What are the best things to do with a projector? Let us count the ways. It can be used indoors or outdoors. The modern video projector is a piece of tech that evolved from the business presentation projector of the 1990s and the overhead and slideshow projector of the 1970s and 1980s. This is in on top of the film projector that’s been around since the dawn of cinema and films, which are also known as silent movies and talkies.
With that in mind, what are some of the cool things you can do with a projector? As a rule of thumb, anything that a TV set or computer monitor, a projector can do (better). However, you can get creative with your projector usage and have all sorts of projector-related entertainment happening.
The Most Common Things to Do with a Projector
Open yourself up to a world of opportunities when it comes to projector usage or sticks with the tried-and-true usages of this modern display option. On that note, here are just some of the best things you can do with a projector in terms of business and pleasure.
- Watching Movie or TV Show Marathons: In the end, the best thing you can use your projector for is the thing it’s mainly marketed as—it’s the larger yet more cost-effective version of an HDTV. You can have your whole wall house the screen and you should end up with a satisfying display. Sure, it’s not as backlit as its LCD panel or even CRT television set counterpart, but its image or projection can be resized in every way possible, allowing you to watch TV or movies in any size of the screen. With it, you can marathon the entirety of the Lord of the Rings or watch every last movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You can also binge-watch episodes of The Office (U.S. or U.K. version) or all the seasons of The Simpsons.
- Playing Video Games on HD or Ultra HD: Whether you’ve had your projector for a while or you’ve just purchased it, you’ve probably thought about using it for your video gaming needs. Actually, in many ways, a projector is better than an HDTV at viewing immersive 4K Ultra HD games. Why? Those millions of pixels are squashed or reduced to 1080p or lower the smaller your display device is. With a projector, the projection is blown up to fit screens of up to 100 inches or more in size. Those big screens serve as the better method for translating those millions of pixels found in 4K Ultra HD games. Not to mention, some even have passive or active 3D properties as well.
- Doing Business Meetings and Presentations: A projector is a perfect device for business meetings and presentations because it effectively captures the attention of a boardroom’s worth of executives better than a whiteboard and pen would. What’s more, before digital projectors were used for A/V purposes like projecting movies like their film projector counterparts, they were mostly used in corporations for PowerPoint presentations or Excel spreadsheets. Just remember that there are specific projector devices made for business meetings that are different from home cinema projectors. Also, certain home cinema projectors can’t mirror your laptop or workstation user interface, thus necessitating buying projectors specifically made for presentation purposes.
- Using Projectors for Teaching Purposes: Another common use for projectors aside from business presentations and home cinemas is schoolwork. A multimedia method of teaching is one way for a high school teacher or community college professor to engage their students more with what they’re teaching, especially if it’s something as boring as math or science. Using a business projector to do presentations or a home video projector to project movies is one of many ways for an educator to teach concepts to their students in textual, visual, auditory, and immersive ways. You can play public service messages or use movies with historical significance for history class.
The Less Common Things to Do with a Projector
Aside from using the home or business projector you have on hand for their intended purpose of doubling as HDTVs or creating a home cinema as well as doing presentations for your bosses or classroom, there are some less common but impressive things you can use your projector for. Open your mind and be more creative with these imaginative ways you can have fun with this display device!
- Using The Projector as a Computer or Smartphone Monitor: Do you want to be able to do all of the above with a given projector, from watching movies to playing games and so forth? You might even be able to stream websites like YouTube or subscription services like Netflix or Amazon Prime through the projector as well! You can do so by using the projector as your monitor for your laptop or smartphone. Just watch out, since there are digital piracy safeguards that keep you from projecting movies from computer or smartphone to projector unless you’re doing so through Netflix and the like (which gives you permission to project). You might also need a device like Amazon Fire TV Stick or Roku to allow for streaming.
- Getting People on the Same Page at School: Many students, teachers, and parents can attest to how inefficient it is to cram for an exam. Your study group might not be always studying for the same textbook passages or practice problems because everyone has their own learning or reading speed. It can be a hassle to proverbially have everyone on the same page. A projector allows students to study at the same pace and speed, working on one page after another. You can make a presentation instead of transparencies like with an overhead projector. You can even connect to the Internet and have people do mock tests or play educational games. It’s more attention-grabbing to learn by projector than by blackboard or whiteboard.
- Having Some Fun Movie Nights: Watching TV or a major sports event by projector as a family is one thing. Going the extra mile and having a movie night with your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and whatnot is another thing altogether. Take advantage of the bigger screens you can now afford by having a projector at your house and rearrange your home cinema to become a home theater of sorts complete with multiple seats for a whole audience. Pick the movie you want to watch and watch together. Because of people’s schedules, you can only pick one movie instead of having a marathon. It can either pick a seasonal one for Halloween or get people together to watch the latest Blu-ray or DVD release of the latest superhero flick.
- Making Story Time a Lot More Fun and Visual: Reading to children is a joy to parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. However, you can actually go the extra mile and bring your story or picture book to a whole different level of interactivity or visual excitement. Yes, you can use your projector in order to scan the pictures of your book unto the screen. Or you can show clips of the Wizard of Oz while reading to your child a condensed version of the same book. Be creative about it. Otherwise, you can invest in a children’s book DVD or Blu-Ray with interactive menus and a narrator that your child can watch while reading along with a companion book.
- Indulging in Outdoor Projector Shenanigans: Outdoor movie nights are a thing. Having a movie night at your backyard is a great way to spice things up. Instead of trying to fit in people inside your home cinema like sardines, you can get a bigger space and simply have a backyard barbecue with movies playing in the background. Just make sure you’ve also invested on an inflatable projector screen since you need a bigger 100-inch screen for your bigger space and bigger audience. Also get enough lawn chairs, plastic chairs, or steel chairs as well as a Bluetooth speaker loud enough for people to hear outdoors. It might also be a smart idea to get a particularly bright projector if you plan to instead have a movie day or movie afternoon instead of a movie night.
- Investing in a Home Planetarium: If you love astrology, you can get your kids started to loving the cosmos by using your projector to project a home planetarium of sorts. You can use your video projector and some HD picture downloads of the night sky to project things like the Milky Way or the Solar System. There are some digital apps you can download unto your phone as well that you can then connect to your projector to allow for some amazing planetarium action. To be more specific, the apps are Celestia and Stellarium. Celestia is a 3D app that makes you feel like you’re flying across the galaxy or even the universe. Stellarium is an outright planetarium app used by actual planetariums.
In a Nutshell
You can do so many cool things with a projector. It can be used for home cinema or theater purposes, for one thing. It’s also a high-tech companion for your business presentation needs. In fact, before video projectors became ubiquitous in many a home entertainment system, it was mostly used to project images of spreadsheets and slideshows featuring charts and whatnot. If you’re searching for fun things to do as a family with your projector, you can step beyond the bubble of projecting TV shows or movies as well as videogames on a large screen.
- James Peterson, “10 Cool Things To Do With A Projector“, TheConchTech.com, December 12, 2019
- “Projector“, Wikipedia, Retrieved March 31, 2020