Plasma vs Projector


Standard Member
I'm thinking of buying a 1080p projector but wonder to myself is it worth it? Why don't I just buy a 50 inch 1080p plamsa and sit 5 feet away. Is there any advantage to spending the extra on a projector (especially taking into account the cost of replacement bulbs). Plasmas these days are much improved and the latest Pioneers or soon to be released G11 Panasonics are surely a match for the top projectors. Why spend extra for the inconvenience of a projector when you can just sit closer to your TV? Are we being purely irrational or is there a genuine advantage to owning a projector.


Established Member
There's a genuine advantage if you want to sit more than 5' away.

Personally I don't see it as choice between a TV and a projector. I have a 32" LCD for everyday TV viewing and a projector for films.

If it was a case of either/or rather than both than a Plasma is probably the best bet as a projector isn't really practical for everday use.


Hi roball

There's a difference in immersion and envelopment. I have a Samsung LE52M87 which is 52" and a JVC HD1 projecting onto a 102" screen. Even sitting close(say 5ft), as you've suggested, doesn't give the same sense of spectacle and thrill that sitting 10ft from the projected image gives.

Its all to do with our perception of scale. The way I rationalise it is if you got very close to an object all your doing is bringing that object closer. Where as if the object was say twice or four times as large then we can identify that the scale has increased despite how close we are to it. There is an appreciable difference between the two things.

Despite the 102" screen I use, I still am impressed when I go to the cinema with their many many feet wide image, yet comparatively I'm still sitting a fair bit further away in the cinema.

I don't think you can compare a 50" picture with that of 100" picture regardless of seating distance because there's 4x more screen area on the 100" image.

Rich H

Prominent Member
It really depends on what you are using your display for, what your criteria is etc.

I've been a plasma fan for many years and own one of the first great plasmas produced (a 4th gen Panasonic plasma - still looks great!). In fact I'd figured through the years I was going to upgrade my plasma image size because I favoured the plasma images over any other technology. But by the time I could afford a 50" plasma upgrade the 60" models had come along and they made the 50" look small. Then when I had money for the 60" the 65" came along and made the 60" look small. Then I waited for 1080p 65" and while I was doing so front projection got better by leaps and bounds (especially in contrast and black levels, not to mention resolution). Once I saw how stunning a big front projected image could look I was hooked.

If you place a plasma right near a front projected image the plasma will certainly "win" in terms of brightness, image punch and (to me) pure realism (with the best of the breed, properly calibrated). But you won't get that cinematic vibe or impact of a truly big image.

With a good projector you aren't sitting there comparing it to a plasma and the image looks fabulous AND you are immersed into the image far more than with any (affordable) flat panel.

So for me, since I am a movie buff primarily I prefer a front projector over a plasma. But there is no denying that getting a top quality image out of a front projector makes WAY more demands than a plasma, in terms of decor, light control etc. You can certainly buy even a fairly cheap front projector and get big screen thrills. In fact my brother in law who had been lauding his new LCD TV took a look at Transformers projected on my bare wall using a super cheap data-presentation projector (that I'm using to size screens with).
He was actually blown away by the experience and walked out swearing to purchase a projector.

Once you get used to a really large front projected image size even those big 65" plasmas look teeny, like "TV" vs "The Movies."

But if you mostly watch TV and sports, need a single display that is flexible, plasma wins.

Rich H.

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