Sports bars offer an extraordinary experience while watching your favorite team play games like Football, Basketball, Baseball, and more.
Most sports bars opt for TVs for streaming popular sports channels. However, it requires multiple large screen TVs to make sure everyone in the bar is covered.
On the other hand, projectors have become extremely economical. Projectors can offer up to a 200-inch screen for the same price as a 55-inch TV. If you aren’t well-versed with projectors, it can be confusing to choose the best projector for your sports bar.
With this informative guide, I’ve listed the 5 Best Projector for Sports Bar that offer the best bang for your buck with an immersive viewing experience.
Furthermore, I’ve also mentioned few things you should consider while choosing the best sports bar projector.
Are you ready?
Let’s get started!
Best Projector for Sports Bar: Top 3 Picks
5 Best Projector for Sports Bar
As mentioned above, the important feature a sports bar projector needs is high brightness. The Optoma UHD50X is a top-of-the-line 4K projector that offers 3400 lumens of brightness.
As we all know, modern sports like football, basketball, and baseball are very fast-paced, which results in ghosting. Ghosting happens when the projector cannot quickly refresh the screen to view the next set of images it is receiving.
To prevent ghosting, the Optoma UHD50X is offered with a 240Hz refresh rate and 16ms response time. Thus, your customers can enjoy Ultra High Definition video quality with crisp details.
To further improve video quality, this projector also comes with HDR10 and HLG compatibility. These two features ensure that you can enjoy HDR-supported content with vivid colors, deeper black levels, and brighter whites for an immersive viewing experience from a 120-inch screen.
The projector also comes with multiple viewing modes, including Sports Mode and Football Mode. The Sports Mode further improves the dynamic contrast ratio, which results in a vivid color display. On the other hand, the Football Mode improves green color space to enhance the green football field and audio enhancements to boost trebles for clearly hearing the commentary team.
Optoma states that the 3400 lumens light bulb can last close to 10,000 hours in Eco Mode and up to 15,000 hours in Dynamic Mode. However, in Bright Mode, the light bulb is stated to last for up to 4000 hours. The Dynamic Mode and Eco Mode reduce the bulb’s brightness by up to 70% to improve lamp life significantly. Thus, you can use the Dynamic and Eco Mode during the evening and nighttime to make the projector bulb last a long time.
Compared to its features and specifications, the Optoma UHD50 weighs just 8.6 pounds and can be ceiling-mounted easily. It features connectivity options like HDMI 2.0 port, HDMI 1.4a port, VGA port, audio-in port, audio-out port, S/PDIF-out port, USB 2.0, USB power port, RS-232C port, and 12V trigger.
While this projector has a plethora of wired connectivity options, it misses crucial wireless connectivity options like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You can quickly resolve this issue by adding a streaming media player like Amazon Fire Stick, Chromecast, and Roku for smart projector-like functionalities.
With its 1.3x zoom, The Optoma UHD50X can offer 100-inch screen from 9-feet distance and 120-inch screen from 10.5-feet distance. Plus, this projector can display up to 300-inch of screen size, although from a far distance. To improve image placement further, you get ±40° keystone correction and 5-15% vertical lens shift.
“The Optoma UHD50X is a featured-packed 4K projector that offers improved video quality due to HDR10 and HLG features. The 3400 lumens bright lamp finds its usability during daytime and longer lamp life due to multiple lamp modes.”
2. BenQ TK850
Unlike the previously mentioned Optoma UHD50X, the BenQ TK850 offers a true 4K resolution display. Instead of converting 1 pixel into 4 pixels via pixel-shifting technology, the BenQ TK850 supports native 4K resolution that displays individual 3840 x 2160 pixels.
Design-wise, the BenQ TK850 looks very sleek when compared to Optoma UHD50X; however, it is slightly heavier at 9.3 pounds. You get a minimalist design that looks stunning in real-time. The front houses the projection lens, while the top features multiple control buttons along with a zoom and focus mechanism for the projection lens.
For starters, this projector can output 3000 lumens of brightness. While the brightness is slightly less than the Optoma UHD50X, it can still produce vibrant images in a moderately-lit sports bar. This projector is equipped with BenQ’s own HDR-PRO technology along with HDR10 and HLG support to improve the image quality.
The HDR-PRO technology improves on the HDR10 technology and provides exceptional color output for a remarkable viewing spectacle. For any HDR10 supported content, this projector will improve the picture quality, thus watching sports on a big screen will be an other-worldly experience for your customers.
Talking about its projection, the BenQ TK850 can produce 100-inch projection from a distance of just 8.2 feet. Due to its 1.3x optical zoom, the long throw projector can produce larger-sized projection from a shorter distance. Whereas the inclusion of a 10-degree vertical lens shift ensures you can correctly place the projection even when the projector is ceiling-mounted.
This projector has multiple viewing modes and one of them being Sports Mode. The Sports Mode handles fast-paced movements remarkably well. Moreover, there’s a distinct separation between the players and the field’s green color. The Sports Mode also enhances the audio trebles by a tiny amount. Thus your customers won’t have issues listening to the sports commentary even on crowded days.
“The BenQ TK850 is a fabulous example for a native 4K budget projector. You get tons of features that make it an ideal choice for use in a sports bar. The only reason it received 2nd rank is because of the slightly lower 3000 lumens brightness.”
If you don’t want to compromise on a projector without spending much, then the Optoma HZ39HDR is the perfect pick for you.
While it doesn’t come with native 4K resolution or pixel-shifting 4K technology, it covers up with a plethora of other features.
For starters, the Optoma HZ39HDR offers a whopping 4000 lumens of brightness. It is the brightest projector in our list of the best projector for sports bar. The 4000 lumens light source ensures you can get exceptionally bright video without having to dim your whole bar.
The above-mentioned projectors consist of a lamp that acts as a light source and can last anywhere between 2000-6000 hours depending on usage. However, the Optoma HZ39HDR comes with a LASER light source. The Laser light source offers a whopping 30,000 hours of usage. Thus, you don’t have to deal with regular lamp changes, as seen in lamp-based projectors.
With moderate usage, this projector can easily last you more than 15 years, which is a big feat for any projector. Moreover, the laser light source stays relatively cooler and doesn’t require startup time when compared to a lamp-based projector.
Talking about the projector, it sports a boxy design and weighs close to 10 pounds. The projector is over 13-inch wide, 10.5-inch deep, and 4.8-inch high. It features DLP technology and is capable of producing contrast ratio of up to 300,000:1.
The Optoma HZ39HDR has a native 1920 x 1080p resolution with support for 4K input. To further improve the image quality – this projector supports HDR10 content. With high brightness of 4000 lumens and a laser light source, the HDR10 content becomes more vibrant than HDR10 content on lamp-based projectors.
On the projection front, the Optoma HZ39HDR can display up to 120-inch projection from a distance of just 10.5-feet. Thus, you don’t need a large space to get a huge movie-theater-like projection.
Other features include vertical keystone correction, 1.3x optical zoom, HDMI 2.0 port, Blu-ray 3D support, and MHL connectivity.
“The Optoma HZ39HDR is the best projector for sports bar in the budget segment. It offers a whopping 4000 lumens brightness via its laser light source. With these two features, you can use this projector during daytime and not worry about pricey lamp changes as the Laser light source can last up to 30,000 hours.”
4. BenQ TH671ST
The BenQ TH671ST is a value-for-money projector and will be the right fit if you own a compact sports bar. This projector is mainly targeted towards budget gaming and sports viewing on a big screen.
It is available in a compact size and weighs just under 6 pounds; this feature makes it a lightweight sports bar projector. The lamp source within this projector is capable of producing up to 3000 lumens of brightness.
As mentioned above, 3000 lumens of brightness is more than enough in a dimly lit or a compact sports bar. At an affordable price, the BenQ TH671ST supports native 1920 x 1080p resolution and sports a low input lag of 16ms. For comparison, it takes around 100ms to blink our eyes; hence a delay of 16ms is very hard to perceive through our naked eyes.
The low refresh rate ensures you get better motion handling when it comes to fast-paced sports like football, baseball, basketball, and more. Moreover, the Sport Mode further improves the sports viewing experience by making necessary visual and auditory enhancements.
The BenQ TH671ST sports short-throw projection capabilities, which means it can display a 100-inch screen from a distance of just 5-feet. Thus, if you own a compact sports bar, then this projector is a savior for you.
Talking about its picture quality, the BenQ TH671ST covers 92% of Rec.709 color space. This figure ensures you get a true-to-life color display, missing in most projectors at this price point.
To reduce eye strain – this projector is equipped with BenQ’s LumiExpert technology. This technology uses an ambient light sensor present in the projector. Depending on the surrounding light, the projector can automatically increase or reduce brightness to prevent eye strain.
For example, during daytime viewing, the LumiExpert technology can automatically increase brightness to get a clear and crisp display. However, once darkness sets in, then the projector can automatically reduce brightness, which will reduce eye strain and improve lamp life.
“The BenQ TH671ST is the most popular and value-for-money projector in the budget segment. With this projector, you get lower input lag, 3000 lumens brightness, and multiple viewing modes that adjust the visual and auditory experience while using this projector.”
While the above-mentioned BenQ TH671ST was a short-throw projector, the Epson Epiqvision Ultra LS300 comes with an ultra-short throw projection technology.
With an ultra-short throw projector, you can achieve a 100-inch screen from just a few inches away from the projection screen rather than few feet. To give you a fair idea – the Epson Epiqvision Ultra LS300 can display up to a 120-inch screen from a distance of just 15.2 inches.
However, the major downside with ultra-short projectors is that they cannot be ceiling-mounted. Hence, you’d need a flat surface close to the projection screen to get a clear projection. The Epson Epiqvision LS300 is designed with placement in the living room or movie theater in mind.
Thus, you don’t need to bother with complicated ceiling-mounting tasks. However, it is crucial to plan the positioning of this projector before buying it. I’d suggest making a shoulder-height wall shelf and placing it behind the bar counter. Such arrangement will keep the projector away from prying eyes and accidental spills.
Talking about its features, the Epson Epiqvision LS300 is filled to the brim. For starters, this projector is capable of producing a 1,500,000:1 contrast ratio, which is 3x more than our #1 pick, i.e., Optoma UHD50X.
Additionally, it comes with a Laser light source rated to last 20,000 hours and offers brightness of 3600 lumens. With such high brightness and ultra-short throw projection, this projector works exceptionally well during daytime viewing.
To improve daytime visibility further, you can pair this projector with an ALR (Ambient Light Rejection) screen. An ALR screen rejects ambient light from the surrounding and displays the light coming from the projector below. An ultra-short throw projector paired with an ALR screen offers a 100 or 120-inch TV-like watching experience (watch video below) during the daytime. However, an ALR screen is a costly affair and costs upwards of $600 for a 100-inch screen.
Furthermore, this projector is equipped with Epson patented 3LCD projection technology. As the name suggests, it uses 3 LCD panels within the projection mechanism that differentiates and integrates the 3 primary colors i.e. Red, Green, and Blue, for optimum color accuracy.
At the front, you get Yamaha engineered 20W front-firing 2.1 speaker system. It is the best speaker system compared to any projectors on our list. If you own a compact sports bar, the built-in speakers will be sufficient.
“The Epson Epiqvision LS300 is the most feature-packed sports bar projector on our list. It comes with Ultra Short Throw projection technology, 20,000 hours light source life, 1,500,000:1 contrast ratio, and the best sound quality due to the Yamaha 2.1 speaker system. Thus, if you don’t want to compromise on features and want a projector that your customers can enjoy during the daytime too, then the Epson Epiqvision LS300 is the perfect pick for you.”
Things to consider while buying the Best Projector for Sports Bar
1. Projector Brightness
It is well-known knowledge that projectors work their best in a dark room. However, this scenario is not possible in a sports bar. For starters, a sports bar isn’t as bright as a regular restaurant; thus, you have something to work with. Sports bars usually have limited lighting to aid privacy and coziness, which works in its favor.
With the limited lighting, a projector is an ideal option to be used in a sports bar. However, the ambient lighting can still affect a projector’s brightness. In such a scenario, it is crucial to get the brightest projector your budget can allow.
Projectors mentioned above come with 3000 lumens of brightness, which is more than enough to be used in a dim lighting condition. Having said that, if you have a large sports bar, getting up to 4000 lumens brightness projector won’t be an issue at all.
2. Projector Resolution
When it comes to buying the best projector for a sports bar, getting one with the highest resolution is a essential.
The top 2 projectors featured in our list offer 4K resolution – A 4K resolution projector ensures that your customers get crystal clear picture quality without having to squint their eyes.
The higher resolution makes sure that the text displayed on the screen looks crisp and prevents blurriness. Having said that, you can also opt to go with a Full HD projector as well.
The Optoma HZ39HDR is a Full HD projector on our list. However, your customers will get a marvelous viewing experience with its laser light source and 4000 lumens brightness.
3. Using a dedicated projector screen
You can use a projector to project on any surface; that’s its beauty. Thus, it is evident for you to think of using a projector in your sports bar and projecting it on any empty wall. Doing so won’t be an issue; however, you won’t get the best projection output.
A projector works by shining a light onto a projection surface, which is then reflected into our eyes. When you project on a wall, the wall absorbs a good percentage of light and reflects the rest. Hence, even if you get the brightest projector, it can’t display the desired bright image.
On the other hand, a projector screen is made with a reflective surface that reflects all the light that it receives.
Many projection screens come with a gain value. The gain value ranges from 1.1 to 1.4 on most projector screens. It means, if a 1000 lumens bright light falls on a screen with a gain value of 1.2, then the screen will reflect 1200 lumens. However, a higher gain value affects a projection screen’s viewing angle.
Alternatively, projection paint is available in the market. It is a special kind of paint that creates a highly reflective surface and useful for wall projection.
4. Low Input Lag
Compared to older projectors, modern projectors have a faster response time. However, projectors meant for gaming and sports tend to have less than 16 milliseconds response time. For comparison, it takes 100 milliseconds for our eyes to blink.
Low input lag coupled with a faster refresh rate helps in sports viewing and gaming. Many sports like Football, Basketball, Baseball, Sprint Racing, Formula 1, and MotoGP have fast-paced action, which can sometimes look blurry on an ordinary projector.
The projectors mentioned above have a very low input lag with Sports Mode. The Sports Mode handles fast motion very well and prevents ghosting. Thus, your customers won’t have to keep guessing what just happened on the projection screen.
5. HDR10 support
Most sports channel and streaming services now offer support for HDR10 content. Once you switch your content to HDR10, it drastically improves the color range of the displayed video. You get a rich color scheme since HDR10 uses more colors and a higher contrast rate.
6. ALR screen for Ultra Short Throw Projectors
ALR screen, a.k.a. Ambient Light Rejection screen, is a special type of projection screen for Ultra Short Throw projectors.
An Ultra Short Throw projector can work perfectly fine with a regular projection screen. However, an ALR screen is designed so that it rejects most of the ambient light and displays the projection very well.
This means, even during the daytime, you can use an ultra-short throw projector like a regular TV. The only downside to an ALR screen is that it costs upwards of $700, and the best ones can go up to $2500 for a 100-inch ALR screen.
Note: ALR screen only work the best with Ultra Short Throw Projectors
7. Projector Light Source
A projector’s brightness is dependent on the light source used in a projector. Most projectors from entry-level to premium range use UHP lamps developed by Philips and other OEM manufacturers.
UHP lamps are cost-effective and are easily replaceable if a lamp stops working. However, UHP lamps or other lamp-based projectors have a shorter life span. A projector’s lamp can last anywhere between 2000-6000 hours depending on usage. Brands like BenQ and Viewsonic claim that their projector lamp can last up to 15,000 hours if used in LampSave or Super Eco mode.
These modes reduce the projector’s brightness by 70%, making it unusable during daytime or with ambient lighting conditions. Moreover, lamp-based projectors can’t be used for more than 4-5 hours on single-use, emit a lot of heat, and need warm-up and cooling time.
On the other hand, Laser projectors use Class 1 laser light as a projector’s light source. Laser-based projectors are completely safe to use, offer over 20,000 hours of life, and don’t need startup time. Laser projectors are slightly costlier than lamp-based projectors, and the light source can’t be replaced easily.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Full HD projector good enough for Sports Bar?
Full HD projectors work well in a compact sports bar or a short distance. Suppose you get a good quality laser projector like the Optoma HZ39HDR. In that case, you won’t notice much difference between it and a 4K resolution projector.
Can I use a cheaper $200-$300 projector in my small Sports Bar?
Cheaper projectors are meant for apartment or dorm room usage. Most $200-$300 projectors come with an LED light source. LED light source isn’t as bright as lamp-based or laser projectors. Cheaper projectors offer anywhere between 300-700 lumens of max brightness with limited features.
What are the essential connectivity features to look out for in a sports bar projector?
Modern projectors come with important connectivity features like HDMI, VGA, USB, Optical input, and audio jack. Newer models also with Android TV features along with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for wireless connectivity.
Ensure your projector has 2 HDMI ports – one port for primary connection and the other for connecting a streaming media player like Amazon Fire Stick, Chromecast, or Roku.
Suppose you want to connect additional HDMI devices like Computer, PlayStation, Xbox, and TV Tuner. In that case, you can use an HDMI switch and toggle between multiple HDMI sources.
How long does a lamp-based projector last?
Depending on usage, a lamp-based projector is rated to last anywhere between 2000-6000 hours. To improve lamp life, lamp-based projectors are equipped with lamp modes that control the lamp’s brightness and improve its long-term durability.
As you’ve seen above, there are so many things to consider while buying the best projector for a sports bar. There are plethora of projector options available in the market from different brands, various light sources, and projection technology.
Compared to a TV, projectors offer a bigger display and can be easy for anyone sitting far away from the screen. Hence, you don’t need to purchase multiple TVs for all your customers to enjoy sports in your bar.
If you have queries regarding sports bar projectors, please leave your problem in the comment section below. I will make sure to answer all your queries with the utmost details.
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