You and I need – even deserve – a big flat TV. The good news is, the manufactures are managing to come out with ever bigger sizes (like 85 inches) and ever more dazzling technologies (like 4K) packed into extremely slim frames. Just take a look at the TV sets on offer on bidorbuy; you’ll find there LEDs, LCDs, plasmas, all the brands and makes, with prices currently ranging from under R2000 to over R200,000.
However, the best is yet to come.
I am not talking about a curved TV. As far as I am concerned, they are just a passing fad. Apparently, one has to sit smack in the middle in front of it, and that’s just not how things work in real life. Besides, we want TVs that take up less space, not more, right?
Enter a TV screen with the panel so thin… it’s not even there. That’s right. When you have an ultra short-throw projector, you don’t even need a panel to enjoy true wall-size video display.
At this point, you may say: projector? That’s nothing new! Ah, but you forget the ultra short-throw part!
Old-style projectors (that is, projectors as we know them) involve stretching wires across the room or ceiling mounts. Consequently, they were consigned to theatre houses and boardrooms and never found much use in our homes.
The new breed of short-throw projectors is different. They shoot (project) the image straight up onto the wall in front of them, as opposed onto the wall across the room (they do it with mirrors, apparently). You can get up and walk around the room without casting a shadow on the image; you can even have an image that doesn’t (totally) wash out in normal room lighting.
Mid-2014, Sony is due to release its 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector that looks like a minimalist credenza (110 x 26.5 x 53.5 cm) and delivers on image up to 147 inches big. Sony says the device boasts 3D capability and will support current video content from internet, satellite and cable providers. The price, you ask? $30,000 to $40,000*.
Luckily, Philips and LG have their own, non-4K short-throw projectors, that are… cheaper, but still not cheap. LG Hecto retails for just under $9,000*, and Philips Screeneo for about $1,800*.
The image that Philips Screeneo short-throw projector projects on the wall is only 720p, so the display is of a lower quality than Sony’s 4K. The size can be adjusted from 50 to 100 inches by adjusting the distance between the wall and the projector. Philips says you can connect almost any type of device to Screeneo: DVD or Blu-ray player, set-top box, games console, multimedia server, and USB sticks. Since the device also has Wi-Fi capabilities, you’ll be able to access YouTube and other video-sharing sites.
Screeneo is due to hit the market in the first half of 2014.
LG Hecto was introduced way back in 2013. It does not project onto a wall. The system consists of a short-throw projector and a specialised 100 inch screen. The projector must be lined up with the screen just so, requiring expert installation.
So, if you are sold on the idea – keep your wall smooth and clean while waiting for next-generation projectors to come to your favourite marketplace, at (more) affordable prices.
*Currently, $1 = R11.20.