How to Use a Projector as a TV?

Are you buying a projector for your home theatre? If so, you’ll want to know whether it can replace your TV or not.

Most people buy a projector for watching movies or bringing the cinema home. Work projectors also display presentations and images. However, can you watch regular TV on it too?

You may want mindless channel surfing. Or do you want to rewatch Friends or The Office with your mates? All this and more is possible. After much research, we’ve discovered the perfect ways to use a projector as a TV.

However, there are some limitations to these as well. Read on to know more. Lastly, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of replacing a TV with a projector.

How to use a projector for TV?

How to use a projector for TV?

There are two ways to watch TV on a projector. You can either connect it with an existing TV or try to use other devices. Let’s see how this works.

1. Using a projector with a cable TV:

This method requires a modern cable TV. You can directly connect it with your projector and watch live sports on it. That means that you are running both devices simultaneously.

Nowadays, most projectors and TVs have High-Definition Media Interface (HDMI) connections. Look for HDMI when buying a projector. You can connect your TV easily:

  • Get an HDMI cable. You have to buy it if your projector does not come with it.
  • Connect the cable with the HDMI output port of the TV
  • The other end goes in the HDMI input port of the projector
  • Go to the settings on the TV and enable the “video-out” option
  • Turn on the input option of the projector to the HDMI

That’s it. Now, you can project live TV on the big screen. However, there are some limitations.

Some older TVs which don’t come with HDMI cannot use this option. You’ll need a VGA/RCA to HDMI adapter for them, depending on their particular output.

You cannot connect a TV with the projector if it receives a direct signal instead of a cable. Older models with antennas or TVs with satellite receivers fall under this category.

How to use a projector for TV?

2. Using a projector to replace TV:

This method is favorable and efficient than the other one. You just need an external device to project TV signals into the projector. This can work without a TV too.

Connecting a satellite box:

A satellite or cable box is the one that projects cable or satellite to your TV. You can connect it with a projector too to watch live TV or sports.

This device comes with an HDMI output as well. The setup is similar to the one connecting a cable TV. You can connect an external audio device with the cable box for better sound.

Streaming devices:

This is an alternative to watch your TV shows without extra cables. There are various streaming devices available. They include:

  1. Google Chrome cast
  2. Roku Stick
  3. Amazon Fire TV stick
  4. Apple TV

All these devices have an HDMI output. You can connect them to your home wi-fi and watch your favorite content.

A couple of these devices support up to 4k resolution, maintaining image quality. The only limitation is their lack of audio output. You’ll have to make do with the projector’s internal speakers if the projector has no audio output too.

Smart projectors:

Nowadays, there are various smart projectors in the market. They have an Android OS and work like a smartphone. You can go to the Google Play Store to download your favorite apps.

Watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, and Hulu directly on them. You can view live TV channels by installing their apps.

Screen mirroring:

This option is the last resort. If you cannot employ any of the above methods to use the projector as a TV.

This works best with a laptop, PC, or mobile phone. Open the live TV channels on your selected device. Connect them with the projector for mirroring. The wireless or wired option depends on your projector.

What about audio when using a projector for a home theatre replacing TV?

What about audio when using a projector for a home theatre replacing TV?

Projectors cannot compete with a TV in terms of sound. They are made to display on a big screen but not to deliver sound.

Here are your options for audio when you use a projector as a TV:

1. Integrated speakers:

They are the last resort. The in-built speakers produce subpar sound with a high pitch and low volume. You can make do if your projector has at least 10W speakers.

They work in a small room with fewer people. As you go bigger, you need better audio.

2. Soundbar:

This audio device needs little work. The key is to join the projector to your media source (STB or streaming devices). Then, couple the set-top box (STB) to the soundbar.

If your source is a cable box, this needs an HDMI wire. Connect the HDMI ARC output on the STB to the ARC input on the soundbar.

If there is no ARC port, you can link the bar and the satellite box with an optical cable. A 3.5mm adapter can work too.

3. External speakers:

Some projectors have a Bluetooth connectivity option. You can link Bluetooth speakers easily. If not, try the 3.5mm audio port from the satellite box to the woofers.

Should I use a projector instead of a TV?

Now that you have found several ways of using your projector as a TV, you must be wondering this: Should you use a projector to replace a TV?

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of this.

Pros of using projectors instead of a TV:

  • They are budget-friendly
  • They offer the highest image quality at less price
  • You can increase the screen size tremendously
  • They use less wall and floor space
  • Tough and sturdy
  • Kid-friendly

Should I use a projector instead of a TV?

Cons of using projectors instead of a TV:

  • They are not for small rooms
  • They have terrible audio
  • TVs surpass them in the image quality and contrast
  • They heat up if used continuously for long
  • Complicated setup
  • They need lamp replacement after a few years


There are several ways to use your projector as a TV. You can project your existing TV and watch live NBA events with your friends. The other option is to use a cable box, streaming devices, or a smart projector.

The main issue is the limited usage at a time and the sound quality. The projectors make a lot of heat and need more ventilation.

Do you want to have a projector for your home theatre that can project live sports events occasionally? Read our guide to know how to achieve this.

Related Articles:

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  2. How to Check Projector Lamp Hour Statistics
  3. How to Get Sound from Computer to Projector

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