How to choose between a projector vs. flat screen for church

Deciding Between A Projector Vs. Flat Screen For Church

Projector vs. flat screen for church?

This is the question many churches face when upgrading or installing a video projection system. Which is better for our church?

This is not always the easiest question to answer because there are many variables that would lead you one direction or another. In this article I will attempt to help you think through your decision so you can make the best decision possible between a projector or flat screen TV for your church.

At my church we have recently purchased both a new projector to replace our antique and we have started using a flat screen monitor in our multi-purpose room. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Projector Vs. Flat Screen For Church

Advantages Of Flat Screen TV's Or Monitors​

With the drop in price of flat screen TV's and their ability to display in high definition or ultra-high definition, they have become a viable option for small to medium size churches.

The advantages are compelling.

  • Sharper picture than a projection system.
  • Lowe​r cost than a projection system.
  • Lower maintenance costs. You do not have to replace bulbs or clean filters.

Disadvantages Of A Flat Screen

However there are some very real considerations that you need to take into account before you rush out and buy a flat screen for your church.

Flat screens need a more direct viewing angle. It is harder to see a flat screen when you are looking at it from more than a 30 degree angle. If you have a room that is wider than it is deep, you may have to purchase 2 flat screens where you could get by with one projector and screen.

Depending on your lighting, especially outdoor light coming in through the windows, you might encounter a glare problem. This is caused by the glossy finish that is on most consumer model flat screen TV's.

​If your sanctuary is longer than it is wide, then size might be an issue. The cost of flat screens starts to rise exponentially as they increase in size.

Finally you need to consider the fragility of a flat screen. If you worship in a room that is also used for sports, kids ministry, or other activities, then consider that the screen cannot take being hit with an object.

Also if you are a church plant or portable church and are setting up and tearing down every Sunday, then consider how heavy a flat screen is and how much more risk there is for it to be damaged during setting up or tearing down or during transport.

video projector screen in the middle of the churchAdvantages Of A Projector

​For medium to large size churches, the advantages of a projector system can make a lot of sense. For instance.....

  • More bang for your buck. If you need a larger screen size, the cost of a projector is less.
  • There are no issues with glare. You might have some issues with clarity and brightness due to room lighting, however not a glare problem.
  • ​A projector and screen has a larger viewing angle. People sitting at an angle from the screen can still see the screen clearly.
  • It is much more durable and it is easier to set up and tear down. You don't have to worry about breakage.
  • It is easier to transport for church plants and portable churches.

Disadvantages Of A Projector

  • The cost of a projection system is higher than a flat screen. However as your need for screen size increases, this difference is eliminated and a projection system becomes the most cost effective.
  • ​Projectors need maintenance. Filters need to be cleaned on a regular basis and bulbs usually need replaced after 5,000 hours. Bulb costs can be surprisingly high.
  • Projectors lose image quality. You do not get as clear of a picture with a projector vs. flat screen. As the image is projected from the projector to the screen the pixels are enlarged. Depending on how far the projector is from the screen, this can be quite a bit.

So as you can see, there is no hard and fast rule as to which is better, a projector vs. flat screen for church. You have to evaluate what will work best for you. However I do hope that this article helped put this issue in perspective for you and helped you to make the best decision.

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