Digital Displays

There are 3 fundamental ways to game using a screen to display your maps to the players; TV*, projector, or individual displays. Each has its pros and cons:

  • Cost of equipment (above and beyond the DM's PC/laptop)​​

    • What do you already have available?​

    • Will it require tools, cords, etc. in addition to the base items?

  • Ease of setup

  • Footprint

    • Required area for the device itself and all peripherals

There are also some basic determining factors on what is even achievable regardless of cost; what size is required for your display? How much room do you currently use for your maps? 

*I will be using "TV" throughout this page but monitors can be used as well in lieu of one. TVs simply tend to be more affordable.

RPG Projection Gaming Table; details can be found here.

Image courtesy of from benjamendavis at Imgur  

TV

Using a TV has become the holy grail of in-person sessions. Before I go further I will make the statement that the true cost simply depends on what do you have already available to you? They are typically mounted under the table but displays mounted in frames to put on top of the table have become common as well. Effectively a mounted TV and one framed that rests on top are two entirely different approaches and have their own Pros and Cons.

Needed:

  • TV

  • Table​​

Considerations:

  • What size & resolution do you need? 32" 720p? 60" 4K? Do you already have one you can cannibalize?

  • big enough to have the tv mounted underneath or rest on top & still give everyone room for their thing​​

General Pros/Cons

Pros:

  • Display viewable in bright rooms

  • Better picture quality than the projector

  • Minis used on top aren't overlayed with the picture

Cons:

  • Cost; directly related to size/resolution ($129+)

Mounted

Pros:

  • Takes no room away from the table

  • No loss of surface area

Cons:

  • No mobility

  • Cost to build/modify a table to host the TV

    • Is this a dedicated gaming table or does it need to be able to be used for meals?​

  • Tends to be the most expensive option​ of all if done from scratch

 

Framed

Pros:

  • Portable

Cons:

  • May not be able to easily see the screen from a normal sitting position

  • Space is limited if 

  • Also

Projector

Projectors have also become popular for the simple fact that they are more affordable than TVs and they are versatile in their display size; generally 32-170"

 

Needed:

  • Projector; mini projectors are lightweight and can be suspended from a mount/boom without issue. 

  • Mounting device; it will need to project straight down onto the table

    • ceiling mount (most ideal), wall mount (if it can reach), or boom stand w/extension arm​

General Pros/Cons

Pros:

  • Affordable ($80+)

  • Inherent 32-128" screen projection

  • Mobile

Cons:

  • Cost; directly related to size/resolution ($80+)