Why you might consider an ultra short throw projector

A theatre experience within any room of your house

Most people love big screens for their media consumption. That way almost everyone pines for those large TV screens. There are, however, those of us who wouldn't be bothered for such.

Yes, like everyone else, we like large screens but on the theatre experience side; a more immersive experience. Thusly, TVs are not really what comes to mind. Similary, due to preference or budget reasons, some of us live in small rooms at given stages in our lives. This would also be a good reason to consider moving away from the tradition TV setup.

We would choose a projector over a TV any day. Other than the possibility to scale the viewing screen, projectos come with a lot more benefits that TVs.

That is not to say that projectors do not have their disadvantages. For example,

  1. Most projectors need to project media over a distance.

    In most of the cases, you end up needing to mounting the projector on a ceiling, or an opposite wall. For an ideal experience, creativity is required wh cabling. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this is that anybody walking across the projector's line of sight will always block things. Shadows, yikes!!

    Failure to mount the projector means that you have to start setting up things every time you want to use it.

  2. Projectors work better in dark environments

  3. Projectors that work well in well-lit rooms are quite expensive

  4. Sometimes you may be required to buy extra components e.g projector screens, ceiling mounting tools or even ambient light rejecting screens. The latter screens are particularly expensive.

  5. Some projector noise levels may be annoying.

  6. Projectors need extra attention to avoid the degradation of the lamp.

  7. Due to input lag, sometimes upto 100ms of lag, projectors are often not ideal for gaming. Especially when playing against other players.

For a long time, these pain points have almost been impossible to avoid. Unfortunately, there has been low levels of interest in high-end projectors outside professional environments. This state of affairs has not helped accelerate innovation that would help make projectors better.

Nonetheless, in recent years there has been movement in the industries. The creation of Ultra short throw laser projectors is an exciting development. Unlike traditional lamp projectors, they can:

  1. Project an image over a close distance. This could be as close as 2 inches away from the wall.

    For example, the LG HU85LA 4K UHD Laser Smart Home Theater CineBeam Projector can illuminate a 90-inch screen from a distance of 2.2 inches and up to 120 inches from a distance of 7 inches. This way, you don't have to worry about people blocking your view nor where to install your projector.

    Vava 4k projector and Xiaomi's Mi Laser Projector can project up to a 150-inch screen from a distance of approximately 2 to 20 inches against the viewing wall.

    Since they're used very close to the wall, you don't have to rearrange your room. If you're okay projecting on a wall, all you need is free space on the wall. Plus you can move your projector to any room with ease.

  2. They have are a lot quieter

  3. They are low maintenance because they don't use lamps, which are subject to constant maintenance

    There no bulbs, no filters to replace.

  4. Better quality pictures.

    Due to the technology laser projectors use, the resulting image is similar to that of an OLED TV screen. It lights up the pixels that need to be lit while dark parts of the image are mostly left unilluminated. At the time of this writing, these projectors up to 8K resolution; most of them hovering around a solid 4K resolution.

    In terms of brightness, all the top projectors in this range rock at least 5000 lumens. They also have a minimum contrast ratio of 3000:1.

  5. Have better longevity. In most cases, the projectors can stand at least 20,000 hours of use. What's better is that their image quality does not degrade over this period.

  6. They come with inbuilt smart tv applications.

    This means you can often play videos from your favorite streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, HBO e.tc. They also come with inbuilt wifi which complements other IO such as HDMI ports.

Among the projectors I have mentioned so far, they all come with inbuilt speakers which are actually pretty decent. My take on them is a little different though. It seems to me that those speakers add to the overall bulk of these devices. It would help if future models were less bulky.

In terms of pricing, these projectors are expectedly expensive. You would need at least $1800 to purchase one. Depending on whom you ask, these prices are either worth spending or waiting out. And no, those who deem them worth buying don't have a tonne of money burning a hole through their pockets.

To place these prices in context projectors in this range have previously retailed for as much as $20000. I would bet that these prices will significantly drop within the next couple of years.

If interested in acquiring one of these, it's important to note that not these projectors are not necessarily equal. A bit of research into what sets each apart goes a long way.