Freeview PVR (recorder).

And an audio system of some sort.

And a screen (or at least, something flat, matt, plain white or pale grey to point it at).
or get a Freeview box - some are tiny and cost from only about £35 - and you get all the freeview digital channels as well as the 5 analogue channels -

all projector bulbs are pretty expensive (£200 upwards) and last from 2000 to 5000 hours (depending on which projector you choose and if you use high or low lamp power) though there are no guarantees on the bulb - and if you're using it as a tv then presumably its going to clock up the hours quite quickly

finally watch out if you choose a Panasonic PJ (which are quite popular and reasonably priced, AE500 in my case) as frequent plugging and unplugging of the mains lead, as your post suggests will be the case, can loosen the connections in the AC power socket, requiring a repair - if you go down this particular route turn one of your mains leads (panasonics come with 2) into a 'dongle' so you dont have to unplug it from the PJ every time
I use a S-VHS and output the tv signal through a quality s-video lead, picture quality is great, try picking up a cheap recorder as it works a treat for tv signals.
I tried desperately to get footy matches to my Projector last Sunday, but only managed black and white.

The Sender is a tranwo 2424 (also got a 2525), which comes out via a Scart lead, although the end connected to the AV Sender is actually more like a composite plug.
My projector only takes component, composite and S-Video (Benq 5120).

To try and get it working, i connected the AV sender into my VCR, and then out from the VCR (Sony SLV-E720 or something like that.. years old) into the PJ via a Scart to S-video lead.

However it came through as black and white, and appeared to speed up and slow down at times too

Im not sure if its due to technology in the VCR to stop people inputting and outputting a signal, or its because of the wiring, or another reason?

If anybody can advise what I am doing wrong, or a viable alrternative.. then I would be REALLY REALLY thankful.


smashed: your problem is that you are trying to get SVideo out of a VCR that doesn't support it. Only SVHS machines have SVideo, and to my knowledge, Sony never made SVHS. So - no SVideo. Therefore, to get colour from the VCR you will need to use composite video.
u sure Sony never made S-VHS? im sure i remember seeing machines a few years ago in a shop......oh well, mebbe im wrong..

one thing to remember, most cheap projectors aint gonna be worth watching in the daytime unless you can darken the room a lot......

and if you use it quite often, that bulblife will go quicker than you think...
quite likely within 2 years, then its another few hundred quid for another bulb...

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