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Buying Guide for Business Projectors

Finding Projectors with the right Throw Distance

Once you've settled on the Resolution you want and you've got an ideal of how many lumens you need, the next question is a very practical one: which projectors will fit into your space and fill the screen you've got? You may already have a screen installed and know its exact dimensions. If not, you probably have a pretty good idea of the screen size you want. And you know your basic preferences for where you'd like to place the projector.

With that data it is easy to narrow down the list of projectors that will fit your space and screen size. Let's take an example. Say you've got a large conference room and you have a 170" diagonal 16:10 screen already installed. You've decided you want a WUXGA projector that puts out about 5000 lumens. Which projectors that have these performance criteria will fit your screen and throw distance?

To find out, go to the Projector Database. Select WUXGA in the Resolution list. Then enter a lumen range, say 4500 to 6000 lumens if you are looking for models that put out around 5000. Finally, enter 30 feet as your throw distance and 170" as your diagonal image size. Then click the "Find Projectors" button, and the search will show you all models that meet your stated requirements. The Database search results are initially presented in order of the projectors' popularity, but you can re-sort the list by price, by first ship date, or whatever other criterion you want.

Sorting by Throw Ratio

A more powerful way to use the Database is to sort by the Throw Ratio you want rather than Throw Distance and Screen size. Let's say you would be just as happy to place the projector anywhere from 24 to 36 feet from the screen, and you want to know which projectors will fill your screen from somewhere within that throw range.

This is easy. The Throw Ratio is simply the Distance divided by the Screen Width. Your 170" 16:10 screen is exactly 12 feet wide. So your Minimum Throw Ratio requirement is 24 feet divided by 12 feet = 2.0, and your Maximum Throw Ratio is 35 feet divided by 12 feet = 3.0. You just enter 2.0 and 3.0 into the Min and Max Throw Ratio boxes, and the Database will tell you every projector, and projector + lens combination, that will fill your 170" screen from somewhere between 24 and 36 feet throw distance.

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Comments (6) Post a Comment
Ed Dusang Posted Mar 14, 2019 10:07 AM PST
I have two long throw Infocus projectors with a long through lenses. our screens are 110" and 53' ft distance in our church. We need to replace them with either new or used in our budget.Help
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 16, 2019 9:43 AM PST
Ed, there's a lot more that goes into this decision than knowing screen size and throw distance. I suggest you get in touch with local integrator or contact one of our authorized resellers to talk you through it.
Tony Chalinor Posted May 24, 2019 11:27 PM PST
our community theatre has currently an IN 42 In-focus large venue projector, it is limited to 1080i fed by component. Would like an idea of a current projector with HDMI input and other modern input features. The projector struggles to provide sufficient light output for current use.It is throwing the picture about 20 metres and screen size is approximately 6.5 x 3.5 metres high. Do not know what the roll down screen ratio is. Has a relatively new light source in it. regards A.J.Chalinor
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted May 25, 2019 8:47 AM PST
Tony,your IN42 is rated for 3,500 lumens brightness with a new lamp, and according to our projection throw calculator it's not really even capable of an image of that size from that distance (about 65 feet?. So even if you're mistaken about the precise detail here it's obvious that the projector is woefully inadequate to the task...and that's without even knowing if you are using it with modest ambient light.

If you've shared truly accurate information about image size (rather than overall screen size) you would need a really large and bright (and expensive) projector to pull it off. I'm guessing though, that if you've been making due with your IN42 it's a much less demanding setup in reality and a step up projector in the 5,000-6000 lumen range will probably work for you. You really should bring in an A/V pro to assess it though to be sure.

I don't know what your budget is, but I would look through the scroll of the projector Road Tests that you'll find on our homepage and look for something rated for 5,000 lumens or higher range. You probably want at least WUXGA resolution at this point, which is basically 1080p. If you opt for spending on one of the less pricey laser projectors that have come out recently, you'll be able to justify the higher up front cost by avoiding the purchase of new lamps later -- you never have to replace the bulb in these units, which is usually several hundred dollars per replacement. Also, if the 5,000-6,000 lumens is adequate to the task and gives you some real punch, and you get at least WUXGA resolution, you may expand your possibilities of renting your space for entertainment or business presentations/events to help recoup costs. You've had a 3LCD projector all this time and I'd recommend you stick with that for a couple of technical reasons given your setup. The Epson 610U($3,500 street price) would probably work well if you could swing that. But there are others out there in this brightness/resolution category that use lamps if you're looking to save money up front, as well as projectors offering resolution similar to your IN42 (WXGA by today's widescreen standards, 1200 x 800 pixels) that would cost less. The main thing here is lumen output mated with a projector that can give you the image size you want from your established throw distance. Measure those things out carefully, select a couple of projectors to look at, then find them in our Throw Calculator to see if you can get the image you need at distance.
AR1964 Posted Nov 1, 2019 3:31 AM PST
Very clear and concise article, thank you. Our projector will be wuxga 9900 ansi lumen, but the screen ratio (an outdoor building) is closer to 3x4 (portrait). Documentation states it is possible to use the projector on its side to get a vertical image. The conetent (video, images, graphics) has been created to fit the building (mapping) in files matching 1920x1200. There is alot of black space either side. This means a lot of the projected image will be effectively not used (the part falling off the building). This works on site but I was considering using the same projector but in a resolution that matches 4:3 such as xga, so that more of the pixel area of the chips are used. Will this effect quality of image and will it increase brightness as more of the projected light will fall on the building?

To clarify: Using a WUXGA projector in portrait, changing the ratio from 16:10 to 4:3 to project content which is 4:3

Or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Thanks AR
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Nov 1, 2019 7:49 AM PST
AR, I'm afraid I don't know the answer to this, other than to suggest that if you give the projector an XGA res image the detail will be considerably hurt and the likelihood is that the projector will simply mask or turn off the unused pixels on the chip rather than scaling up to use them. Perhaps you should try some experiments to see how the projector behaves.

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