How to Choose Short-Throw and Ultra-Short-Throw Projectors: 5 Buying Tips to Streamline Your Application
Buying Tip #1
Do your projection measurements before you buy. The ability to project large images from short distances is the calling card of short-throw and ultra-short-throw projectors, but those sizes and distances vary from projector to projector. It’s a very good idea to measure how large you want images to be and how far away you want the projector to be from the screen, before you buy.
“Prospective buyers looking for either a short throw or ultra-short-throw projector must first determine the room size and throw distance where they’d like to install the projector,” says Roger Chien, product manager with ViewSonic. “The short-throw and ultra-short-throw projector has a smaller throw ratio than a regular throw projector, which is determined by throw distance divided by the screen width. You want to determine where the projector will go to create the best image possible. Before making a purchase, arrive with this information in hand to assist in your selection.”
Buying Tip #2
Note the lighting source that the projector employs. Most of the short-throw and ultra-short-throw projectors we’ve found use traditional lamp bulbs as their lighting source. As proven light sources in real-world applications, lamp bulbs are the safe choice. The downside of bulbs, however, is that they need to be replaced from time to time; they also lose light in the long run as the bulb gets older. To address the issue of light degradation as well as maintenance requirements, increasing numbers of projectors now offer “solid-state illumination” — laser, LED or a combination of the two. With these projectors, there are no bulbs to replace.
“Through the use of alternative light source technologies… the maintenance issues associated with conventional projection virtually disappear,” says Sander Phipps, senior product manager, Professional Projectors for Sony Electronics. “The new solid-state illumination technologies provide a tremendous value, both in terms of initial purchase and cost of ownership,” adds Jon Grodem, senior director of Product and Marketing with Optoma Technologies. “The illumination components not only last longer, but the brightness levels at which they project at stay truer and more consistent over time, making for a more satisfying user experience.” Most manufacturers offer estimates of how many hours the lighting source will last. While these stats are useful for comparison’s sake, keep in mind that your actual mileage might vary.