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Short Throw Projector vs. Ultra Short Throw Projector: Full Comparison

If you’re in the market for a projector, it is easy to become overwhelmed by so many options. You have to choose resolution, lumens, light source, and even throw distance. In this article, we are going to focus on short throw vs. ultra short throw projectors. For those unfamiliar with the terms, throw distance is the distance from the screen the projector needs to be in order to get the proper size and focus.

New technology has made it possible to get projectors even closer to their screens, which is very important for using them in tight spaces. Simply put, an ultra short throw projector can sit much closer to the screen than a short throw or long throw projector. Even more important is that you choose the right projector for your needs.

Short Throw Projector vs. Ultra Short Throw Projector: Side by Side Comparison

Ultra Short ThrowShort Throw
ResolutionAvailable in 4KAvailable in 4K
Distance1-2 Feet3-6 Feet
Price$2,000-$4,000$1,000-$1,500
Light SourceLaserBulb (most common)
Best UseHome TheaterPresentations

Short Throw Projector vs. Ultra Short Throw Projector: What’s the Difference?

An ultra short throw projector can be placed very close to the projector screen compared to a short throw projector. However, there are some limitations and other factors that must be considered before choosing a projector. For instance, an ultra short throw projector is closer to a TV than a projector. In contrast, short throw projectors are more akin to a regular long throw.

Long Throw Projectors

To really understand the difference in projector types, it is important to understand what a traditional long throw projector is. This is what you typically find in boardrooms, classrooms, and convention spaces. They can either be mounted to the ceiling or set on a table and cast onto a screen or even a white wall. A long throw projector usually sits about eight feet from the screen, with the minimum being six feet.

Short Throw Projectors

Next up are short throw projectors like the Optoma GT1080HDRx, which is designed to sit about four feet from the screen. They can deliver similar quality and performance to long throw projectors, but they are typically larger when compared side-by-side. The main difference you will notice in the projectors themselves is that short throw projectors have a much larger lens.

Short throw projectors work well in smaller rooms where you want to display on a large wall but can’t get too far away from it. This also makes it a great choice for presentations since you can set it up in the front of a room or next to a computer. Some projectors also support rear projection. A common application is using an overhead mount that attaches to the wall and comes out above the screen.

Optoma GT1080HDRx Short Throw Gaming Projector | Enhanced Gaming Mode for 1080p 120Hz Gameplay at 8.4ms | 1080p and HDR support with 4K UHD input | Bright 3,800 Lumens for Day and Night Gaming | White
$849.00
  • HDR COMPATIBLE: HDR10 technology (with 4K input) enable brighter whites and deeper black levels. The six-segment color wheel (RYGCWB) produces accurate color with sRGB & REC. 709 color profile...
  • FAST RESPONSE TIME: enhanced gaming mode enables lightning-fast response time of 8.4ms with a 120Hz refresh rate
  • SHORT THROW LENS: The GT1080HDRx is designed to be placed closer to the wall than standard throw projectors. Experience a large 120" Image projected from four feet away.
  • BRIGHT, RAZOR-SHARP IMAGES: 3,800 Lumens, 50,000:1 contrast ratio, and full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) for a clear, detailed image
  • LONG LAMP LIFE: Enjoy up to 15,000 hours of lamp life for an average of four hours of viewing time every day for 10+ years.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/03/2023 09:35 am GMT

Ultra Short Throw Projectors

Now, you may be thinking an ultra short throw projector is simply a projector that sits within a couple of feet from the screen. That would be a correct assumption, but it’s a little more complicated than just distance. Ultra short throw projectors are also commonly referred to as laser projectors, but you can also get laser technology in long and short throw as well.

An ultra short throw projector like the LG HU915QE sits less than a foot away from the wall, and its lens comes out the top and faces the wall at an angle. One of the nicest things about these is that you can literally put it on top of a TV stand and have it facing the wall behind it. Plus, it just looks like an audio receiver or some other accessory that belongs amongst your other peripherals.

Being so close to the wall also means you can keep everything neatly stored away without having to deal with running wires. Most people using projectors mount them on the ceiling and end up having to run wires through their walls and attics. With an ultra short throw projector, you can just take the TV out and replace it with the projector.

This also means you can take it on the go if necessary. Otherwise, you can also mount it on a ceiling like a traditional projector. One of the big downsides is that you really need an ALR projector screen which is designed for use with ultra short throw laser projectors. They provide much better colors and contrast than a traditional projector screen that you would use with long and short throw projectors.

High-end Viewing
LG HU915QE Ultra Short Throw 4K UHD 3Ch Laser Smart Homer Theater CineBeam Projector
$4,539.95
  • REAL 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) - Real 4K has a resolution of 3840 x 2160–4x greater than FHD for incredible detail that brings movies, shows, and games to life.
  • 3,700 ANSI LUMENS BRIGHTNESS - Experience luminosity like never before with 3,700 ANSI Lumens. Immerse yourself in vivid, crisp HDR imagery with vibrant color, regardless of ambient lighting.
  • 0.19 ULTRA SHORT THROW RATION - Place your projector just 2.2" from the wall for a 90" screen, 3.9" away for a 100" screen, or 7.2" away for a breathtaking 120" viewing space.
  • 2.2Ch 40W SOUND - 2.2 Ch 40W Sound with four 10W speakers creates a surround-sound experience for total immersion, no extra speakers required.
  • webOS 6.0 - Netflix, YouTube, Apple TV+, and more are available and easy to access on webOS 6.0. Internet connection and subscription to streaming services are required.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/05/2023 12:40 pm GMT

Laser vs. Bulb

All ultra short throw projectors rely on laser technology, while short throw projectors use either. However, most short and long throw projectors still rely on older bulb technology to illuminate the screen. These are very high-powered light bulbs that need replacing after a number of hours. They are inefficient, plus they aren’t as bright. However, laser projectors cost substantially more than bulb projectors.

Cost

Cost is a major concern for most people, and like most things in the home theater market, projector prices vary widely. Overall, short throw projectors are significantly cheaper than ultra short throw. In most cases, an ultra short throw is about double the cost of a traditional short throw projector. However, the picture and convenience of the ultra short throw may be worth the added cost to some.

Ease of Installation

There is no question that an ultra short throw projector is the best choice for someone who wants their projector to blend into the room without running wiring. Because an ultra short throw projector sits close to the wall, it can sit above any streaming or cable boxes it needs to connect to. Therefore, you don’t have to be concerned about concealing wires, adding outlets, or mounting a projector on the ceiling like you would with a short throw projector.

Resolution

Resolution is one of the most important factors with both TVs and projectors. Simply put, the resolution is how many pixels are on the screen. The more pixels, the better the picture. 4K is now the standard for TVs, but many projectors still come in 1080P, with 4K versions costing significantly more. However, you should absolutely choose a 4K projector if your budget allows it. Short throw and ultra short throw projectors are available in 4K models.

Limitations of TV Sizes

Another consideration for a projector is the size of the screen it can produce. Most projectors display around a 100 to120 inch screen. However, Some projectors can go over 300 inches. This is one of the main reasons to choose a projector over a TV because TVs typically max out around 80 to 100 inches.

The Problem of Light

The downside is that you usually need a brighter projector to cast to a further screen. With ultra short throw projectors, this isn’t as much of a concern because it is so close to the display area. But keep in mind that the greatest limitation of projectors remains light. If the room you plan to use the projector in gets daylight, you will need to black it out or consider a TV instead.

Short Throw Projector vs. Ultra Short Throw Projector: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • Ultra short throw requires a specific screen.
  • Both are available in 1080P and 4K models.
  • Ultra short throw works best in small rooms.
  • Short throw projectors are perfect for presentations.
  • Both projectors are available with a laser lighting source.

Short Throw Projector vs. Ultra Short Throw Projector: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Buy?

So now that you know a little more about the differences between short throw and ultra short throw projectors, it’s time to choose which is the right one. For those that want the best picture regardless of cost, then the ultra short throw will probably be the best option. It is also perfect for people who rent their home or do not want to run wiring for a traditional, ceiling-mounted projector.

However, short throw or long throw projectors are currently the best choices for those who don’t have unlimited cash to spend. They can still deliver an exceptional picture with 4K graphics on a massive screen but do not require a special screen and come at a much more palatable price. Plus, you can commonly find short throw projectors used for an even better price.

Short Throw Projector vs. Ultra Short Throw Projector: Pros and Cons of Each FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Do projectors need to be mounted on the ceiling?

A common misconception is that you need to mount a projector on the ceiling. However, with an ultra short throw projector or even a cleverly placed table, you can avoid having to mount the projector to the ceiling.

What inputs do projectors have?

The types of inputs a projector has to vary by model and brand. Nearly all projectors today have at least one HDMI input, but they may have others, such as DisplayPort, RCA, or VGA.

How do you run wires to a projector?

Running wires to a projector can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. The professional way would be to run the wires behind the wall, but that’s not always possible. Another good alternative is to use raceways or conduit to cleanly cover the wires.

Are there smart projectors?

There are a number of smart projectors on the market using a variety of different operating systems. However, you are likely better off getting a streaming device like a Roku or FireTV. That way, you can replace it because the projector will likely outlive the streaming device.

Do projectors have speakers?

Some projectors do have speakers, but they are usually very basic and not something you would want to use in your house. Instead, pick up a soundbar or put together a surround sound system for a better experience.

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