Top Projectors for Gaming 2019 – Don’t Make the Same Mistake I Did

Steve Scott

Updated on

The first gaming projector I bought was for the newest version of Fallout. I didn’t do my research and the quality was pretty damn bad. Thinking back for all the time I spend playing that game I should have just spent the extra $150-200 especially when you consider that a good gaming unit can double up as a home theater system.

There is another big fallacy with cheaper projectors too, the projector bulb is usually a lot lower quality meaning that a year down the road you’ll be spending even more. 🙁

Finding out the best gaming projector isn’t too difficult. All you need to do is look at what professional gamers are using.

If you’re looking for the quick answer here are my picks….

  1. Absolute Quality for Price – Optoma HD142XE
  2. Short Distance Gaming – Optoma GT1080
  3. Best 4K Gaming Experience – BenQ TK800M

In this guide I’m going to review just that projectors used by professional gamers. I’ll break it down into 3 tiers to better help you decide based on your price point.

In case you’re wondering my picks are a good choice, it’s because I’ve installed a lot of these units over the years. If you read my main projector guide you’ll see some of my top picks for outdoor units as well.

You will have to spend at least $500 to get a quality projector and while some brands may tell you otherwise the video quality just won’t be there not to mention a strong possibility of lag. Keep in mind as a hardcore gamer I’m also very biased towards high graphics quality. 🙂

Our Picks

Description

image of the optoma HD131

Optoma HD142 XE Review


This thing is a beast. It was used recently at all the major gaming competitions and at one point was selling so ...

Optoma GT1080Darbee

Optoma GT1080 1080p Review


If you only have 4 feet of space than you’ll get a beautifully rendered graphics display at 111 inches. Increase that to 6 feet and you’ll get 166 inches...

BenQ TK800 Projector

BenQ TK800M Review

If you’re looking for amazing gaming in the best projector resolution out right now, look no further than the BenQ TK800M...

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Cell
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Top Tier Picks – For SERIOUS Gaming Snobs/Nerds – Xbox, PS4

image of the optoma HD131

This thing is a beast. It was used recently at all the major gaming competitions and at one point was selling so fast on the Korean market that HD142s were going for 2-3X market value on Ebay.

When it comes to image quality you just won’t the HD142. It’s high quality graphics processor makes the native 1080p resolution incredibly clear and real. Combined with a quality screen and you’re looking at a gaming matchup made in heaven. It’s also fully 3D compatible. It doesn’t have 4k but if you check out our Optoma 4k review you read more.

Here it is… (video of 141 but HD142 has the exact same specs)

Specifications

  • L x W x H →  9 x 11.73 x 3.7
  • Weight →  5.5 lbs
  • Display Technology → DLP
  • Connectivity Technology → Wireless, HDMI, MHL, USB
  • Image Brightness →  3,000 ANSI Lumens
  • Contrast Ratio → 23,000:1
  • Resolution → 1920 x 1080 Full HD
  • Lamp Life → 8,000 hours

Key Features

  • System used by pro gamers
  • Most affordable of all the Epson models
  • Full HD resolution
  • 2500 lumens

PROS

  • Easy to Install
  • Apple TV, DVD and all console ready
  • For the quality you won’t find another Epson product at this price point

CONS

  • No lens shift

While the price tag might seem expensive when it comes to the resolution quality it’s actually the one of the cheapest Optomas out there. One of the things that makes this a great pick for gaming is that the image is extremely bright, meaning you can play in a basement or even take your projector outside in the summer.

Bright displays are a key feature if your playing any shooting game as you’re able to see opponents on the screen a lot easier. You can think the nice gamma on the HD142 for that.

If you’re playing any graphics intensive game multiplayer this is definitely a great choice. Call of duty or Fallout looks incredibly on this as well.

The image is 2500 lumens with a great 18000:1 contrast ratio for fine details. It’s totally compatible for Apple TV, all gaming consoles (not including the original Ninetendo), Blue Ray 3D DVD.

It also has a build in energy saving feature which allows you to save 1/3 of the power according to Epson. The unit itself is also extremely quiet.

For newbies, it’s easy to setup. It comes with an auto-detect setup screen that is 5 screens total (if I remember correctly form my last install).

Here is a quick few of the back to see the connections.

back of Optoma HD131 XE
image of Optoma GT1080 projector

Specifications

  • L x W x H →  8.8 x 12.4 x 4
  • Weight →  5.8 pounds
  • Display Technology → DLP
  • Connectivity Technology → HDMI, MHL, Wireless
  • Image Brightness →  2800 ANSI Lumens
  • Contrast Ratio → 25,000:1
  • Resolution → 1080p
  • Lamp Life → 6500 hours

Key Features

  • Keystone Correction
  • No input lag
  • Short throw

PROS

  • Amazing for gaming
  • Great contrast ratio
  • Lag-free
  • Easy to install

CONS

  • No lens shift

Optoma GT1080 1080p Review

If you only have 4 feet of space than you’ll get a beautifully rendered graphics display at 111 inches. Increase that to 6 feet and you’ll get 166 inches. Pretty good right?

The Optoma GT1080 is my top choice for mid range options. It comes in at 2800 lumens meaning it’s bright enough to play games basically anywhere. Contrast ratio is 25,000:1 which means it’s

The Keystone Correction option auto corrects any color distortions and we haven’t had any issues with lag when playing multiplayer games. It comes with all the inputs and hookups you need for HDMI, controllers and more.

The overall speed of the GT1080 is very impressive, there is absolutely no lag in any of the loading screens even when you have multiple players. Image quality is ensured through the high constrast ratio.

It’s easy to install as well and comes 6500 hours of lamp life for a great gaming experience.

BenQ TK800M 4K Sports Projector Front

Specifications

  • L x W x H →  10.71” x 13.9” x 5.31” 
  • Weight →  9.2 lbs
  • Display Technology → DLP
  • Connectivity Technology → HDMI, USB, RS232
  • Image Brightness →  3000 lumens
  • Contrast Ratio → 10,000:1
  • Resolution → True 4K UHD (3840x2160)
  • Lamp Life → 4,000/8,000/10,000/15,000 hours (Normal, SmartEco, Eco, LampSave)

Key Features

  • True 4K UHD
  • Great frame rates
  • Vivid colours
  • Game mode

PROS

  • Automatic HDR color rendition
  • Amazing for gaming
  • Great sound
  • Both DLP and sports projector

CONS

  • Black levels aren't great
  • Lacks a lens shift

BenQ TK800M Review

If you’re looking for amazing gaming in the best projector resolution out right now, look no further than the BenQ TK800M. Using True 4K UHD (3480x2160), the TK800M is one of the ewest vehicles for 4K gaming. While its lag isn’t amazing with ~40-44ms, its lag is better than its predessor, the TK800. Still, you its input lag is very unnoticeable and still makes for amazing gameplay. It only helps that the TK800M has a great frame rate and comes with a Game Mode which brings powerful bass and crisp highs that immerse you into the game. 

With vivid colors and beautiful 4K HDR, your games are destined to look beautiful using this. The TK800M has an even blend of beautiful light to illuminate your screen with 3,000 color and white lumens. It also has a great 10,000:1 contrast ratio, but its black levels aren’t great - meaning that it’s hard to pick out images in the darker areas of your images. This is due to the fact that it’s both a DLP and a Sports projector - made to be cast in ambient light. Luckily, if you didn’t want to play your games in the dark, this is perfect for you. If not, its images are still something to marvel.

Using image optimization and automatic HDR color rendition, your images while gaming will be clear and crisp with a greater brightness and contrast range. The TK800M’s images make it look as if your game is coming to life in front of you. If you’re looking for immersive gameplay with beautiful 4K images or you have an ambient light room and rather play in the light, this is a perfect choice. 

Best Mid-Level Projector for Gaming 2018

At this point you’re probably thinking does Steve work for Optoma?

I don’t but do like their products as they are one of the few companies who have maintained to their original mission of creating high quality visual devices. They don’t cater to the mass market. For that reason my mid-tier choices also include Optoma.

The products below are all great choices for anyone looking for a projector under 500.

BenQ HT2150ST Front

Specifications

  • L x W x H → 4.79 x 14.98 x 10.91 in 
  • Weight →  7.93 lbs
  • Display Technology → DLP
  • Connectivity Technology → HDMI x 2 (MHL)
  • Image Brightness → 2200 lumen
  • Contrast Ratio → 15,000:1
  • Resolution → Full HD (1920 x 1080)
  • Lamp Life → 3,500/5,000/7,000 (Lamp based)

Key Features

  • CinematicColor
  • Rec.709 HD true color
  • Throw of 100” from 4.9ft away
  • Very low Input lag
  • Hollywood-Like Sounds

PROS

  • 0.69 - 0.83 throw ratio
  • Amazing for gaming and sports
  • Amazing Value
  • Built-in 10W speakers
  • Full HD

CONS

  • Annoying to adjust keystone

BenQ HT2150ST Review

Also an amazing sports projector and our top short throw projector, the BenQ HT150ST is an amazing gaming projector With 16.67ms input lag and microsecond DMD response time for Ultra-Fast Gaming Response. You will most likely not even be able to experience lag with this.

The BenQ HT2150ST has a throw of 100” from 4.9ft away, projecting beautiful Full HD images perfect for smaller rooms. With CinematicColor, Rec.709 HD true color, and a famed brightness, the BenQ HT2150ST brings amazing pictures to your screen. 

This projector is known for its ability to make your home feel like the movie theaters. So, whether you’re into sports, movies, or just gaming, they all will sound great with the HT2150ST’s built-in speakers dishing out Hollywood-like sounds.

If you want to watch sports, play games, or just set up a great home theater, and you have a smaller room, then the HT2150ST will fit all of your needs and more. With its only drawback being an annoying to adjust keystone, you’re sure to enjoy this projector.

BenQ HT2150ST specs
BenQ DLP HD Projector (HT2050) - 3D Home Theater Projector

Specifications

  • L x W x H → 10.9 x 15 x 14.7
  • Weight →  7.27 lbs
  • Display Technology → DLP
  • Connectivity Technology → HDMI x 2
  • Image Brightness → 2,200 Lumens
  • Contrast Ratio → 15,000:1
  • Resolution → 3D 1080p
  • Lamp Life → 7,000 hours

Key Features

  • High resolution
  • Short throw
  • Energy efficient

PROS

  • Premium RGB Color Wheel
  • Lowest fan noise
  • Easy installation and setup 
  • Vertical Lens Shift

CONS

  • Not for outside gaming
  • Contrast not so great

BenQ DLP HD Review

Another great choice. I gave my son one of these last Christmas. Spec-wise you’re getting roughly the same as the other Optoma projectors, the big tradeoff is contrast ratio at only 10,000:1 and only 2,000 lumens of brightness.

While the video quality isn’t anything to complain about, you won’t get that incredible detail you will with an Optoma projector. To make up for that, I’d suggest playing in an extra dark environment which may or may not make your eyes uncomfortable. Due to the lumens, I wouldn’t suggest this for outside gaming.

1080p resolution really brings out the picture. It comes with SmartEco technology which ensures that the unit will maintain energy while in use. Lamp time is around 6,000 hours.

It comes with full HD capabilities and can project a great 200-230 inch display across any surface. Speakers are actually built into the unit meaning that you’ll only need to setup the video and power cord.

Overall I’d say a great medium-tier choice but if you want top notch quality I’d go with one of the higher contrast ratio units.

See related - Best HD Projectors

Best Cheap Projectors for Gamers 2017

The below units are not bad by any means. They will still function great and work very well. Projector technology has come a long way and even units around $100 will producing quality which was once considered “high end”.

GooDee HD Video Projector

Specifications

  • L x W x H → 12 x 9.4 x 4.7 in
  • Weight →  5 lbs
  • Display Technology → LED-LCD
  • Connectivity Technology → HDMI (x2), USB (x2), VGA, AC
  • Image Brightness → 4,000 lumens
  • Contrast Ratio → 3,000:1
  • Resolution → 1280x768
  • Lamp Life → 30,000 hours

Key Features

  • Easy and Fast Response
  • Multidirectional Projection
  • Advanced Cooling Technology
  • HIFI Stereo Speaker

PROS

  • Very Durable
  • Great Picture Quality
  • Nice Sound
  • Decent Brightness
  • Good for Gaming
  • Great for its Price
  • Pretty Quiet

CONS

  • Blurry Around the Edges
  • No Zoom
  • Best Only in Darkest Rooms
  • Bulky
  • Not 1080p

GooDee HD Video Projector Review

Outside or inside, gaming or watching movies, the GooDee HD Video Projector is a great, durable projector for gamers on a budget. This is a fast-responding LED projector with 30,000 hours of lamp life and multidirectional projection. This projector has a lot of connection options, including 2 HDMI and 2 USB, and is great for Roku and your gaming consoles.

GooDee HD Video Projector Connections

The GooDee has decent sound quality for its price (which is almost unheard of with projectors), nice picture quality, though it can be blurry around the edges, and pretty decent brightness. While it’s bright enough for some, GooDee says that it is best utilized in the darkest of rooms. You honestly shouldn’t use it in rooms with ambient light at all because it’ll be dim and not bright enough. 

With a nice cooling system, the GooDee is pretty quiet for most, though it’s very bulky. One of the bad things about it has to be that it lacks a zoom, and its keystone correction doesn’t really help that much. 

The worst thing about this projector is that its resolution is just a little better than 720p, but does not project 1080p. While it will accept 1080p, the images will only look as good as its native resolution. Regardless of 1080p or not, this is still a great value projector for gaming that a lot of gamers enjoy using.

GooDee HD Video Projector projection size
RAGU Z498 Mini Projector

Specifications

  • L x W x H → 8.07 x 5.71 x 2.95 in
  • Weight →  2.2 lbs
  • Display Technology → LED-LCD
  • Connectivity Technology → HDMI, VGA, USB, AV, SD
  • Image Brightness → N/A
  • Contrast Ratio → 3,000:1
  • Resolution → 800x480
  • Lamp Life → 50,000 hours

Key Features

  • Screen Mirror with Smartphone/Pad
  • HIFI Sound Quality
  • Keystone & Focus
  • Accepts 1080p Full HD 
  • 50,000 hour Lamp Life

PROS

  • Very easy to use
  • Great, Budget Value
  • Nice Picture Quality
  • A lot of Connections
  • Good for Gaming
  • Portable

CONS

  • Not real 1080p and Very Low Resolution
  • Only Good in Completely Dark Rooms
  • Bad Speakers

RAGU Z498 Mini Projector Review

While not the best for gaming, the RAGU Z498 is a small, portable, and nice-looking projector that will last you a long time. This is a very cheap projector that is worth its price with a 50,000-hour lamp life and a lot of connections from HDMI to USB to SD and more. Through these, you can connect it to your PC, gaming console, TV, etc.

RAGU Z498 Mini Projector Connections

If you’re an avid phone gamer or just like being on the smartphone/pad, you can screen mirror from your device to this projector. It only helps that the RAGU Z498 is very easy to use and comes equipped with a 15-degree keystone and focus function - which truly isn’t much or enough for most.  

Of course, like most projectors, cheap or not, this projector’s speakers are just bad, but that’s to be expected. It’s biggest problems come in its brightness and resolution.

RAGU doesn’t mention how many lumens this projector has anywhere. To some, it’s pretty bright and does the job, but it’s pretty much widely accepted that you cannot use this projector in a room with any ambient light. Even RAGU advises to only use it in the darkest rooms possible, nowhere else. 

For its resolution, it accepts 1080p but is natively 800x480. RAGU pushes that 1080p will only be as good as the native resolution, but it still at least accepts it. The picture quality has been called to be grainy, but the main issue is that it’s not 1080p. Still, this is a decent projector for gaming at a very cheap price that is enjoyed by many. 

RAGU Z498 Mini Projector Bluetooth Connection
image of DBPOWER T20

Specifications

  • L x W x H → 12 x 8 x 4.5 in
  • Weight →  2.1 lbs
  • Display Technology → LCD
  • Connectivity Technology → HDMI, VGA, USB, AV, SD
  • Image Brightness → 1800 lumens
  • Contrast Ratio → 1000:1
  • Resolution → Support 1080p

Key Features

  • 32”-176" display size at a distance of between 1.5-5m
  • Reduced fan & system noise
  • Very light

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Great for general use
  • Simple to use and setup
  • Lots of connection options

CONS

  • Not so great contrast ratio

DBPOWER T20 1500 Lumens Review

Really simple to use and setup the DBPower is an multifunctional projector system that isn’t designed for just video games but rather just projector usage in general.

The light from the projector is pretty strong and it works well in dark locations. I’ve only seen this model being used a few times and most of them were customers who already had one they wanted installed. The DBPower works well at distances of 1.5m to 5m with an image size of about 130 inches.

You can also connect your phone to this one and it supports the majority of different outputs. Also comes with a nice little 3 year warranty which is sort of rare in the lower end gaming projector world.

See related - Best Cheap Projectors

Best Settings and Specs for Gaming

Remember the days when we were all arguing about what monitors to get for gaming? Back a few years ago, when 1080p monitors were super expensive, a lot of people (me included) argued that it wasn’t so much resolution that mattered, but brightness and screen size.

Now that 1080p monitors are just about affordable for the average gamer, part of that argument has dated badly – over half of Steam users half 1080p monitors now, and that proportion seems set to grow. But just as we seem to have decided on that issue, here comes another: what are the best projectors for gaming? While there is a lot of argument about the best choices out there.

In some ways, I can’t believe it took the gaming community so long to catch on to the potential of monitors. After all, if what you are looking for is screen size, a projector is definitely the way to go. Set up correctly, you can get gorgeous images that cover a whole wall.

And in contrast to gaming monitors, which tend to lurk in whatever dim corner you do your gaming in, projectors also double-up as an awesome home entertainment system. With a bit of creativity, you can turn your gaming rig into a pretty good home cinema, and invite your friends round. If you want to go further, and get a projector that will work outside, you can even set up an outdoor cinema.

I got my first gaming projector a few years back now, and I’ll never go back to just playing on a screen. For point and click strategy games, I turn the resolution up as high as it will go, and can see my whole empire at once, laid out on my wall like some mad dictator. For First Person Shooters, nothing quite beats the experience of the big projector screen – you really feel like you are inside the game.

Today, I’ll take you through a few key things to look for when getting a projector for gaming. If you’ve done a bit of research before reading this article, you’ve likely been overwhelmed with lists of stats that make little or no sense. My aim here is to give you a straightforward guide to the terms you need to know, and then answer some common questions about setting up your projector.

Optimal Resolution for Gaming 

Here we go. A lot of people talk about resolution as though it’s the single measure of how good a monitor / projector / cell phone is. It is certainly important, but I’ll let you into a little secret – the resolution you need depends on how far you are away from the screen. That’s why smart phone resolutions are the same as your fancy new monitor:

That said, you shouldn’t sell yourself short when it comes to display resolution. Though most games will look fine in HD, 1080p is now becoming the dominant resolution in both home cinema and gaming contexts. Take my advice: get a projector that can handle 1080p, even if most of your games won’t run at that resolution just yet.

Bear in mind that nowadays, 1080p is still a compromise between high and low resolution. It might not have felt like it the last time you dropped hundreds of dollars on a 1080p monitor, but remember that 4k is probably only 5 years away for most people.

Going the other way, and getting a VGA, SVGA, or XGA projector, is just silly. These might look like a bargain when you’re searching for a projector online, but they are simply not capable of handling most games. Remember that the primary use of projectors is to display static powerpoint slides, and a lot of them are still set up for this purpose only.

Thankfully, getting a 1080p projector is a lot less expensive than it used to be. In fact, some of the best value projectors, like the Optoma 4k, rival monitors in terms of price.

See related - Top Projectors for Gaming

Check out one of the setups we helped built. Pretty damn cool right?

image of a gaming projector setup

If you’re not already running a 1080p setup, of course, you might need to upgrade your gaming rig to handle it. Oh well. You can tell your wife / girlfriend that you need that new graphics card so you can watch romantic movies together.

Brightness

Brightness is an even more controversial subject than screen resolution. In principle, measuring how bright a projector is is easy enough – every projector comes with a lumens rating, which tells you how bright it is. 1500 lumens is pretty low nowadays, 3000 is quite high.

The problem is that how bright your screen appears depends on a whole host of factors, and not just how much light your projector is pumping out. The largest factor is ambient light, but this is also one that is easily overcome. Instead of spending hundreds of extra dollars on a brighter projector, get some window blinds.

That said, you don’t want to go too low when it comes to brightness. If, like me, you like to play a lot of gloomy, scary FPSs, get a bright projector. If you don’t, you’re going to die a lot, because you won’t be able to see any detail in the shadows. And that’s where the enemies are.

Contrast Ratio

A related point here, and while I’m talking about shadow detail, is another performance measure for gaming projectors that might have baffled you – contrast ratio. The idea is simple: this is a measure of the difference between the brightest spot a projector can display, and the darkest.

The difference, when actually playing a game, is pretty striking. Have a look at this video to get an idea of what I mean:

See? If your contrast ratio is not high enough, the most recent games don’t look good at all. Either the shadows are too light, or the gorgeous over-saturated lighting effects that are now all the rage lose all their power.

The numbers, when it comes to contrast ratios, are pretty big, but easily understandable. A cheap projector will give you about 5000:1, a really expensive one 100,000:1. As long as you get a projector with a decent resolution, and plenty of brightness, you should be able to get away with 40,000:1 in most situations.

Gaming Projector Setup and Installation – 5 Easy Steps

Phew. Hopefully, you’ve now taken my advice and got a gaming projector with plenty of pixels, light, and contrast. Now comes the fun bit: setting it up.

Forgive me, but I’m going to skip that section where I talk about what cables you need, downloading drivers, and setting external screen resolutions. I’ll assume that, if you’re reading this, you know what you’re doing inside the computer, and just need some help thinking about how you’re going to set up your projector in the real world. As in the physical world. As in the world we live in.

Here’s a step by step guide:

​1. Choose a Room

Strange first step, I know: most of us don’t have that many spare rooms to chose from! However, I raise this for an important reason. Most of us have our computer in a different room to our TV, and so you’ve got a choice to make. You can either move your computer into the living room (ugh) or set up your projector in your tiny office, where there is one office chair, and not much else (also ugh).

But wait, think about it. Just run a cable from your office to your living room. Sorted.

2. Mount Your Projector image of a projector ceiling mount

In principle, the best projector set ups are when you mount your projector high up on a wall. It’s out of the way, nothing will get in front of the beam, and you can put it wherever you want. In practice, however, I know that a lot of people don’t have the time, money, or space for a professional mount.

In this situation, the easiest solution is to have the projector in front of you as you look at the screen. That way, nothing will get in front of the beam.

One word of warning, however – if you are going to put your projector on your coffee table, please build some kind of protective box for it.

image of a projector ceiling mount

Spilling water or beer into your red-hot projector is a great way of spoiling your day. 🙁

3. How Far Away Should Your Projector Be?

I know this is not really a “step”, but I’m including it because I get asked this question all the time. There are basically two approaches to take. One is to wing it. The other, which will give you the best picture, requires some math. Trust me, do the math, and in the long run you’ll thank yourself.

Here we go. If this seems overwhelming, use this calculator.

chart for throw distance for projector

If we take D to be the distance from lens to screen, and W to be the width of the screen, then by dividing the former with the latter, we get the ratio of a projector’s throw.

D/W = Rt

Think of the Projector’s throw ratio (R) as the π of home cinemas.

So, beginning from this formula, we can derive the two formulas for calculating the distance from the screen and the width of the screen, respectively:

D = Rt * W

W = W/Rt

Now, for our purpose, we need to calculate the distance from the projector’s lens to the screen. All we need is the width of the screen and the projector’s throw ratio. For the former, it’s easy enough. Let’s take a random number and say the screen is 6 feet wide. But how do we find out what the ratio of our projector is? Simply consult your projector’s specs.

Well, since projectors feature zoom lenses, they will not have a single throw ratio, but a range of throw ratios, so we’ll have to write two equations. For now, we’ll take it to be2 – 2.4:1, as this is the most common range, getting:

D = 2 * 6ft = 12ft and

D = 3 * 6ft = 14.4ft

So, in this case, the optimal distance to place your projector would be anywhere from 12 to 18 feet (3.7 to 5.5 meters).

And there you go. Bear in mind that nowadays “short-throw” projectors will typically be able to sit far closer to your screen than 12 feet, so when you do your sums you’ll probably get less than this figure.

4. (Maybe) Get A Screen

Oh yeh, the screen! Perhaps you forgot to buy one. In truth, it doesn’t matter so much. If you’ve got a projector that is nice and bright, and you are using it inside, a smooth white wall should be all you need. In fact, to my mind, it’s better to spend a little bit extra on a projector that will work with just a wall, rather than have an ugly projection screen hung on your wall.

That said, there are some situations where you might need a screen. Some projection screens are made specifically for setups with high ambient light, and can be useful if you can’t block this out. And of course, if your walls are bright red or something, you can’t project on them. But in that case, perhaps you should just re-paint your walls!

That, in principle, is all you need to setup you projector. However, I’m going to add one more step to this list, because I get asked this question all the time:

5. How Often Do I Need To Change My Projector Bulbs?

About every 3000 hours. I know – that’s a simple answer, right? The thing is, there is an awful lot of discussion online about this question, and it’s not always conducted in good faith. Manufacturers will tell you that their bulbs will last for 5000 hours, because that sounds impressive. Bulb “experts” will tell you that you need to replace your bulbs every 1000 hours, because then you buy more bulbs.

In truth, the answer to the question is this – if you notice your projector is dim, and have the money to replace your bulb, go for it. You can leave the old bulb in until it fails, or you can buy a new bulb every week. Personally, I tend to buy a new bulb at the same time as a game I’m really excited about, so I can enjoy it properly, but it’s up to you. Read more about it in our projector bulb article.

Happy Gaming

And that’s it: your guide to buying and setting up a projector for gaming. In short: get a projector with at least 1080p resolution, good brightness, and acceptable contrast ratio, and you’ll be fine.

Happy gaming!

Questions and Answers:

Can you play video games on a projector?

Yes, you are able to play video games on a projector. Most modern projectors are able to connect to video game consoles such as the PS4, the XBox One, the Nintendo Switch, and more by using HDMI cables.

What is the benefit of playing a video game on a projector?

TVs and computer monitors are what most people typically play their video games on. They may get a perfectly clear image with these, but they will miss out on getting the full experience of the visuals on such a small screen. Even if someone spends the money to get a giant 80 inch television, they still will not come close to the potential screen size that projectors offer. Some projectors can produce an image that can get up to 300 inches or more. The more screen size, the more a person is able to see every detail of the game they are playing. Playing a video game on a huge projector screen allows the player feel like they are truly there in the action.

Does the audio from the video game play through the projector?

Yes, when a video game console is plugged into a projector via HDMI cable, the audio of the video game plays through the speaker that is built in to the projector if it has one. This is just like how it works with the video game audio coming out of the TV or computer monitor when you use those for gaming. However, not all projectors have built-in speakers, and when they do, they are not always the best quality and do not sound as crisp as you would want. If you try it out and do not like the audio quality the projector offers, you can use external speakers with it.

What is the best resolution for a video game projector?

There are countless projectors on the market these days, and there is a lot to choose from in regards of resolution. There is VGA, SVGA, XGA, and more. However, they do not come close to the fantastic visual quality of HD. HD is 1980x1080P. It is the modern standard for visual quality. Each of the current video game consoles produce their picture in HD. There are plenty of options for HD projectors out there that are pretty affordable. 4K, which is the resolution above HD, has definitely been making some strides in recent years. However, because most 4K devices are not as affordable yet, 1080P is still the dominant resolution in most households.

Is a higher contrast ratio good for gaming?

Yes, a higher contrast ratio implies the quality of any visual entertainment is better. The contrast ratio on a projector refers to how bright the whitest whites are compared to the blackest blacks seen on the screen. The higher the contrast ratio, the more the colors pop and appear more vibrant. There are projectors out there that have a contrast ratio as high as 100,000:1. A contrast ratio like this will make the colors stand out so much that everything on-screen will look completely real.

Are 4K projectors worth it for gaming?

4K, also known as 3840x2160P, is the best possible resolution around, whether it is for projectors, TV screens, or computer monitors. Modern video game consoles, like the PS4 Pro, are able to produce 4K visuals. Playing video games on a 4K projector looks absolutely incredible. However, where 4K is still not as affordable or accessible as HD is, it might not be as worth it if you are on a budget. It will be someday though.

Do projectors have input lag when playing video games on them?

Yes, there is often an input lag when playing a video game through a projector. Input lag is the term used to describe the amount of time between inputting a button command and the command making an action happen on the screen. Too much input lag can make a video game virtually unplayable. However, there are ways of eliminating, or at least decreasing, the issue. Connect the gaming console directly to the projector with an HDMI cable. Do not use a wireless connection. Use the projector’s native resolution so that there are no extra steps for the projector to take. Turn off any added features such as smart sharpening. Making sure to go through these steps should fix most input lag issues.

Do projectors have a refresh rate?

Yes, like computer monitors, projectors have a refresh rate. A refresh rate is the frequency in which the image on the display is refreshed, and it is typically expressed in hertz. For playing video games, you need a projector with a higher refresh rate. A higher refresh rate causes the picture to look more clear and each frame of motion of a video or video game to flow into the next one seamlessly. A lower refresh rate can make the video appear choppy and create lag.

Is using a projector for gaming better for your eyes?

Yes, projectors are usually better for your eyes than TV screens or computer monitors are. It is common for your eyes to strain while watching TV or working at a computer in a darkened room. The reason that happens is because of how our eyes adjust to the light from the screens. When it is dark, our pupils dilate so that more light can be able to enter our eyes. A small screen, like that of a television or computer monitor, does emit light. However, because they are so small and the room is so dark, our eyes remain dilated. If we use a larger viewing surface, like the ones only projectors can offer, it makes it easier for our eyes to adjust to the light. 

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