Projectors are often used in offices/schools to project presentations and notes or even in movie theaters to project films. These devices have evolved from the magic lantern that could only project manually drawn pictures to a pocket projector that can fit in your pocket.
A short throw projector is a projector with a close throw range between the projector and the image on the screen, approximately 3-8 feet (36-96 inches) away. While these projectors are relatively expensive compared to the long throw, they are worth it as they offer more advanced features.
I’ll explain what a short throw projector is, highlighting its features, benefits, and whether or not it’s worthwhile. Remember what you plan to use the projector for since your requirements determine whether this type of projector is right for you.
Also read: Short Throw vs. Long Throw Projectors
Features of a Short Throw Projector
Short-throw (ST) projectors are one of three types of throw projectors, including long-throw (LST) and Ultra- short-throw (UST) projectors. ST projectors come with different lighting or projection features such as DLP, LCD, LED, LCOS, and laser.
To best understand how the three throw projectors work, imagine a set-up where you are in a small room and need to project a big picture. You won’t be able to use a long-throw (LST) projector because there isn’t enough room. The ST and UST could accomplish this because of their short-range projection technology.
It’s also important to note that some projectors are favorable for business or offices and others for home theater. This article helps explain the differences clearly, so take a look before you make your purchase.
Let’s understand the features of an ST projector.
Throw ratio is the relation between a projector’s throw distance and the width of the displayed image.
Unlike the standard projector or LST, the ST projector uses a low ratio, requiring it to be set close to the screen where the image will be displayed.
The ratio ensures good video resolution with minimal glare. Before purchasing your ST, you must first establish what image size you would like projected.
For a large image, you’ll require a small throw ratio. This can be calculated with the equation, Throw Ratio = Throw Distance / Image Width.
The Lens of the Projector
These ST projectors require a wide lens that illuminates and ample lighting to cast an image at a short range. This lens would use approximately a 0.38:1 to 1.4:1 throw ratio. The best types go as far as the 2:1 ratio.
Some projectors, such as the BenQ TK700STi (available on Amazon.com), come with an adjustable lens that can zoom in and out. This lens further assists in projecting images at short range, allowing you to make the image smaller or bigger without moving the projector.
In the projector world, lumens describe the light the projector will be able to produce. The higher, the better. The lumens depends heavily on the projector’s lens, whereas 3LCD and LCoS projectors offer more lumens because of their in-built throw ratios.
If the projector is for home use, where there’s low ambient light, then a projector with up to 1500 lumens will do. But for rooms with big windows like classrooms, 2500 lumens will work tremendously for you.
If you love watching and analyzing your football matches down to the most minute detail, then you have to pay attention to the motion blur of your screen.
With projectors, Digital Light Processing (DLP) display technology is as good as it gets. A reliable projector should produce smooth images with little to no blurring, which is determined by the image refresh rate measured in Hertz.
The bigger the number of Hertz, the better the motion quality on the screen. Most ST projectors deal with motion blur, reflected in the price point.
The picture quality covers the color, contrast, and sharpness of the image. The mirrors in ST projectors have a mirror coating that allows the clear reflection of narrow colors. Good picture quality comes from light beams reaching the screen faster.
The quality of images from ST projectors is worlds apart from the LST projector; that’s why these are popular in homes for the theater experience. Some projector brands can even show videos in 4K, which greatly adds to their allure and unique selling point.
Pros of Purchasing a Short-Throw Projector
Short-throw projectors are a worthwhile investment thanks to their many remarkable features. These features will vary from model and brand in the extensiveness of delivery, but the benefits are all the same.
- Interactive screenings. There are limited interruptions when this projector is used in a lecture hall, conference room, or board room. You won’t have issues like the glare of light hitting your face or walking to the back when you need to manually operate the machine, enabling interactive sessions.
- Impressive picture quality: The color of images displayed by an ST vs. an LST projector is like night and day. The ST offers sharp images with great color and contrast, fully immersing you in the experience.
- Cinematic experience in your home: If you are an avid movie lover, then an ST projector is for you. Since this projector doesn’t need a vast distance to cast images, your little living room can give you the theatrical experience a cinema hall would. This projector is also great for gaming enthusiasts who want to project their games in real-time.
- Saves you on installation costs: The standard or LST projector must be mounted in the ceiling of a room and involves a lot of wiring, which the ST doesn’t. This lack of wiring saves you a ton on installation and labor.
Watch this Youtube video if you want this projector and need more information on its benefits. The video compares three industry-lead brands and highlights the functionality and value of each of these projectors.
The Projector Screen
A projector’s set-up is not complete without a screen. You could project your images straight to your white wall, but this will not give you the desired crispness of image resolution that you would get with a screen.
Thankfully, screens aren’t as expensive as projectors, and you can get one for as low as $80 on Amazon. You can also use projector paint that you apply to the desired sport on your wall, which gives almost the same effect the screen would.
The Verdict: Short-Throw Projectors Are Worth It
The only downside to buying this projector is its price range because of the expensive glass in the lens and the many other technological advancements. However, different brands have different prices based on the benefits offered by each brand or model.
These projectors are worth the dime since some homeowners are going as far as switching TVs out for projectors in their living rooms. However, this is seen more with the Ultra Short Throw projectors.
Difference Between a Short throw and Ultra Short Throw (UST) Projector
ST projectors and UST projectors have many similar features, thus often being confused with one another, but they also have different benefits at different price points.
If you googled short throw projectors, you’ll likely get many results on USTs, so it’s important to know the difference. UST projectors need an even shorter distance between the projector and screen, approximately 0-4 feet (1.2 meters) away.
They are known for virtually eliminating eye glare and shadows more than the other two counterparts. The Ultra short throw projectors are all the buzz right now because of their valuable features, which are described below;
- Must be placed in front of the screen: Unlike the ST, which can be mounted to the wall or even placed on a table, the UST must be right by the screen. Also, the projector must face upward to be able to project.
- Wide range of cables: The UST supports more cables for projecting, including the USB, VGA, RCA, and HDMI cables which the ST doesn’t.
- Gaming capabilities: Of the two projectors, the STs are more suitable for gamers than the UST projectors because of the ST’s adjustable placement options.
- Price points: Most UST projectors go for a hefty price surpassing the STs. This increased price is because of their varied capabilities. UST projectors are also more expensive because of their ability to show images that are clearer and crisper than any other projector throw type.
While USTs are pricier, they offer much more than an ST, especially if you use the projector at home as a TV in the living room or for a home theater experience.
Projectors have evolved so much from the typical long throw projectors in cinemas to the USTs. ST projectors sit between the LTs and USTs and balance the best of both worlds. Their finest features are short throw ratio, image quality, and convenience when projecting in public spaces such as schools or conference halls.
Different brands from Panasonic, Epson, Hisense, and BenQ offer great ST projectors with varied price ranges and features to give you various choices.
Jason is a home theater expert with over 10 years of experience in setting up home cinema rooms and systems. What started out as a hobby soon transformed him into an authority in the audio-visual field. He is passionate about providing readers with accurate and up-to-date information on the latest audiovisual technologies and their applications for home theaters. Read more about Jason.