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10 Best Short Throw Projectors for Movies and Gaming

Projectors used to be the go-to system for presentations in the office, church, and other similar environments, but the technology has gradually made its way to the living rooms of people from around the world. 

Today, there are hundreds of home projectors to choose from to level-up video games and movie watching experiences. 

Of course, the downside to having many choices is finding the actual system that you need based on factors like your budget, or the amount of space you have in your living room. To keep your shopping simpler, let's take a look at short-throw projectors.

What is a Short Throw Projector?

Quick background: In the world of projectors, "throw" means the distance from the flat surface where images will be projected, to the actual projector unit you need to display images in a specific size. 

So when you hear the term "short throw projector" or "ST", it refers to the type of projectors that can project a large image to the screen/wall that is quite close (or about 0.8 to 5 meters away). 

How is this distance computed? Well, the lens and mirror used in a particular projector have a lot to do with it. Short throw projectors are built with lenses that display much larger images from shorter distances, while long throw projectors do it from longer distances.

Best for Gamers 

Best Entry-level Short Throw Projector For Gamers

optoma gt1080darbee
  • Compatible to all gaming consoles 
  • 3,000 Lumens 
  • 16ms input lag 

Best Budget 

Best Short Throw Projectors Under $400

benq ht2150st
  • Affordable for its feature-packed model 
  • Very low input lag 
  • Ideal for gaming, streaming and presentations  

Best Special Features

Short Throw Projectors With The Best Special Features

viewsonic pjd7828hdl
  • Lightweight and portable 
  • Super bright 2500+ usable lumens 
  • Best entry-level 

​Top 10 Short Throw Projectors for Movies and Gaming

viewsonic pjd7828hdl
  • Native Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Brightness: 3200
  • Contrast: 22000:1
  • Zoom Lens Ratio: 1.30:1
  • Lamp Life: 4000 hours
  • Throw Distance: 1.15 m to 1.5 m
  • Warranty: 3 years

If you’re looking for an entry-level short throw project for your home theater, and you want it blast out big enough images for spectacular movie nights and gaming, the ViewSonic offers a ton of features that knock off its competitors within its price range.  

Packed with 3,200 lumens of brightness, this projector provides accurate Movie modes and easily adjustable colors thanks to ViewSonic's SuperColor technology. When it comes to gaming, the PJD7828HDL only has an input lag of about 16.4 millisecond, which is more than enough for most sports or first-person shooting games.                            

What’s unique about below $1,000 projectors from ViewSonic, like the PJD7828HDL, is that even if they’re marketed as home theater, they’re designed to cater to the business and education sector as well. As such, you can find outdated (but still useful) features like two HDMI ports, laser pointer, monitor output, presentation timer, closed captioning and remote mousing, among others.

PROS

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    3D capability - You'd need to set it up, but this projector allows 3D viewing 
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    Perfect throw distance - Watch or play games on an 100-inch screen from 8 feet afar 
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    Lightweight - It's small and highly portable (at only 5.3 pounds) 
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    1.3x zoom - This is better than the average 1.1x of its direct competition 
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    Very good image quality - Creates bright images with solid contrast and brilliant colors 

CONS

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    Noticeable fan noise
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    Built-in, low-fi speakers

optoma gt1080darbee
  • Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Brightness: 3,000 Lumens
  • Contrast: 28,000:1 (full on/off)
  • Lamp Life: 5,000 hours/8,000 hours (eco)
  • Throw Distance: 0.5 m to 3.4 m

When Optoma GT1080Darbee was released in the market, it totally changed the game for having spectacular video game quality and high-level video processing not found on projects within its price range. 

This short throw projector features a native 1080p (full HD) resolution at 60Hz, its renowned Virtual Presence processing, and fantastic throw ratio of 140-inch screen from 5 feet. All these main features make for a perfect gaming projector. Plus, it delivers an exceptionally low input lag (of just 16ms) thanks to the Game Enhance mode. 

Don't rely on the built-in speakers though; it isn't powerful enough to sound your entire system. Aside from this, every little feature of the Optoma GT1080Darbee is a gamer's dream, from its superb video quality to the 16ms input lag, personalization options, compatibility to almost any console in the planet, and gaming-friendly picture modes.

PROS

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    Ability to customize image settings to different modes - This feature allows users to assign labels to a set of settings, so you can simply click “garage,” or “game room” and switch settings you need. 
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    Works seamlessly on all game consoles available - No issue playing on Nintendo, Sega, PlayStation, NES, or other gaming consoles in the market 
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    Superb picture quality: Bright images with brilliant color 
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    True short throw: Massive screen size for only a few feet away 
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    Tons of colors options (Color Matching, Color Temperature, and so on)  

CONS

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    No zoom feature

epson powerlite
  • Resolution: 1280x800
  • Brightness: 3,400 Lumens
  • Contrast: 16,000:1 (full on/off)
  • Lamp Life: 5,000 hours / 10,000 hours (eco)
  • Throw Distance: 0.6 m - 1.2 m
  • Special Features: 3LCD, 3-chip technology

If you're looking for a WXGA projector (one with a native screen resolution of approximately 1280 x 800 with 16 million colors), the Epson PowerLite 3LCD can provide your home theater requirements, plus more. 

The 3-chip LCD technology ensures you'll never see rainbow artifacts, which is an annoying issue of single-chip DLP projectors. This special tech brings "3x higher color brightness" and "up to 3x wider color gamut" than its direct competitors. 

Epson's PowerLite 535W 3LCD Projector blasts off images up to 116 inches from 4-feet away without glare and very minimal shadows.

PROS

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    3-chip LCD technology makes brighter colors 
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    Long-lasting lamps - Lasts 5000 hours, or up to 10k hours if used in low-brightness ECO mode continuously 
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    Tons of connectivity options - Use the built-in Ethernet port or buy Epson's Wi-Fi Dongle (as an add-on accessory). It's also compatible to iProjection 
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    Built-in closed captioning 

CONS

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    Fan can be too noisy when using full resolution

benq th671st
  • Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Brightness: 3,000 Lumens
  • Contrast: 10,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
  • Lamp Life: 4,000 hours / 15,000 hours (eco)
  • Throw Distance: 1.1 m - 4.6 m
  • Special Features: LumiExpert™, powerful 5W stereo speakers

As a short throw projector designer for gaming, the BenQ TH671ST is a fun and competent choice since it can easily replace a 100-inch TV without the high price tag. This projector features 3000 ANSI lumen rating and a 1.2x zoom lens packed in an all-white, portable casing. 

BenQ launched the LumiExpert feature with the TH671ST. The projector is built with a light sensor atop the unit that "decides" to adjust image settings based on the amount of ambient light in a particular room. 

Connectivity-wise, you're given a VGA input, 2 USBs, a pair of 3.5mm audio in/outs, 2 HDMI ports (one of them with MHL), and an RS-232 port. This means you can connect it to a bunch of consoles and gadgets. 

It's been marketed to the gamer crowd transitioning to small-scale monitors to projectors, particularly because of its 16.67ms input response time, massive images with excellent color, brightness and contrast.

PROS

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    Innovative LumiExpert feature 
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    Very responsive for gaming with its 16.67ms input lag 
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    Super-quick set up out of the box 
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    3-year warrant and affordable lamp replacement means you'll be worry free for a longer time 

CONS

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    Unit heats a bit after 4 hours of use 

optoma eh200st
  • Resolution: 1920x1080 native resolution
  • Brightness: 3000 Lumens
  • Contrast: 20000:1
  • Lamp Life: 6500 Hours
  • Throw Distance: .5 m - 4 m
  • Special Features: Full 3D Compatibility, DLP & BrilliantColor Technology

The Optoma EH200ST is powered by a DLP chip system and features a short 0.5:1 throw ratio, full 3D compatibility via HDMI 1.4a, sharp 20,000:1 contrast ratio, and Full HD 1920 x 1080 native resolution. It is capable of projecting images up to 303.2" diagonal screen size with a lamp that could withstand 6,500 hours of use. 

Designed to perform both indoors and at venues, this particular Optoma projector model is more targeted to business, education and industries that may require slideshow presentations. It is equipped with connectivity options for modern-day data transfers, so take advantage of MHL connectivity, two HDMI ports, 12V output, VESA 3D sync port, audio out, among others. 

Other little details to appreciate with Optoma's EH200ST include the 10W speaker, IR backlit remote control, loop-through audio options and energy-saving features that could extend the lamp life up to 8000 hours.

PROS

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    High contrast - Get images with brighter whites and ultra-rich blacks 
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    MHL Connectivity - You can connect your mobile gadgets to this projector 
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    Eco+ tech - Extends lamp life and reduce power consumption 
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    Lightweight and portable - Weighing only 6 pounds, this projector is light for travel or moving around the house 
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    Reasonably-priced lamps - No need to shell out tons of cash for new lamps 

CONS

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    Can be laggy for gaming 

sony home theater projector vpl-hw45es
  • Resolution: Full HD (1920 X 1080)
  • Brightness: 1800 Lumens
  • Contrast: No Dynamic Contrast
  • Lamp Life: 6000 Hours 
  • Throw Distance: 1.9m to 9m
  • Special Features: SXRD (3 Chip) with Reality Creation

If your budget for a projector is beyond $1,500, Sony's VPL-HW45ES home theater projector will wow your socks off every time you chill with Netflix or play your favorite games. This projector features 3D capability and advanced SXRD panel technology and Super Resolution processing tech -- all of which work simultaneously to provide spectacular colors to images. 

You can expect nothing but the best with the Sony VPL-HW45ES Home Theater Projector, starting with 1,800 lumens brightness that create brighter highlights and deeper blacks. It is built with advanced image calibration modes, which allows you to quickly switch from 'movie' mode to gaming and other 9 presets if you wish to. 

Gamers will love the Motionflow tech, which ensure there is minimal motion blur, even if you project your game to a 300-inch screen size. Meanwhile, movie lovers will definitely notice the full HD images thanks to Sony's Advanced Reality Creation technology.

PROS

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    Picture calibration - Makes it easy to switch image modes thanks to 9 preset calibrations
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    Intense cinema-like picture quality - Designed with super resolution to produce full HD images
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    Motionflow technology - Prevents blur while gaming and other activities 
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    3D capability - View your game or movie in HD with this projector's built-in industry standard RF transmitter
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    Quiet operation - Noise-shaping feature reduces fan sounds
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    Front-facing fan - Most projectors have fan exhaust positioned at the back of the unit, which allows users to maximize throw distance 

CONS

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    There are no audio outputs (although this can be solved with HDMI audio extractor)
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    Expensive lamp replacement

asus s1 200 lumen
  • Resolution: 854x480 native resolution
  • Brightness: 200 Lumens
  • Contrast: 1000:1
  • Lamp Life: 30,000 Hours
  • Throw Distance: 0.7m - 2.4m
  • Special Features: Ultra portable, ASUS SonicMaster, MHL compliance, flashlight mode

Don't underestimate this adorable pocket projector. The ASUS S1 may be cased in a small box, but it packs impressive features, including Single-Chip 0.3" DLP Imaging Device, WVGA (854 x 480) Native Resolution, and 200 lumen RGB LED light source.  

The ASUS S1 has a projection distance of 0.74m to 2.44m, which allows it to blast images to a screen size ranging from 30 to 100 inches. This is pretty great, considering its size and brightness that doesn't compare to other units on this list. 

As for connectivity, the ASUS S1 has an HDMI port, which also works as the Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) for Android gadgets, USB Type B port, audio-out jack, HDMI cable, and USB Type B-to-USB micro-B cable. 

While this pocket project has trouble displaying small text, it does a good job projecting images in various light conditions. If you want to, you can watch your movies or presentations via a "square" mode for SD videos or pictures.

PROS

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    Very lightweight - This palmtop unit weighs below 1 pound
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    Power-saving - The light source needs so little power it can run for 3 hours using its 3000mAh internal battery
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    Striking design - Square box with curved corners finished with soft brushed aluminum
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    Work as powerbank - Because of its built-in battery, the ASUS S1 can also charge other mobile devices attached to it
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    Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL)-enabled - To be able to connect Android gadgets

CONS

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    Limited connection choices

lg hf65la
  • Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Brightness: 1,000 Lumens
  • Contrast: 150,000:1 (full on/off)
  • Lamp Life: 30,000 hours 
  • Throw Distance: 0.4 m - 0.7 m
  • Special Features: smart TV function, Bluetooth sound out, CineBeam, DLP projector

As follow-up to the 2017 ultra short throw LG PF1000UW theater projector, the LG HF65LA is also a short throw projector designed for small spaces. From just five inches away, it can cast 60 inches of bright, vivid viewing, but if you wish to go farther, this small projector can get Full HD images up to 100 inches with an astonishing 150,000:1 contrast ratio.

One of the best things about LG HF65LA is that it is equipped with LED as light source, which could reportedly last up to 30,000 hours or up to 10 years if you're using the projector 8 hours daily. Brightness is perfect for dark room and fair with little ambient light. 

The LG PF1000UW is designed to cater modern day-to-day connectivity, so the webOS 3.0 Smart TV functionality (with the Magic Remote) gives you instantly connected to the internet, Netflix, Hulu, and so on. Gamers will also take comfort that it's easy to link and play on XBOX and other consoles. You can also pair audio-out accessories to the projector thanks to wireless connectivity and Bluetooth sound out.

PROS

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    1000 Lumens leads to crisp picture quality (when room is a bit dark)
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    Bluetooth connectivity
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    Small, lightweight, and portable
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    User-friendly navigation with Magic Remote
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    LED bulbs produce less heat than traditional lamps
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    Plug and play

CONS

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    Fan noise

benq ht2150st
  • Resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080) Native Resolution
  • Brightness: 2200 ANSI Lumens
  • Contrast: 15,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
  • Lamp Life: 5000 Hours
  • Throw Distance: 0.69m to 0.83:1m
  • Special Features: 6x speed and BrilliantColor Technology, two built-in 10-watt speakers, Professionally Calibrated Visual Entertainment

Best for gaming and movies, BenQ HT2150ST short throw projector is an all-around projector perfect for entry-level users who want to step up their games. This model is the award-winning BenQ projector designed to provide 100-inch screen from just five feet away, thanks to its 1.2x optical zoom lens, 15,000:1 contrast ratio, 3D function, and 2,200 lumens of brightness for vibrant images every time. 

Most gamers would find the low input lag acceptable. This means even your speedy racing games and first-person shooter games can run smoothly without skipping a beat, even if you opt for a 100-inch gaming experience. 

Most gamers would find the low input lag highly acceptable. It would mean that even their speedy racing games and first-person shooter games could run smoothly without skipping a beat, even if they opt for a 100-inch gaming experience. Plus, the customization options let users save gaming modes, letting them mix and match brightness, contrast, vibrancy and other details for each specific game, so they can just pop a game right in and the settings will be right there for them. 

Whether you're streaming a movie or binge-watching your favorite TV show, you'll be in awe of the image quality, colors, sharpness and clarity, which is mostly due to Benq's one-of-a-kind RGBRGB color wheel feature.

PROS

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    Keystone adjustment
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    Impressive image colors and quality
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    Low input lag for gaming

CONS

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    Not 4K

optoma ml750st
  • Resolution: 1280x800
  • Brightness: 700 Lumens
  • Contrast: 20,000:1
  • Lamp Life: 20,000 hours
  • Throw Distance: 0.4 m - 3.4 m
  • Special Features: Super lightweight and portable, but with big features

Packed in one of the smallest "ultra compact" projector casing you can find outside the portable projector category, this LED projector from Optoma not only takes the care for  impressive design, but also equipped with impressive features.

It's short-throw, so it's ideal for small spaces. Although you can set this up permanently in one spot of your house, it is small enough (it measures 4.4″ x 4.8″ x 2.2″ and weighs just 1 pound) to be placed in large pockets or small bag for people on-the-go. 

Performance-wise, the Optoma ML750ST Ultra-Compact LED projector has a contrast ratio of 20000:1 with 700 ANSI lumens (it's actually bright for its size) and vibrant color.

PROS

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    Portable - Pocket-sized and lightweight makes it ideal for travel
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    Quick power-up - Starts up in less than 15 seconds
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    LED light source - Saves money instantly because there's no lamp replacement needed
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    Amazing images - Vibrant images with razor-sharp focus
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    Rec709 color accuracy
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    Auto Keystone 

CONS

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    Resolution is only 720p
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    PNG not supported for pictures; FLV not supported for videos

8 Things to Consider When Buying Short throw Projectors

  • Projection Technology - Projectors use different technologies, most popularly LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), DLP (Digital Light Processing), or LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) - all of which come at different price ranges and respective pros and cons. 
  • Brightness (Lumens Capacity) - This shouldn't be your primary concern, since brightness (amount of light emitted) will depend largely on the size and light availability of your room. You'll determine the brightness of a projector as stated in ANSI lumens. Portable projectors are lower than 1000 lumens, short-throw projectors are between 1000 and 5000 lumens, while long throw projectors go beyond 5000 lumens. 
  • Color Contrast Ratio - Color contrast is an essential part of creating high-quality images. The contrast defines the proportion of the whitest whites to the darkest darks of the image. When you see a contrast ratio of 1000:1, this means the whitest of whites a projector can show is 1000 times brighter than the darkest of darks it shows.  Generally, the best short throw projectors have higher color contrast, but it could be more costly. 
  • Light source - Projectors get their light from different lamp types, such as DLP, LCD or LED. Choosing between these three options is vital since lamp replacement can be costly.  
  • Throw Distance - Because we're shopping for short throw projectors, considering the item's throw ratio is essential. If you don't know it yet, the throw ratio is equal to the distance from the projector to the screen divided by the width of the image it produces on the screen at that specific distance. Short throw projectors have a throw ratio of less than 1, down to about 0.4 meters. 
  • Portability - Are you going to be using the projector for presentations at work or school? Or you setting it up as part of your home’s entertainment system? How portable a projector is depends on what activities you’d use it for.  
  • Connectivity - Think about all the types of gadgets you'll be linking to your projector, and check what input options you'd need. Not all projectors have HDMI, VGA port, USB, wireless LAN, and other connections, so make sure to double check these options. 
  • Type of activity - Shop for a short throw projector based on what you're going to do with it. Is it exclusively for presentations? gaming? streaming movies? If you're looking for a gaming projector, be on the lookout for the input lag information (it tells you if the unit can run smoothly with demanding games).  

Wrap Up: Which is the best Short throw Projector?  

Cost shouldn't be your main consideration, but if you're really on a budget, the BenQ HT2150ST 1080P Short Throw Projector is a feature-packed projector that could be ideal for both gaming and your other entertainment needs. 

If you're interested in a gamer-friendly short throw projector, Optoma's GT1080Darbee Projector will do wonders for your gaming experience. Know that this recommendation is for gamers new to the wonderful world of projectors. There are other, more expensive projectors for gaming with advanced features you can choose beyond this. 

Those looking for a mid-priced, all-around short throw projector, ViewSonic's PJD7828HDL Home Theater Projector can bring high-quality pictures to your room every time, whether you're gaming, watching movies. 

The best short throw projectors should align with your personal and family's needs. Just by looking at the shopping considerations listed above, you'll get the idea that these projectors are never equally made. Some are designed for portability, while others had gamers in mind when designing the projector.

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