If you're hoping to set up a cinema experience but don't have the space for a projector, a short throw model could be just what you need. But when so many different products offer a wide range of features, it can be hard to find the right device. This article will walk you through everything you need to know to find the perfect option for you, including information on resolution, brightness, contrast ratio, and sound quality.
Plus, we'll discuss the advantages of wired and wireless devices. If you're still unsure, take a look through our list of the 10 best short throw projectors in the UK available at Amazon, John Lewis and Argos. Whether you're after a 4k option for movies, or a gaming projector for those late-night marathons, we've got plenty of options from popular brands like Optoma or Epson.
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Table of Contents
With fast-developing technology, many projectors these days are capable of functioning at shorter distances from the projection surface. Any projector capable of displaying a 100-inch focused image on a surface less than 3 metres away is considered a short throw projector.
These are generally preferred for home cinemas as they won't require as much space to achieve a large screen size. If you are hoping to set up a projector in a small room or looking for a versatile option that can be used practically anywhere, a short throw device could be perfect.
One of the biggest considerations when purchasing a projector is the picture quality, so checking the resolution is key. If you want the highest quality on the market, look out for a 4K projector.
These tend to be the most expensive, so a good second choice is 1080p. A 1080p resolution will still be able to display high-definition images and videos, but they are often much cheaper than 4K models. In general, you should avoid resolutions under 720p since this is the lowest requirement for HD projection.
If you're looking for a projector that can be used during the day, you'll have to check the brightness to ensure the picture will be visible. For clear projections in full daylight, you will need to choose a brightness of 2000 lumen or higher.
1000-1500 lumen projectors are also suitable for bright spaces, but you may need to take additional measures to improve visibility. Blackout curtains should take projections on a 1000-1500 lumen projector to the next level.
If you just plan on using your projector for movie nights and won't be switching it on during the day, a lower brightness should be sufficient. Just keep in mind that anything under 500 lumen will only be suitable for nighttime use.
The final factor affecting picture quality is the contrast ratio. This determines the scale of bright to dark throughout any given image on the screen. For example, if the ratio is 1000:1, the white parts of the image will be 1000 times brighter than the black parts.
For this reason, higher contrast ratios produce sharper, richer, more detailed images. A minimum of 1000:1 should be sufficient for casual viewing but if you're a film fanatic or an avid gamer and visuals are important, opt for the highest ratio within your budget.
Pair with a streaming device for all the best channels.
Most modern projectors come with built-in speakers so you can stream audio and video from the same device. If you're planning on setting up external speakers, you won't need to worry about your projector's sound quality. But, if you intend to use the inbuilt speakers, you should check the output wattage to ensure it's sufficient.
3 - 6 watt speakers tend to be suitable for most users, as they produce substantial and dynamic audio. For large rooms, however, a higher wattage would be preferable, as the sound will carry better from a more powerful speaker. Anything below 3 watts tends to be cheaper, but it can be difficult to hear - even in small rooms.
Upgrade your sound setup with a TV sound bar.
Checking the power supply and media connections will also help you determine if it will meet your requirements. A battery-powered wireless model will be your best bet if you plan on taking your projector outdoors for campsite movie nights and garden parties. This will allow you to set up anywhere, but you'll need to ensure the device is sufficiently charged before trips.
Wired projectors tend to have higher brightness and speaker quality thanks to the additional power offered by AC power cables. Choosing a wired projector doesn't necessarily mean you'll be tied down to one spot, but moving to different locations with these devices is a little more complicated.
As well as the power supply, the media capabilities will differ for wired vs wireless models. USB and HDMI slots are tried and tested methods that are great for linking up consoles, DVD players and streaming devices. For wireless streaming, look for a projector with Bluetooth, WiFi, or smartphone mirroring technology such as Miracast or Chromecast.
Try a portable projector for movie nights on the go.
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Android TV Edition 3LCD, 4K PRO-UHD
All the Best Features to Achieve a Stunning High-Definition Image
Use Google Assistant or Alexa to Navigate Through This 4K Projector
Experience Immersive Audio With 6 Inbuilt 40W Speakers
4K UHD Gaming Projector
Set Up at Any Angle and Adjust the Picture With Vertical and Horizontal Keystone
Short Throw Smart Portable LED Projector
A Huge 3,000,000:1 Contrast Ratio for Sharp and Detailed Images
Short Throw Gaming Projector
View Easily Day or Night With This 3800-Lumen Projector
AURA 4K UHD Ultra Short Throw Projector
Project 4K Images of up to 120” From Under 30 cm Away
Full HD Short Throw Projector
Tackle Gaming Lag With the Reduced Latency on This 1080p Projector
Luma 350 Portable Smart Projector
A Palm-Sized Wireless Device That’s Great for Movie Nights on the Go
WXGA Short Throw Projector
A Low Budget Traditional Projector With HD Capabilities
If you want a projector that has it all, the Epson Android TV is a solid investment. Thanks to the 4K resolution and astounding 2,500,000:1 contrast ratio, you'll achieve the best picture quality possible.
It can be used day or night with a 4000-lumen brightness rating that can be adjusted to cater to the environment. With 3 HDMI ports, you'll be able to set up all your consoles and streaming devices without switching cables whenever you need to swap between channels.
Optoma's CinemaX P2 boasts similarly impressive specs at a significantly lower price. The high resolution, contrast and brightness will also make it suitable for high-definition viewing in any environment.
The integrated Dolby Digital soundbar provides a powerful 20W of dynamic audio, which will be more than sufficient for any gaming or home cinema needs. The device even has voice control technology, allowing you to navigate through Google Assistant or Alexa.
If you're shopping for a wireless option, this could be the perfect choice. It's one of the most popular wireless projectors on the market, capable of displaying high-definition screens up to 130" wide.
There are a total of 6 inbuilt speakers, all rated 40W, so you won't need to worry about attaching additional sound equipment to this device. If you want something to take with you on the road, you can't get much better than this.
For a high-quality image on a lower budget, ViewSonic's 4K gaming projector has been widely well-received. The 3200-lumen brightness makes it appropriate for day and night viewing, while the SuperEco+ technology ensures efficiency and longevity.
The lens is equipped with both vertical and horizontal keystone, meaning it can be set up at an angle to the projection surface and be manually adjusted, so the screen is still straight. This makes it an excellent option for rooms with limited surface space, as it can be set up almost anywhere!
If the sharpness of the image is one of your key considerations, this 3,000,000:1 contrast ratio should deliver the level of detail you're hoping for. The high resolution and brightness will also add to your visual experience, making this a great choice for cinephiles and gamers.
The interface can be voice controlled via Alexa or Google Assistant, and the two 8W speakers can even be used separately for music or podcasts while the projector isn't running. You'll get a 100" screen from just 1.77m away, with the option to scale up to 120" if desired.
The 10W speakers on this projector make it capable of high-quality audio without needing external equipment. The 3800-lumen rating will also ensure it's bright enough for clear viewing in any environment.
Paired with the 50,000:1 contrast ratio, this makes for a crisp and detailed picture. The 1080p resolution can support HD streaming, but it's not quite as impressive as the range of 4K devices that are now flooding the market.
We love the 15W Dolby speakers in this projector as they are spaced out in 4 places along the body of the device to provide a well-rounded sound. The 4K screen can also be sized up to 120" from less than 30 cm away from the projection surface, which is, frankly, incredible!
If you're looking to shop in this price range, our top 3 products may be able to offer you a little more for your money. If you need something that offers ultra-short throw capabilities, though, this is a rather impressive projector.
You'll be able to watch all your films in HD thanks to the 1080p resolution, plus, the SuperColor technology will provide a true-to-life visual experience. For gamers, the reduced latency will prevent lag and enhance gameplay.
The 5W speaker will be suitable for casual viewing, but if you want a truly immersive experience, you may need to invest in an external speaker. If you already have one to hand, though, it will be easy to set up via aux or USB.
This tiny handheld device measures just 11.2 cm and can project 4K screens of up to 200". It can be used completely wirelessly with an inbuilt 3W speaker, so it's an excellent choice for camping or impromptu outdoor movie nights as minimal setup is required.
While the 4K video is impressive for such a small device, the brightness and contrast ratio are the lowest on our list. At 150 lumen, it will only be suitable for nighttime viewing. Still, it's an incredibly impressive device and the cheapest on our list.
If you want a wired projector on a low budget, this is the best value on the market. It's bright enough for daytime viewing, and the 22,000:1 contrast ratio provides an impressive depth to colours.
At 800p, it's the lowest resolution on our list, and although it can still support HD content, you may find that with fast-developing technology, you'll want to upgrade this device much sooner than you would a 4K model.
Written and researched by Alicia Byrne
No. 1: Epson｜Android TV Edition 3LCD, 4K PRO-UHD
No. 2: Optoma｜CinemaX P2
No. 3: Samsung｜The Premiere
No. 4: ViewSonic｜4K UHD Gaming Projector
No. 5: ViewSonic｜Short Throw Smart Portable LED Projector
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