Some of us, when we think of the many uses of projectors, we might just come up with them being used in commercial cinemas or for watching movies at home. Others might think of business presentations or classes in colleges.
Indeed, these are some of the most popular uses of projectors. However, we have many others to talk about. These devices are quite versatile.
Which Are the Main Uses of Projectors?
One thing that I totally like is that projectors are becoming more and more affordable, with better and better specs. We still have models that cost thousands upon thousands of dollars but we also get the other end of the spectrum. And it’s awesome.
Nowadays, even if you have a budget under $300 or you might even be looking for a projector under $150, you’re going to find a pretty decent model with acceptable specs.
1. Commercial cinemas
In general, our first experience with a projector took place when we went to a cinema for the first time.
Another totally different environment in which we were introduced to what projectors can do was in classrooms.
Either of these two situations might have convinced some of you to get a projector for using it at home. That’s certainly what happened to me.
If you want to see what work projectionists do, you can watch this short video. It’s an interesting process that has nothing to do with the projectors we buy for home use.
2. Home cinemas
The main reason for getting a projector is for playing your favorite content at home on very big screens.
You should absolutely get a projector screen if you want to enjoy everything your projector is capable of doing in terms of resolution, color gamut, brightness, contrast.
To make a simple home theater room, you need three major components: a decent projector, a projection screen, and audio.
Even if you don’t have a very big budget for a home theater room, you can still manage to put together something. You can buy a good device for $300 to $1000, a projection screen for under $100 and a Bluetooth speaker for $30 or so. These are the numbers for those who don’t have too much money to spend.
If you spend around $600-$800 on a model, you can use it for all of the uses of projectors that I talk about below: watching movies, TV watching, watching sports, gaming, and kids entertainment. And you won’t get any complaints from anyone.
These kinds of affordable home theater arrangements work best if you don’t have a huge room.
For very big home theater rooms, I recommend projectors at around $2000-$3000. These are 4K UHD and some are laser devices that don’t require any maintenance. A more complex audio system is also needed for creating surround sound in a bigger room.
3. Watching movies
Whenever I switch back to watching movies on my TV in the bedroom, I have to go through an adjustment period. I only have a TV in the bedroom, which means that I don’t even use it that much. Just on the days when I don’t want to get out of bed. Surely we all have those days.
Check out my reviews for the best projectors for bedroom if you don’t want a TV in there.
My projector is one of my most prized devices that I have in the house. I have three at the moment but I mostly use one constantly, an Epson. There’s nothing like watching content or gaming on a big 100-inch screen. This is why most of us buy these devices and it’s totally worth it.
Moreover, we can also get models that play 3D movies, as long as we buy 3D glasses. The glasses are sold separately but they’re not too expensive.
Some projectors come with WiFi so you can connect whatever source device is connected to your wireless network to your projector. You can play movies from your smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc.
Pretty much all models nowadays include at least one HDMI input. If you get a HDMI capable, you can connect anything you want to your projector via HDMI.
Thus, you can play movies from your PC, laptop, tablet, etc. You can also run streaming apps from these devices and then play the content through your projector or you can buy a streaming device with its own OS and thousands of apps.
There are so many ways in which we can play movies on a projector, you just have to choose the one that works for you.
Many people also play outdoor movies at night in the summer. It’s certainly a favorite activity of mine. You can get an outdoor projection screen to make things easier and for a better viewing experience.
4. TV watching
Can you watch TV on a projector? You absolutely can.
If you enjoy watching TV during the day, you’ll need two things: a projector with a brightness above 2,500-3,000 ANSI lumens and some curtains to block out most of the sunlight.
Other than that, you can connect your cable box to your projector via HDMI. That way you can enjoy all the channels that you would have enjoyed on a TV.
You can also connect a TV tuner the same way or a streaming device if you’ve cut the cord. Or play your apps from a source device (laptop, PC, smartphone, tablet, etc.).
5. Watching sports
When I reviewed my recommendations for the best projectors for watching sports, I focused on projectors that have good resolution and high brightness.
You can use a streaming device to download apps for watching sports or you can connect your cable box.
For some of you, one of the most interesting uses of projectors is going to be all the gaming you can do on a very big screen.
Are gaming projectors expensive? As always when it comes to technology, we get a variety of prices. However, you can absolutely get a really impressive gaming projector for about $1,000.
In theory, pretty much all projectors can be used for gaming. Those that include the words gaming projector in their name have a few additional features, like low input lag.
All gaming consoles come with a HDMI cable. Connect your console to your projector via HDMI and you’re ready to play your favorite games on a big screen.
7. Kids entertainment
Kids are easy to satisfy but they’re going to be even more captivated if you play their favorite content on a bigger screen. I think they’re going to be fascinated by the whole thing.
Frankly, if you only buy a projector for your kids, then you can go really cheap.
You can even get a projector that costs less than $150 or even less than $100. Couple that with a 40-inch or 60-inch screen and it will be wonderful.
Most models will have a built-in speaker so you might not even need an external audio source.
8. Projectors for dorm rooms
I wrote an article on the best projectors for dorm rooms, if you want to know what that’s all about.
If you don’t want to carry a TV with you, you can buy a tiny projector, couple it with a foldable projection screen with a stand and watch movies, TV shows or play games whenever you have some downtime.
Those of us who went through college, know exactly how much professors rely on projectors for all their classes.
We really can’t talk about uses of projectors without mentioning their use in education and business presentations.
Projectors for education are different from projectors for home theaters.
The focus is on a high brightness, well above 3,000 ANSI lumens because classes and business presentations are held in ambient light most of the time. So, we need high brightness to see the writing and the charts.
Another difference is that data projectors have completely different resolutions: SVGA, XGA, WXGA and WUXGA. On the other hand, the most common resolutions for home theater models are HD, Full HD and 4K UHD.
The same projectors that are used for classrooms are also used for business presentations.
The difference comes when we want a portable projector for business presentations. There are business and education projectors that weigh about 5 pounds and that cost well under $500.
11. House of worship
Projectors that are used in houses of worship can be the same data projectors that are used for education and business purposes.
The main focus is also on high brightness because most people attend houses of worship during the day.
The purpose of using a projector in a house of worship is for showing hymnals, slide shows, events, etc. They can also be used to illustrate the stories of various saints or deities. It can be a great way to keep kids captivated.
The first time I came across a projector in a museum I was totally surprised but also impressed at the same time. I love the inclusion.
A projector can make a museum more immersive. They can be used to display captions, descriptions and commentary text.
Small documentaries can also be played on projectors about the life and work of some major artists whose works the museum houses.
Projectors can also be used in children’s museums to teach them more than a few exhibits can achieve. If you’re interested in reading more about this use of projectors, I found an interesting article here.
Art installations can also benefit from projectors by playing with light and shadow.
Weddings are the kind of events where projectors can be used to illustrate the recently married couple’s history and how their relationship evolved. I love those kinds of moments.
Of course, when we’re talking about uses of projectors during events, we must also mention concert halls, theaters, auditoriums, arenas and other similar smaller or larger venues.
How projectors are used in advertising is not something that most of us think about but they’re highly used for this purpose.
If you want to know more about projection advertising, you can check out this article.
Mobile advertising is a great concept if a brand wants to cover multiple destinations throughout the night.
15. Cookie decorating
I absolutely loved writing about the best projectors for cookie decorating because I was totally blown away by the beautiful decorations that people can realize with the help of these devices.
The devices used for cookie decorating are called pico projectors. They’re called pico because they can fit in a pocket.
Pico projectors are as tiny as smartphones, they can fit in the palm of our hand and barely weigh anything. Usually, we can buy a good pico projector for $150-$200.
They all include a USB or microSD slot for projecting your selected images onto cookies or onto other surfaces.
If you want to take your creativity even further, you can also use projectors for creating murals.
16. Halloween projections
Projectors can help us project whatever visual effects we want to use during Halloween. People love using them.
You can read my reviews for the best Halloween projectors if you want to know more about how you can create interesting projections for this holiday.
17. Outdoor entertainment/Camping
I saved the last one for last because this is one of my favorite uses of projectors.
I love the fact that we can buy a small projector for camping and take it with us to watch movies or TV shows or even play games wherever we might travel.
Nowadays, some of the best projectors for camping are ultra-portable devices that weigh around 2 pounds and most of them cost about $300-$500. They’re ultra portable, with impressive specs and not all that expensive.
Most have built-in batteries that last about 2 hours but you absolutely need a power source for them. If you’re going to a nice campsite that is not going to be a problem at all. And you’ll also have access to WiFi.
Some devices will come with their own OS and browser and interface where you can download all the apps you want for streaming services, while for others it’s best to buy a streaming stick for enjoying your favorite content in the easiest way ever.
Check out my guide on how long projectors last to see how long you can expect to use for whatever needs you have.
As long as you buy the right device, you’re going to be impressed with what projectors are capable of doing, you just have to figure out which of these many uses of projectors you want to take advantage of.