How Can I Watch TV on My Outdoor Projector?

If you’re wondering, “How can I watch TV on my outdoor projector?” you basically need to shop for a high-lumen projector with the right HDMI cables or TV streaming stick compatibility to be able to watch or stream various TV shows and movies.

A projector can serve as your HDTV or CRT TV alternative for sure, especially the video projectors of the 2020s. Almost every media source or player is digital nowadays, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility to turn a digital projector into a TV substitute. 

If you’re wondering, “How can I watch TV on my outdoor projector?” then keep on reading to find out the truth. It’s all about defining what TV is and how to connect its contents to your projector.

How Can I Watch TV on My Outdoor Projector?

The main way to watch TV on your outdoor projector is to first get an outdoor projector (i.e., a high-lumen projector of around 3,000 lumens that can take ambient daylight) that’s HDMI or wireless and Wi-Fi enabled. From there, connect the projector to the digital TV media source.

See more: Can You Watch TV on a Projector? Absolutely!

You can link your projector up to your cable or satellite box, DVD player or BD player, and streaming device like Roku or Amazon Fire TV Stick. They all have TV feeds or recordings of TV shows in disc format you can play over your outdoor projector for your convenience.

Projectors are mostly considered as cinematic or theatrical devices developed for watching movies. However, it’s possible to livestream or play digital streams from cable boxes and streaming players with HDMI connections.

Can I Watch TV on My Outdoor Projector
Can I Watch TV on My Outdoor Projector?

Aren’t Projectors Mainly Used for Viewing Movies?

When people think projectors they think cinema projectors. They’re mostly used for screening movies, right? How can they be used for screening TV shows, much less outdoors? What about live sports events or news feeds? This is all possible with the evolution of digital technology.

It’s not only movies that are available digitally by DVD or BD tech as well as cable boxes or streaming services. There are also normal TV shows streamed in websites like Netflix or Amazon Prime as well as Hulu. It’s not unusual for people to stream via Hulu or Netflix episodes of Family Guy or The Simpsons.

There are many other ways to use your projector other than marathoning the Lords of the Rings Trilogy or the Hobbit Trilogy. In fact, , there’s no reason for you to not use a projector for your TV needs.

How Versatile Are Projectors?

Outdoor projectors are highly versatile. Aside from screening videos, they’re also capable of being used like ordinary PCs, tablets, or smartphones. More to the point, you can do picture slideshows with them as well as outright business presentations.

It’s no big deal for the projector to project normal TV feeds to the big screen at your own backyard or via portable pico or pocket projector form. Most TV content is available in 480p SD, 720p HD, 1080p FHD, or 4K UHD anyway.

It really can fulfill your daily TV viewing needs even if you merely want to use it to view mundane things like soap operas or the latest reality TV series.

Outdoor Projectors vs. TVs

Well, obviously, unlike a TV set, an outdoor projector is portable, battery-powered, and can work at places like your backyard, while camping and using your tent as a screen, or anywhere out in the open daylight (though a bit of shade is preferable).

Do you need to even buy a new TV when a projector can get the job done for you at a relatively affordable price? Well, yes. It isn’t easy to setup a projector, even a freestanding outdoorsy one. An HDTV works longer hours without burning out any lamps within it, after all.

There are certain advantages to using a projector over a TV but the reverse is also true. In particular, you need to figure out the steps needed to watch normal TV on your digital video projector.

How to Use a Projector as a TV?

You can use a TV tuner box in order to turn your projector into your big screen TV. It’s the small screen making the leap to the big screen essentially, even though the screen isn’t as huge as a commercial cinema screen for obvious reasons (your home can only fit so big a screen even outdoors).

The TV tuner allows you to search for or view free TV signals because your projector can’t do that on its own. There are TV tuners out there that work with HDMI connections, but most still require a coaxial and A/V connection instead. However, most people don’t bother with terrestrial TV anyway.

Commercial-free (relatively) cable TV is the way to go, and modern cable is all about that digital cable box. Ditto with satellite TVs and their satellite box. They deliver HD channels and whatnot while your TV tuner might be limited to SD only or clipped HD.

Prerecorded or Streamed TV Shows

Your second option to viewing TV shows on your own schedule without using devices like TiVo is to avail of DVDs, BDs, and streaming services that allow you on-demand access to various shows in 13-episodes to 60-episode season-long chunks. You can marathon them on your projector.

The beauty of these prerecorded TV shows is that you only need to run an HDMI cable between your projector and your media source to view them. You’re not beholden to the scheduling of a given channel. You can set your own schedule on when to watch certain programs every time.

Live Shows and Prolonged Usage

In regards to watching live shows like the news, sports, and so forth, the cable box remains your best bet. For filmed or recorded shows, streaming or buying those DVD/BD box sets is ideal instead.

Alas, projectors get hot after long periods of use. Don’t let the device overheat and limit your viewing time at reasonable stretches. Your projector isn’t like your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop PC that can run for quite a long period of time while marathoning TV shows.

The Summation of Thoughts

If you have an HDMI connection or port with your projector then it’s possible to play normal TV or live sports events on your projector even if you’re screening something outdoors, like at your backyard or through an open-air drive-in theater.

A projector covers a large area, much larger than even the largest of plasma/LCD flatscreen HDTVs. In many cases, this device can play the same media as your digital TV through an HDMI connection and a media source.


  1. S. Santos, “Can You Watch Normal TV On A Projector?“,, August 20, 2020
  2. James Core, “Can You Watch TV on a Projector? Absolutely!“,, Retrieved July 3, 2021

James Core

I love my projector system and I am here to help you find the right projector for your needs.

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