Bring the movie theater experience home without the hassle of turning your home into a theater. With an Ultra Short Throw projector, you can avoid mounting a projector on the ceiling in a dedicated movie room. Capable of replacing a 4K panel TV, this projector is designed to account for some ambient light and requires inches where normal projectors require feet.

What is an Ultra Short Throw Projector?

By definition, an Ultra Short Throw Projector is a device that uses an ultra wide-angle lens and a throw ratio of less than .4. As a result, it can be placed just inches from a wall or screen. There’s no need to mount it on the ceiling or place it on a dedicated table a few feet away. Viewers experience a larger image in a smaller space, making it a perfect option for anyone who doesn’t want to change up their screen placement, but wants an image larger than 80 inches.

What should I look for in a UST projector?

Lumens


When it comes to a projector, the darker the room, the better the image. However, most UST projectors account for a certain amount of ambient light. To get a better idea of how the projector will look in a dim room, it’s important to check the ANSI lumens. In general, you’ll want a count of 2,500-3,000 ANSI lumens or higher to counteract the effects of ambient light.

Connectivity

Consider the external devices you’ll want to pair with your projector. Will you need an HDMI port that supports external sound equipment? Will the projector be able to handle a next-gen gaming console? If you plan to plug in multiple devices, you may find the limited HDMI inputs frustrating, even for some top tier models. However, allt he models here support HDMI ARC, so you can use them with an AV receiver or soundbar. Furthermore, UST projectors are sold as more of a "TV-like" package and typically include built-in streaming apps.

Should I buy a standard projector instead?

UST projectors are traditionally more expensive than a comparable standard-throw projector. The main difference is how they are installed, with UST units sitting right in front of the screen. In a living room, properly installing a long-throw unit may not be possible. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for an alternative, you could pair a standard-throw projector with a light-rejecting drop-down screen. You wouldn’t get the convenience of a short throw projector (walking in front of it would disrupt the image), but you will find comparable (if not superior) image quality.

1. SAMSUNG The Premiere Projector

The Samsung Premiere can throw a 100-inch image from just 4.5 inches away. It comes with a built-in 40W, 4.2 channel sound system. It’s not a stand-in for a dedicated external sound system, but it’ll get the job done while watching TV. The projector’s triple laser technology uses red, blue, and green lasers to produce a brilliant 4K image. It has a 0.66” DMD (DLP chip) with a specified brightness of 2,800 ANSI lumens.

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The Premiere offers a number of different modes that impact the brightness, contrast, and sharpness. Select between a Movie mode, which sharpens the image but leaves it with a natural film-like feeling, and a dedicated Filmmaker mode, which removes any background processing to project the image as close as possible to what the filmmaker intended. There’s also a Game Enhancer mode for peak optimization with compatible consoles. Project movies and videos straight from your phone as well. Overall this is a highly competitive model that offers a number of impressive features.
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Pros:
  • 2,800 ANSI lumens
  • Project from your phone with mobile mirroring
  • Triple laser technology + stunning Filmmaker mode
  • Up to 130-inch display with 4K resolution
  • 100-inch image from 4.5 inches away

Cons:
  • Does not come with an ALR screen

2. Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS500 Laser Ultra Short Throw Projection TV

If brightness is a major factor for your UST, consider the The Epson LS500. It produces an image up to 120 inches in size and has a suggested 4,000 lumens of peak brightness. It also boasts a dynamic contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1. Three HDMI 2.0 ports means there’s plenty of room for external sound equipment, a streaming device, and a game console. If you opt to pair it with a console, the system can produce a 60Hz display with an input lag time of 16.7ms. It has a native 24 frame per second 1080p and 2160p. In terms of color accuracy, this projector uses 3-chip 3LCD technology capable of displaying the Rec.709 color space.

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The projector comes with a high resolution screen designed to reduce the effects of ambient light. Anyone not looking to use the HDMI ports or USB port for a streaming device can work with the built-in Android TV operating system. It has Chromecast built-in and voice search with Google Assistant for additional accessibility. This is a great option for anyone looking to trade in their 85-inch TV for a comparable UST projector.
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Pros:
  • 4,000 ANSI lumens
  • Up to 120-inch display
  • Gaming display - 60Hz with 16.7ms Input lag
  • Comes with Android TV HDMI Dongle
  • 3-chip LCD technology with Pro-UHD pixel-shift tech
  • Comes with screen

Cons:
  • Projector needs 15 inches from wall for a 100-inch display


3. VAVA 4K UHD Laser TV Home Theatre Projector

Focused on size, simplicity, and design? The VAVA 4K UHD is a sleek, consumer focused unit. It can project an image up to 150 inches in size, surpassing some of its direct competitors. It has a built-in 60W Harmon Kardon soundbar with DTS-HD and Dolby Audio. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive audio experience, the unit has 3 HDMI ports, one of which is an HDMI ARC for external equipment.

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The picture looks incredible, making the most of 4K resolution and a 1,500,000:1 contrast ratio, which is 3000:1 ANSI. The VAVA 4K is capable of projecting a 100 inch image from a distance of only 7.2 inches. Overall, the VAVA achieves an excellent perceived contrast and handles well when subjected to ambient light. Overall, the LS500 delivers a stunning display in sizes usually reserved for much more expensive equipment.
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Pros:

  • 2,500 ANSI Lumens
  • Up to 150-inch display
  • 7.2 inches from the wall/screen for 100-inch throw
  • Harmon Kardon Stereo Sound
  • Laser lasts 25,000 hours

Cons:
  • Reportedly experiences “judder” when projecting 24Hz content


4. LG HU85LA Ultra Short Throw 4K UHD Laser Smart Home Theater Cinebeam Projector

The LG HU85LA is a slender unit with a minimalistic design that lacks little in the way of features for sports and gaming enthusiasts. Thin grey cloth on the front of the unit obscures Dolby Atmos Eleven high-performance drivers. They deliver decent bass and clear dialogue, but any movie buff will want to hook up external speakers. It projects a 90-inch image just 2.2 inches away. A 120-inch throw only requires 7.2 inches with this projector.

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The projector only comes equipped with 2 HDMI 2.0 ports but one of them is an HMDI ARC for additional audio equipment. The three laser engine is capable of a specified brightness of 2,700 ANSI lumens. LG offers a number of color modes and the unit has 4K Upscaling/Super Resolution. It officially has a dynamic contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1. All in all, this is an attractive unit with minimal drawbacks.
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Pros:
  • 2,700 ANSI Lumens
  • Up to 120-inch display
  • Wireless mirroring
  • 7.2 inches from the wall/screen for 120-inch throw
  • TruMotion technology increases fluidity

Cons:
  • Does not come with screen
  • 2 HDMI 2.0 ports


5. Optoma CinemaX P2 Smart 4K UHD Laser Projector

The Optoma CinemaX P2 is a successor to the P1 that offers some upgrades over its impressive predecessor. It can throw a 120-inch image from 14.5 inches away. It has a PureMotion mode which is important for sports enthusiasts looking to cut down on motion blur. This feature inserts transitional frames into videos filmed in 24 fps to create a smoother looking image.
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The P2 comes with a 40W Dolby Digital 2.0 soundbar with two full range speakers. Setup is easy and thoroughly customizable with the SmartFIT image alignment system. In terms of contrast, the Optoma CinemaX P2 features a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, making it competitive against other models, but less attractive than its predecessor, the P1, which had a contrast ratio of 2,500,000:1. This device pairs best with an ALR screen to provide peak brightness and contrast. It also pairs well with an external streaming device because the onboard apps are limited.
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Pros:
  • 3,000 ANSI lumens
  • 30,000 hours of light source life
  • Dolby Digital 2.0 Integrated 40W soundbar
  • PureMotion technology
  • Up to 120-inch display
  • Wide color gamut support

Cons:
  • Limited smart app support


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