Rear projection, front projection, short throw, ultrashort throw, touch-screen whiteboards and LCD screens. Business projectors are more than just the home theater of the office and conference room. A little know-how and a few tricks enable more than presentations and make the projector a business tool. Knowing your options can prove valuable the next time someone asks you to review or recommend a projector or large-screen display.
Think of a business projector and you probably picture a typical
front-projection setup in a conference room, with the projector mounted
on the ceiling, or perhaps sitting on a table or desk, projecting the
image from a spot somewhere in front of the screen. There are other
options, however. It's well worth knowing about them, because the next
time someone in your company asks for a recommendation for a
projector-or for any kind of large display for that matter-you have the
potential to be a hero, and steer them in a direction they didn't even
Throwing an Image
Many customers think business projectors are basically commodity
items. They're wrong. There are plenty of significant differences from
one projector to another. The most important for purposes of this
discussion is their throw distance-the distance they need to be from a
screen to project, or throw, an image of a given size.
1. Standard Throw
Broadly speaking, projectors can have a standard throw, short throw,
or ultrashort throw. These are vague categories without clear lines
between them, but it's usually easy to put a given projector in the
right category. By definition, a standard throw is what you'll get from
the overwhelming majority of projectors. They have to be relatively far
back from the screen-about 12 to 13 feet, to give you an image that's
2-meters wide (about 100-inches diagonally at the traditional 3-by-4
aspect ratio) at maximum zoom for the lens.
2. Short Throw
For any given size image, short-throw projectors can sit
significantly closer to the screen than standard throw projectors. For
a 2-meter wide image, the distance shrinks to roughly 3 to 6 feet. One
obvious advantage for a short throw is in a small conference room,
where setting up a standard throw projector would be impractical. The
shorter throw distance can turn "impractical" into "easy."
3. Ultrashort Throw
For an ultrashort-throw projector, the distance needed from the
screen shrinks even more-to 2 feet or less for a 2-meter wide image.
The lens system in at least one ultrashort-throw projector is limited
to slightly smaller images than 2-meters across, but at a distance from
the screen of just 3 inches. (Very few projectors fall in the gaps
between these categories, so there's little reason to quibble over the
exact range for each.)
4. The Default Choice
Along with the issue of how far a projector needs to be from the
screen, consider where it needs to be in relation to the screen. Front
projection with a standard throw is pretty much the default choice.
It's easy to set up; it's what most people are used to seeing; and it
works well under most conditions. But in some situations, it can be a
challenge to position the projector so there's nothing between it and
the screen to cast shadows.