A home cinema is a fantastic way to recreate that cinema experience for your family and friends and domestic projectors are available with sophisticated technology, allowing for high-resolution 4K HD and HDR projection. However, don’t get the popcorn out just yet! Getting the right projector can be a challenge.
Anyone looking to set up a home cinema will confirm that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of projectors on the market nowadays. Some with dizzying specifications and features that can quite easily confuse a consumer. With 3 main projector types available today, let’s go in-depth into one of the most versatile: the short throw laser projector.
In this article, we’ll mainly be looking at what short throw projectors are, how they work, and where they are best used depending on the size of your room. We’ll also look at some alternative types and models of home projectors and finish off the article with a buying guide for you to showcase the best makes and models we have found.
Video Projector Throw Distance
There are three categories of video projectors:
- Short Throw Projectors: Uses a lens and laser to display a large image of around 100 inches when placed 3-8 feet from the screen. Ideal for smaller rooms where the projector will be placed in front of the viewer. As they’re closer to the screen, they do not need to be as bright and will have a lower lumen rating, usually topping out at around 3000 lumens.
- Ultra-Short Throw Projectors: Uses a laser and mirror to project images around 100 inches from 2 feet or less from the projector screen. Ideal for rooms with medium levels of ambient light, they have a high lumens rating.
- Standard/Long Throw Projectors: Uses a lens to display large images when placed 6 feet or further from the projector screen. As these projectors are further away, they will often be brighter, with a higher lumen rating of 3000 or above.
What Is A Short Throw Laser Projector?
Often referred to as short throw projectors, or ST projectors, this type of projector technology projects a large image while being typically between 3 and 8 feet from the projector screen. They use either a laser or a powerful LED bulb type for projecting excellent quality HD images.
They are specifically designed for smaller rooms or spaces making them ideal for use in a domestic setting where space is critical.
Short throw projectors can project large images up to around 100 inches from a short distance. As the distance is shorter, they typically use powerful laser technology to project high-quality images, often in supporting HD. They are not usually as bright as other projectors, with their lumen rating usually around 3000 lumens maximum.
Most short throw projectors have a built-in speaker system and are intended for placement in front of the viewer, making them ideal for smaller home theatre spaces or living rooms. They are more expensive than a long throw projector, however, many will argue that they represent a better quality image and viewing experience.
What Is An Ultra Short Throw Projector?
Ultra short throw projectors (or UST projectors) use the latest laser technology to project a high-quality image from a very short distance of 2 feet or less. This makes them a great TV alternative for any room size, as they sit on a sideboard or on the floor and project a large image of 100 inches or more on the screen above them.
They use a wide-angle lens, mirrors, and a powerful laser or LED light to project sharp, HD images. As the projector is so close to the screen, they also can tolerate a fair amount of ambient light without the image appearing washed out.
This new tech doesn’t come cheap, unfortunately, and many of the UST’s on the market today are priced well above that of a short throw or long throw projector. Let’s take a look at ST projectors in more detail and how to choose the best for your needs.
Choosing the Best Projector For Your Room
Whether you’re looking to watch cartoons with the kids, play games in your bedroom on the big screen, or set up a home cinema for the entire family, room size is going to play a crucial role in the type of projector that’s best for you.
You’ll want to take note of the dimensions of your room, and also consider how many people will be using the space, and where they’ll be sitting. Cables and connections also need to be considered. If you’re planning to use an ST projector and place it in front of the viewer, how will you connect power, AV, and other cables that are required to run the projector?
Sound and fan noise are also considerations. Most projectors will have a built-in speaker system and a cooling fan that will omit noise. Some fans are noisier than others and some people may find the noise distracting when placing the projector near a viewer or in front of the screen.
Here are some tips for choosing the best projector type for your room:
- If you have a large room with plenty of seating (e.g: a home cinema space), then using a ceiling-mounted long throw projector is likely ideal for you.
- If you want the projector placed in front of you then a short throw or ultra-short throw projector is ideal.
- Smaller rooms such as a bedroom or living space, are ideal spaces for using a short throw or ultra-short throw projector.
- If you want the projector to be as close to the screen as possible, then choose an ultra-short throw projector.
Projector Features And Settings
No matter if you are considering a long throw, ultra-short throw, or ST projector, all projectors these days come with a great range of features to provide the best image quality possible. Be sure to check that your new projector includes features such as Keystone Correction and Lens Shift, as these options will aid in positioning the image properly on your projected surface or screen.
Advantages Of ST Laser Projectors
ST laser projectors are ideal for when you have a smaller room size that’s typical in the usual home setting. They work very well in lounge rooms and living rooms that have low-medium levels of ambient light, although, for the best image quality, a dark room with little ambient light will always yield superior image quality.
As they can be placed close to the viewing screen, they are not as bright as long throw projectors, with many having a lumen rating that tops out at around 3000 lumens. However, as far as image quality goes, they will appear brighter and far better at producing rich colors and contrast compared to long throw projectors.
Short throw projectors are the most energy-efficient projector type too, consuming less power compared to long-throw or ultra-short throw projectors.
They are the perfect movie night or gaming projector, and many are easily set up when placed on a small stand or table in front of the screen. They’re designed to be portable and usually only weigh around 3-4 pounds maximum.
Finally, short-throw projectors are far more affordable than the newer ultra-long throw projectors, providing the ultimate bang for your buck. Short throw projectors provide excellent picture quality too with a high resolution (4K/8K) that can reproduce rich colors and sharp clear images that can’t be achieved by long throw projectors.
ST Laser Projector – Buying Guide
Now that you know all of the benefits that ST laser projectors can provide you need to decide on a short-throw projector that is perfect for your room size and budget. The good news is there are plenty of good-quality models on the market with a range of features and levels of affordability.
Let’s take a look at our top pick of the best ST laser projectors.
BenQ HT2150ST 1080P Short Throw Projector
The BenQ HT2150ST 1080P Short Throw Projector is ideal for video or gaming use and allows you to project a huge 100-inch image size when positioned just 3-feet from a projector screen or surface. It offers an exceptional picture quality, delivering rich color and high contrast with a native 1080p Full HD image.
It’s the ideal all-purpose projector with flexible connectivity options built-in allowing for connection to iOS and Android phones and devices, laptops, and streaming devices such as Fire Stick and Chromecast. It is also great for gaming devices such as a PS3/4/5 and Xbox, offering low-lag connectivity and super sharp image reproduction.
- Native resolution: 1080P HD
- Supported resolution: 1080P HD
- Weight: 7.93 lbs
- Projector size: 4.79 x 14.98 x 10.91 inches
- Lumens: 2200 ANSI Lumens
- Contrast ratio: 15000:1
- Connectivity: HDMI x 2 (MHL),
Optoma GT1080HDR Short Throw Gaming Projector
The Optoma GT1080HDR Short Throw Gaming Projector is suitable for a variety of environments including family rooms, theater rooms, and gaming rooms, as well as for outdoor use. The projector allows users to experience a large 120-inch image projected from just 4 feet away.
It uses HDR10 technology to provide ultra-sharp, and super bright 1080P HD image quality. Viewing in the daytime or high ambient light environments is easy with a 3800 lumens brightness rating and a whopping 50,000:1 contrast ratio.
With extra features catered to gamers, this projector offers an ‘enhanced gaming mode’ which provides 8.4ms response time with a 120Hz refresh rate for lag-free gaming.
The projector also offers highly flexible connectivity options, supporting 4K and 1080 HDR Input, as well as HDMI, VGA, Audio in, USB-A, VGA out, Audio out, and RS-232 interfaces.
- Native Resolution: 1080P HD
- Supported resolution: 1080P HD
- Weight: 7.70 lbs
- Projector size: 12.4 x 9.5 x 4.5 inches
- Lumens: 3800 Lumens
- Contrast ratio: 50,000:1
- Connectivity: HDMI 2.0, HDMI 1.4a, VGA, Audio in, USB-A, VGA out, Audio out, and RS-232
XGIMI Halo True 1080p Portable Projector
The XGIMI Halo True 1080p Portable Projector is a fantastic projector for indoor or outdoor movie night, offering True 3D and Full HD projection with a native resolution of 1080P. It creates bright and sharp images using a powerful projector with a rating of 800 ANSI lumens.
This is a great projector for those looking for the flexibility of where you place a projector for the biggest image size possible in a room. Simply place the projector within 2.59 – 25.9 feet and the image size will automatically adjust between 30 – 300 inches!
You could use this in your smallest room or move it to a large room for a larger screen size if you ever needed to.
Another great feature is the easy connectivity of this device with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, HDMI, and USB connectivity. This means that streaming movies and shows has never been easier as you can download your favorite streaming service app (Netflix, YouTube, HULU, etc.) directly to the projector.
- Native Resolution: 1080P HD
- Supported resolution: 1080P HD
- Weight: 3.5 pounds
- Projector size: 4.4 X 5.7 X 6.7 inches
- Lumens: 800 ANSI Lumens
- Contrast ratio: 10,000:1
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, HDMI
Choosing the right short-throw laser projector doesn’t have to be a hassle and with this guide, we’ve provided you with plenty of tips for choosing the right one based on your room size and the features you require. Whether you’re a gamer, an avid movie buff, or simply need a good projector for streaming your favorite shows, there are some excellent options available.
Consider your room size, where you plan to place the projector, and also the ambient lighting levels of the room. These will inform what projector is best for your situation. You’ll also want to consider ease of connectivity with your preferred device, as most short-throw projectors come with flexible connectivity options, although some are easier to connect to certain devices than others.
Our options cater to different budgets too, with all of the projectors reviewed offering excellent features alongside exceptional image quality and affordability. With this information at hand, you’ll have your home cinema set up ready in no time!