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UST vs. TV

Learn the difference between Ultra-Short Throw Projectors and a TV.


Recently, BTA has been creating more “multipurpose” and effective media rooms. Simply put, it’s a room that can be used all day long without the need to change venues from sunup to sundown. When creating these rooms one of the most important things is the entertainment, we wanted a room that not only had a “big a** display” and an amazing sound system but one that also had space for family and friends to comfortably hangout in together. These rooms are perfect for when you have people around all day watching sports or if you’re hosting a party. But that leaves one question to be answered… what sort of display would you put there? Projector or TV?

Usually, you would just choose as big a TV as you could get, but now, there is a new kid on the block that might change your mind. The idea of Ultra-Short Throw Projectors has been around for a while but, it never really took off until recently. Imagine a projected image going through a periscope at close range, sounds cool but its performance and sales were lackluster until a few years ago.

These projectors are cool, but they could never stand up to the best TV models, until now.

New UST Projector models being released have started to fight their way into becoming viable options for rooms like this, and with the light reducing screens these projectors must be paired with, they even work well during a sunny day. The picture will only get clearer as the sun goes down; letting you have an area to hangout in while the sun is up and a perfect place to watch movies when the sun goes down.

So, what’s the difference between a big TV and a new Ultra-Short Throw Projector? If you kick aside obvious things like the fact that one is a TV and one isn’t, you’re left with important facts like price, video quality, audio, weight on the wall, the device’s viewing life, and a lot of other items that must be considered before purchasing one or the other. Knocking out prices first, currently a 100” TV with 4K HDR capability is $20,000 while a UST projector with a 120” will cost you around $12,000.

Now, what really is a UST projector? UST is short for Ultra-Short Throw which means that you can have a projector deliver a picture of up to 120” from only 5-10 inches away from the screen/wall.

This completely changes the dynamic of projector technology. Imagine no longer worrying about someone walking in front of the image when you’re watching something you can’t afford to miss or while gaming. Getting snacks during the home movie is no longer an awkward round of shadow puppets!

The UST Projector sales have been skyrocketing and there are plenty of reasons for these amazing sales but, it does fall short in a few places. The projector excels at bright picture scenarios and programs like sports and bright movies but, due to the lenses and mirrors that allow the ultra-short throw effect possible, darker scenes and movies have a hard time with fine detail. Also, a special type of screen must be used. These screens not only help make these details crisper, but they absorb ambient light helping it function during the day.

On top of that you’ll need audio solutions, regardless of your choice of TV or Projector. For a media room one should always be ready to invest in some sort of speaker system. Some projectors do come with speakers built-in, but you’d need to practically sit next to the projector to hear anything clearly. Some companies like Samsung do put in some better-quality speakers, but for a really exciting experience you’ll need some actual speakers. Another flaw with traditional bulb-based projectors is a viewing lifespan of only 1,500 to 3,500 hours, if your movies are 2 hours long that’s roughly 750-1750 movies before you need a new bulb. What’s worse is that the bulb gets dimmer every time you use it, so, it’s never as bright as the day the bulb was installed.

In contrast, the LED lasers in the UST projectors that BTA uses provide around 20,000 hours of life (10,000 movies at 2 hours a movie!) – this should be roughly the same lifespan as a regular LED TV, and they don’t dim over time or suffer from burn-in. If the laser engine burns out or breaks, then the projector becomes useless, a very expensive paperweight, this is the same for the LED TV – the cost of a new LED panel is close to a new TV so most would just buy a new TV.

TV technology and manufacturing has advanced leaps and bounds compared to the box TVs of old. In terms of size in comparison to the weight of the TV – installation has become much easier. Picture quality will show even the smallest detail, built-in apps, and easy sound options make “plug it in and go” a real thing. For the best entertainment, a sound system is highly recommended, for a real media room, trust us when we say you’re going to want speakers that sound as good as your picture will look.

TVs are almost always the “go-to” option for anything and everything other than a dedicated media room, but these new UST projectors and their light absorbing screens are fighting tooth and nail for a place in these new multipurpose rooms. This shift has been seen by furniture companies who have created custom furniture pieces specifically for these projectors that are designed to hide them while keeping your room aesthetically pleasing.

Imagine a room with a table in the back where your family can eat a meal, this room is connected to a living room with couches and chairs circled around to face a 120-inch screen where you can watch a projected image during the day. When the holiday hustle keeps people moving around, you can make sure the screen is big enough to be seen from anywhere in the room ensuring no one will walk in front of the projected picture. Stay in that room all day talking to everyone slowly passing the time into the night when you and your guests start to wind down and fall onto the couches for a movie on your top-quality screen and projected image.

As you can see, there are a lot of choices in today’s technology entertainment market and even more things to consider before picking one. We know, trying to choose one thing over the other can be a daunting task, but that’s where BTA comes in. We test all the equipment we sell and work with you to define the best media room possible for your home and lifestyle. Call or email BTA today to schedule a consultation and get your project started! Let’s create your dream media solution!

By David Galea – David, as a part of our Marketing and Customer Experience Departments, is always searching for and writing about innovative solutions that fit into our company’s and our clients’ needs.

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