What’s the Best Projector for a Sports Bar?

A sports bar is different from a home theater or cinema. What works at the privacy of your own home won’t necessarily fly in a sports bar setting full of talking people. You can’t place a projector at the back of the bar without people milling around and blocking it. You need something that’s more like a flatscreen or CRT TV that you can hang over the bar or place at the far end of the room to allow you to watch things like sports and some such. You should get a projector that’s better than the flatscreen monitor alternative or else you might as well just go the HDTV route anyway. 

By our estimations, the best projector for a sports bar is the Optoma GT1080Darbee Short Throw Projector. It’s short-throw, so you won’t have to worry about people blocking the projection with their shadows. It’s also very bright, which is perfect for all those ambient lights needed to function inside a bar or a pub. 

projectorninja Whats the Best Projector for a Sports Bar

The Hallmarks of The Best Sports Bar Projector

Projectors such as the Optoma GT1080Darbee Short-Throw or Short Throw Projector are best used for a sports bar setting because of their low lag time, high contrast, and a bright bulb that goes against the detriments of ambient light on the clarity of the projection itself. It’s also the more cost-effective choice when compared to the typical HDTV or CRT TV monitor on the side of the bar.


  • Go Search for a Reputable Sports Bar Projector: When searching for the best sports bar projector for your needs, you should buy one made by a company that’s one of the leading names in the projector industry. For example, Optoma is one of the most reliable corporations when it comes to making quality home cinema projectors. You’re assured of state-of-the-art technology that’s cutting edge when you avail of an Optoma projector. What’s more, it’s an impressive projector in its own right because of its responsiveness, brightness, and resolution. This is a topnotch quality that your sports bar patrons will appreciate when everything is said and done.


  • The Importance of Brightness and Contrast: In a setting with ambient light from light fixtures or daylight from an open bar with few walls (like a beach bar), it’s important for your sports bar projector like the Optoma GT1080Darbee Short-Throw Projector and others to have a brightness that keeps ambient light from making your projection look weak or muddy. Contrast, on the other hand, allows you to see fine details between the blacks and whites of the image, such that the colors are more intense and everything doesn’t melt together in a dull or gray mishmash of undecipherable imagery.  If you want a crystal-clear image, your projector should be bright enough with high enough contrast for the lighting setup of your bar.


  • No Lag Is The Way to Go with Sports Bar Projectors: Last but not least, your sports bar projector should have zero lag or next to zero lag. Latency is when you get a delay between the picture and the broadcast. A lot of latency can be quite obvious, like when CNN features someone having an interview “via satellite” and the delay can be as long as 5 seconds. However, lag can also happen in sports broadcasts, whether it’s a lag in the movement that results in digital flickering or the image looking like a slideshow instead of living sports as well as bad synchronization between the sound the picture you’re watching. Lag manifests itself in games by how responsive the image is to your game controls.


  • Sports Require Higher Frame Rates and Smoother Movement: Ever notice how a sports game being broadcast live, especially in HD, looks so different from a TV show or even something released in cinemas? Most laymen aren’t sure what’s the difference, but “The Hobbit” going with the 60 frames per second (fps) frame rate instead of the traditional 24 Fps shows what exactly that difference is all about. “The Hobbit” seemed to “look weird” at theaters because it looks like a sports game, with the hobbits and whatnot moving like “they’re there”. Higher frame rates are required from sports to get a good view of the action, and that’s what Optoma delivers with its GT1080Darbee.


  • Getting Your Priorities Straight with Your Projector Choices: Certain projectors have 3D capability with 1080p resolution. Others have a high frame rate at 4K Ultra HD resolution. It might be hard to choose which projector to go with. However, as far as sports bars are concerned, you need to pay attention mainly to two things—ambient lighting and how big the bar is. If it’s smaller, you should have a screen that fits the establishment while remaining big enough to be seen by its patrons even at the farthest part of the bar. It should also be like the BenQ HT2050A, which has specs like 2,200 lumens of brightness and 15,000:1 contrast ratio.


What The Optoma GT1080Darbee Short Throw Projector Brings to The Table

With that in mind, what does the Optoma GT1080Darbee Short Throw Projector offer that makes it unique or better than its competitors as far as sports bar projection is concerned? Here’s the lowdown in regards to that.

  • Incredible Picture Quality and Full 3D Capabilities: The whole point of getting a sports bar projector is to have a high-quality screen that projects the action of a baseball, basketball, tennis, football (both kinds) game as well as a boxing or MMA match in full HD. You can have that with the Optoma GT1080Darbee Short-Throw Projector’s Full HD 1080p capabilities at 1920 x 1080 resolution, 28,000:1 contrast ratio, and 3,000 lumens of brightness that delivers razor-sharp images and smooth movement every time. It’s also capable of displaying true 3D content from any 3D source, including 3D broadcasting or 3D Blu-Ray Disc (BD) players. This ensures flicker-free images that pop out of the screen, with the caveat that you need 3D glasses to fully view them.


  • More About Darbee Image Technology: The Darbee tech of the Optoma GT1080Darbee Short-Throw Projector is quite dependable when it comes to producing sharp images with good contrast and the 3D effect you’ve seen on some movies like “Avatar”. More to the point, you want a projector that consistently delivers that semi-realistic movement from its footage that provides the picture a sort of interpolated frame or soap opera effect. Soap operas are shot the same way as sports games, wherein there’s more emphasis in realistic movement and action because both are practically shot on-the-fly or even live. In such situations where you can’t meticulously set up lighting and editing for what’s a live telecast, there’s more emphasis on detail, smooth movement, and a feeling of being right there in the action with 3D flair.


  • The Amazing Darbee Vision Image Processor: If you’re watching a boxing match or an MMA bout, you want everything to be as detailed as possible even though it’s live and unedited. It can capture smooth motion even when dealing with face-paced action. You should be able to see what happens even before the network rolls the slow-mo replay. The projector’s propriety “DarbeeVision” or “Darbee Vision” image-enhancement technology is just what the sports bar ordered when it comes to making image and video details emerge from reflective surfaces and textures of your screen of choice. This guarantees that your sportscast will be as clear as day or as detailed as a 4K Triple-A game in 2020 on the Xbox One or PS4. It’s not only excellent at processing images for home theaters—it’s specifically designed for sports activities as well.


  • The Soap Opera Effect and Smooth Movements: HDTVs have a way of interpolating frames in a movie so that something cinematic can come off like it’s been shot for a soap opera, leading to smoother movement overall and a seeming increase in frame rate. Some love it and some hate it and would rather turn the feature off. In the sporting world though, it’s essential. To watch football and basketball much more clearly than their CRT counterparts, HD projectors and TVs can follow the quick pans that follow punts from Tom Brady or thunderous dunks from LeBron James. It’s also handy in videogames when you want to follow 3D polygonal action and realistic motion-captured movements with amazing immersive detail.


  • An Excellent Choice from a Usability Standpoint: The Optoma Short-Throw Projector is one of many projectors that work excellently from a usability standpoint. What this means is that it’s a practical sort of projector with a short-throw ratio. You can get a 120-inch image from 4 feet versus the 100-inch image from 8 feet that’s possible with a BenQ HT2050A. If your bar is small, you can get a big screen TV there through a projector that’s cost-effective cheaper. It’s also designed for efficiency’s sake. You can waste a lot less energy through its many energy-saving modes. In turn, this should ensure that your lamp’s lifespan isn’t shortened just because your projector has to play 8 hours a day while your bar’s open.


  • Unsurpassed Gaming Experience Is The Key: If you can game on a projector you can use it as a sports bar projector. Why? Many of the things you depend on for a good gaming session for first-person shooters or fighting games, you will also require for sports viewing. Low latency or lag? Check. Even though sports viewing doesn’t require a game controller or input responsiveness, you still want a sportscast with no delays and smooth streaming whether it’s from a satellite/cable box or through the Internet. The lightning-fast response of 16 milliseconds also makes sure that your HD sports broadcast remains as live as possible despite having pre-recorded levels of HD quality.


  • Watch Out for Input Lag: The Optoma Short-Throw Projector featured in this article is impressive in delivering sports footage because of its low lag. Its input lag or how fast the satellite or cable box delivers its info is about 16 milliseconds when you’re using 2D footage. If it’s 3D footage (that you won’t usually need), it’s a bit slower. However, this is low enough for even dealing with HD gaming, which means your input is translated immediately unto the player character at the fraction of a second with minimal latency. You won’t have trouble catching the sports plays no matter how fast the action or broadcast can get. You’ll feel like you’re there too!


  • Power Conservation and Eco Mode: The Optoma Short Throw Projector also has a 215W or 215-Watt Max ECO or Economy Mode to allow you to conserve energy akin to the Eco mode of the BenQ HT2050A. Its Max Bright or Maximum Brightness Mode is at 262W or 262 Watts instead. It’s also an auto-switching sort of projector with a power supply that has an AC input of 100-240 Volts or 50-60 Hertz. The Optoma GT1080Darbee is designed to run as long as possible without consuming large amounts of energy or outright overheating even at Max Bright Mode. Its ECO mode is also bright enough to handle most ambient lighting settings for sports bars to boot.


  • Short Throw Lens Ensures Sports Bar Convenience: A sports bar is usually so cramped that it makes the most sense to put up a TV monitor or flat-panel HDTV up the wall for patrons to watch since it’s the space-saving solution that maximizes your bar’s elbow or standing room. A “normal” home theater projector will usually not cut it inside a pub or sports bar, so usually, you can only afford a certain size of HDTV. With a short-throw projector like Optoma GT1080Darbee, it’s now possible to project an image that’s 120 inches in size from 4 feet away. You can place the projector closer to the screen and still end up with an image big enough for everyone in your bar to see. This allows for easier installation and smaller spaces used.


  • For Gaming, Movies, and Sports: The Optoma Short-Throw Projector works for gaming, movies, and sports all for the same reason. It works as a TV monitor in that you don’t need to mount it on the ceiling or at the back of the room to project its image unto the screen the same way you would with an LCD panel TV or HDTV. Additionally, it has low input lag and 3,000 lumens of brightness. The former ensures that you get every second of the sports action in real-time and the latter guarantees that the bright lights of the sports bar won’t hinder the clarity of the image. Its 16-millisecond input lag is also handy with gaming that requires twitch reflexes to win games and whatnot and its brightness is a must for any home cinema projector.


  • A Versatile Projector Through and Through: For a projector that’s seemingly designed for sports bars exclusively, the Optoma GT1080Darbee pretty versatile. It doesn’t only flourish in a pub or bar setting with its limited room and its audience that pays half of its attention to the game or match going on in the background. It also works as a gaming projector in game rooms or as a cinematic projector in home cinemas and family rooms. It captures high-fidelity movement and action at high frame rates and the smoothest of motion while also rendering lower frame rates, 4:3 aspect ratios, and smaller resolution shows and films. It can even be used for camping and backyard viewings during a barbecue due to its brightness.


  • The Better Sports Bar Projector Deal is Optoma: In terms of price, the HT2050A isn’t exactly cheap but it’s worth the money for sure, especially those that cost thousands of dollars or more. Then again, the Optoma GT1080Darbee Short Throw Projector is about $200 or so cheaper than the BenQ HT2050A despite having better brightness and short-throw ratio. The BenQ HT2050A is about $700 while the Optoma GT1080Darbee is about $550, give or take a dollar. The savings are great and Optoma pushes the envelope just enough to make it sail past its BenQ competition. BenQ might have more energy-saving features but Optoma has better deals when it comes to specs and actual sports bar prowess.


The Final Verdict

A sports bar can benefit from using a projector instead of a large flatscreen TV, especially if it’s a particularly large sports bar and you want everyone to see what’s going on the screen by making it big enough to be visible at the back. Otherwise, you might be forced to place CRTs or flatscreens at every corner of your sports bar to allow everyone to watch the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, a major boxing event, an MMA bout, or WrestleMania. Excellent projectors like the Optoma GT1080Darbee are more affordable to buy than a flatscreen HDTV of the same screen size.

They’re by far more cost-effective in terms of price per inch doubtlessly even though they’re otherwise pricier than the average TV set. The massive screen size is worth it because you’ll be able to see every play and every fine detail with ultra-realistic, high-fidelity quality that’s even higher than what you can get from the cinema. After all, everything is running at interpolated or 60 frames per second or higher speeds. Regardless, the GT1080Darbee is bright enough to be seen in ambient light and large enough for a huge audience to watch the action unfold in exquisite detail.


  1. Optoma GT1080Darbee Short Throw Projector“, Amazon.com, Retrieved March 21, 2020
  2. Jon Wilde, “Why Does My New TV Make Movies Look Like Soap Operas?“, GQ.com, May 2, 2013.


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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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