It’s true that video projectors gradually have been losing ground in the marketplace to large flat panels. But for applications that require ultra-large screen sizes, projectors remain the way to go.

There’s a perfect projector for every scenario. There are dozens of manufacturers developing and selling these devices, but not every projector will be right for you and your organization.

More to the point, not every application requires a traditional business or large-venue projector. Such devices are typically ceiling- or wall-mounted in the backs or centers of rooms, or placed on a table tops, and they aren’t the best fit for a small areas.

Guide to Short-throw and Ultra-short-throw projectors

For one, there’s the familiar, annoying scenario of people walking in front of the lens or screen and creating shadows. Then there’s the issue of the presenter or teacher getting persistently distracted by a tabletop or ceiling-mounted projector light, not to mention the prospect of less-than-sharp images due to the throw distance to the projection screen.

Simply stated, in more intimate settings such as classrooms, boardrooms and conference rooms, more intimate projectors make sense. That’s where short-throw (ST) and ultra-short throw (UST) projectors excel. These devices are made specifically for applications where the distance from the projector to the projection screen must be, or preferably should be, short. If space is tight, think of these handy projectors. For those who stand in front of a projector screen or whiteboard many hours a day, these projectors are an excellent choice.

Short-throw and ultra-short-throw projectors remove shadows and glare issues from the equation entirely because they can be mounted or placed very close to the screen. For all intents and purposes, all barriers between the projector light and the screen are removed from the equation. For short-throw projectors, this is accomplished by using a wide-angle lens that shines down at a sharp angle. The distance between the lens and the screen is typically as low as two feet or so.

Recently, short-throw projectors have been joined in the marketplace by ultra-short-throw projectors. Where ST projectors use a wide-angle lens, UST projectors use a curved mirror. You can tell the difference between the two categories from the “throw ratio” specification, which is the distance from the projector to the screen divided by the width of the projected image.

When purchasing any projector make sure to check the warranty. Most vendors list their offerings in the specifications.