Deciding Whether to Choose a TV or a Projector for a Classroom

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Professional Learning

Size and Position

Considerations and Comparisons




When it is time to add or renew the display technology in a classroom, the first choice is usually between whether to install a TV (sometimes known as a Display) or a Data Projector.

This guide provides a list of things to consider and in which ways either a TV or Projector might best meet your needs.


Once you have read this guide you are welcome to contact the Connected Learning Advisory to get more personal assistance. We aim to provide consistent, unbiased advice and are free of charge to all state and state-integrated New Zealand schools and kura. Our advisors can help with all aspects outlined in this guide as well as provide peer review of the decisions you reach before you take your next steps.

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As with any technology decision, you should also consult with students and teachers and connect with other schools to ascertain their experiences. Specialist audio-visual companies will also be able to give further advice and recommendations.

When it comes to the time to install the projector or TV you should ensure the usual classroom teacher has plenty of input so that the image position and size are suitable and the cables are run to a suitable point in the room.

Professional Learning


Teachers may need some training to help them understand how to use the technology that is implemented so remember to factor-in some PL time.

Size and Position


The major factor to consider when choosing a projector or TV is simply the image size. Unless it is very large, small detail on a TV screen is not easy to see from the back of a classroom. Commonly, websites do rely on small details so a TV may not be appropriate. If the main purpose for the TV or projector is for small groups, large images or if the room itself is small then a TV might be more suitable. If the room is large then a projector may be preferable. Or, you could consider purchasing two TVs connected with a HDMI cable that both show the same image.

A good viewing experience requires you to also carefully consider glare, reflections, viewing angle, height and the viewer's distance from screen.



On-going costs

Power usage high

Replacement bulbs (although newer laser projectors have much longer lifetimes)

Power usage low

No on-going costs

Other potential costs

Curtains / blinds

Mounting bracket

AppleTV / Chromecast / Miracast device

Theft prevention measures eg window locks, window bars, security cages, alarms, CCTV, tags, leashes

Getting a power supply to the projector

Getting a VGA and/or HDMI cable to the projector

Mobile trolley if required

Mounting bracket

AppleTV / Chromecast / Miracast device

Theft prevention measures eg window locks, window bars, alarms, CCTV, tags, leashes

Getting a power supply to the TV

Getting a VGA and/or HDMI cable to the TV

Image size

Adjustable - Medium to Large

Fixed - Medium

Image brightness

Initially good but fades.

Bright image that stays bright for a number of years

Image sharpness




Relatively mobile (unless wall/ceiling mounted)

Not easily mobile unless mounted onto a specialist mobile trolley


Can project onto a whiteboard and annotate using a whiteboard marker

Can only annotate on the device being displayed (eg. tablet, laptop etc)

Ease of installation

Can be difficult if room is not suitable eg high or low ceiling, wall space not available, difficult to get cables to teacher’s desk etc

Tends to require a specialist installer

Needs a suitably sized separate screen / flat & reflective surface

Can look obtrusive in the room

Tends to be easier to install but takes up significant wall-space

Could be done by a caretaker

Tends to be unobtrusive on a wall

Robustness and Ease of Use

Can be prone to brackets becoming loose

Fans can be noisey

Can give out a lot of heat

Can take some time to start up

Vibrations can easily affect image

Shadows can be annoying

Poor image brightness can mean you need to turn off the lights or close the curtains

Requires maintenance like cleaning or replacing filters and bulbs

(Almost) instant-on

Silent to operate

Doesn’t give out lots of heat

Sturdy when properly mounted

Shadows are not an issue

Little maintenance required

Additional possible features

Interactivity either built-in using special pens or via an IWB Projector

Internet capabilities and apps

Touch-screen interactivity


  • Unless a TV is being used for small group work or the projector/TV has particularly good built-in speakers, a separate audio system is also likely to be required
  • Wireless connectivity from the device to the projector or TV of some kind is preferable to having to cable-in from a fixed location. This allows for greater mobility and sharing of what is on everybody’s screen rather than just what is on the teacher’s screen. Wireless connectivity can be achieved either via in-built capability or a separate device like AppleTV, Chromecast, Miracast or others. Please visit the CLA Guide Options for Displaying Mobile Devices on TV and Projector Screens
  • Connecting the projector or tv to the school network and internet can add functionality but also complexity. Carefully consider if you would really use this functionality to justify the additional expense required.
  • New, LED bulb-free projectors are becoming available that don’t require bulb replacements but these are currently considerably more expensive


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Produced for the Ministry of Education’s Connected Learning Advisory by CORE Education


Last Updated: 10/1/18

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