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2023 LaserTV Showdown

The Best Ultra Short Throw Projector Shootout for 2023

ProjectorScreen.com, the web's #1 projector and projection screen retailer, has once again teamed up with Projector Central, the world's largest database of projector information and one of the most authoritative websites for resources and reviews in the industry, to bring you the second annual, 2023 LaserTV Showdown - the Ultimate Ultra Short Throw Projector Shootout.

Last year’s event enlightened and delighted, informed and illuminated, schooled and ruled. The results were close, but it was the Chinese Formovie Theater, a relatively unknown brand in the USA, that emerged victorious at our previous showdown. This 4K ultra short throw, surpassed offerings from much more established companies and premium brands such as Samsung, Epson and LG.

And now that the newest crop of laser TVs have been released we just had to do it all over again to see what projectors that the expert panel of judges determine to be their top choices and crown a new winner with the title of the 2023 best ultra short throw projector.

Compare the projectors Use our comparison table to get all the information you need to make up your own mind about the Laser TV Showdown projectors. Show Me The Table See how the contestants weighed up. Use the filters below to show/hide and sort by the projector criteria that matters to you most. See how the contestants weighed up. You can also use filters to show/hide and sort by the projector criteria that matters to you most.
Item Projector Type Judges Pick Advertised Lumens # Lasers Audio Rank Current Price Regular Price Lag Time Dolby Vision Throw Ratio Max Image Size 3D Value Score Audio to Video Quotient Overall Score Overall Sharpness Overall Contrast & Black Levels
Showdown 2023 Judges
The judges size up the competition at the 2023 Laser TV Showdown

The ProjectorScreen.com & Projector Central 2023 Laser TV Showdown

We’re no strangers to doing ultra short throw projector or regular throw projector shootouts, comparing different models head to head against each other. Our UST Shootout series on Youtube and on our website have been some of our most popular and requested content. It seems that consumers want to know how specific projectors compare to each other to help determine which is best for your needs.

Despite hosting the event in our facility and supporting the event financially, the Laser TV Showdown, as it was last year, was entirely run under the direction of Rob Sabin, Editor-in-Chief at Projector Central. Everything from the selection of the projectors to be included, the judges selected, the content used and the judging criteria were determined by Rob.

Rob was also responsible for the calibration of each projector entered into the Showdown, which he had performed by ISF Level 3 certified calibrator, Sammie Prescott Jr.

Sammie is no stranger to the Laser TV Showdown as he had joined us last year in a judging capacity, however this year he was brought back by Projector Central as a calibrator to further insulate ourselves from any accusations of impropriety by having our own in-house calibrator perform that function.

On top of the ultra short throw shootout, we also ambitiously undertook a separate showdown for lifestyle projectors. 2 events in 1 day. You can read more about part 2 of our tournament and the winner for the best lifestyle projector here.

We had help from several sponsors in putting on this event who provided us with some gear, such as Spectra Projection who provided us with all of the projector screens and UST carts that were used and AV ProEdge & Murideo for lending us all of the test equipment and signal distribution gear, but to be clear, none of the brands competing were sponsors of the event, allowed on site or able to exert any influence over the competition or judges.

Each laser TV was plucked fresh from inventory when available, and several that we do not carry or have stock of yet were purchased at retail from other sources. There were no golden samples or juiced up, cherry picked units provided by manufacturers for the purpose of this competition. The one exception being the inclusion of the Ultimea Thor T60, which is not yet commercially available as it is currently still in its crowdfunding phase (until 11/9/23). For that particular projector, a sample unit lent to us from another reviewer was used. Projector Central had felt that this particular projector had unique enough attributes to warrant its inclusion, despite not being a sealed, retail unit as all other items included were.

All of this to answer this question: What are the best ultra short throw projectors in 2023?

Judges

For our competition to determine the world's best 4K ultra short throw projectors, Projector Central brought together a panel of six expert judges, each of whom is well regarded in the projection, calibration and A/V industry in order to scrutinize and crown a winner for this year’s ultimate UST shootout. We’ve got some familiar faces from last year along with some new judges joining our panel. So, let's get to it and meet our judges:

Chris Eberle

Chris Eberle

Professional ISF-trained display calibrator, display reviewer for Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, display reviewer for Tom’s Hardware

Andy Grimm

Andy Grimm

Projector reviewer and contributor for Home Theater Review, display calibrator

John Higgins

John Higgins

Managing Editor, Tech, at Reviewed, part of the USA Today Network, ISF-trained display calibrator

Mark Henninger

Mark Henninger

Editor-in-Chief for Sound & Vision, former Managing Editor for Home Theater Review, former Editor-in-Chief for AVSForum.com, THX-trained display calibrator

M. David Stone

M. David Stone

Long-time projector reviewer for PCMag.com, veteran contributor for ProjectorCentral.com

Chris Majestic

Chris Majestic

YouTube projector reviewer and influencer at MajesTechs

UST Shootout

How The Judges Picked Their Favorites

We wanted to enable the judges to choose the best ultra short throw projectors out there so Projector Central stress tested the contestants’ color accuracy and dynamic range with both SDR and HDR content, resolution/detail with still and motion video, image scaling/processing and contrast with both the lights on and the lights off.

Each laser TV was paired with an identical 100" Spectra Projection Vantage ambient light rejecting screen specifically made for UST projectors and one of the top performing screens from an ambient light rejection and image fidelity standpoint, which really allowed these projectors to “shine” in this all-out battle royale.

The projectors were evaluated side by side using a series of test patterns from the Murideo generators and movie/TV program clips from our Kaleidescape media player, Oppo UHD disc player and DirectTV box, that put each projector to the test.

All content was distributed to all projectors at the same time via hardware and connectivity provided by our sponsors at AV Pro Edge - and let me tell you that this was no small feat considering all of the different EDID's, HDMI conflicts, video sources and displays.

All of the UST projectors in the Laser TV Showdown were calibrated in 3 modes; SDR Day (Bright Room), SDR Dark Room and HDR Dark Room with all calibrations performed by ISF level 3 certified calibrator, Sammie Prescott, JR.

We also added non reflective divider panels between the UST cinema screens to limit light bleed between the units. Instead of using uneven and harsh lighting coming from the fluorescent ceiling lights, we added traditional lights attached to the back of the screens to better simulate the lighting environment you’d find in a living room.

The judges were given ballot sheets to rate each projector for specific attributes of picture quality, such as Color Accuracy, Contrast, Black Level/Shadow Detail, and Detail/Sharpness.

While the cost of a laser TV is an incredibly important factor for most shoppers, price was not factored into the rankings; the judging was done purely on the basis of image quality.

Not only were the judges tasked with attributing a score to specific criteria, they were also asked to pick their top 3 overall choices, taking everything about the projector into account and that "Judge's Pick" ranking is how the awards were given this year.

In some cases, there was an obvious correlation between total points and the judges' pick rankings, but in other cases having higher total points did not necessarily mean the judges picked it for their top 3 overall.

One of the main differences between this year's Showdown vs last year’s is that instead of hosting 2 independent rounds separating single lasers from triple laser USTs, all of the contestants were judged at the same time against one another.

While this may give an unfair edge to the triple laser USTs in terms of color gamut, it was decided that the average consumer is not beginning their journey based on the number of lasers that a projector has. Additionally, there is nothing to say that the other attributes of a single laser projector, such as contrast ratio, sharpness or otherwise, wouldn’t make them rank higher overall in the eyes of the judges.

We pitted these 9 different laser tv projectors head to head in the largest battle royale the projection world has ever seen!

The following day, the audio portion of the Showdown was held and again that segment was judged by Rob Sabin, Editor-in-Chief of ProjectorCentral with a 2nd judge this year; Chris Boylan, Editor-in-Chief of BigPictureBigSound.com.

Rob, as former Editor-in-Chief of Sound and Vision is certainly no stranger to reviewing audio products so don't let his current role at a projector centric publication fool you into thinking otherwise.

Each projector was placed in the same location and reviewed one-by-one to ensure all of the room acoustics were the same for each evaluation. Each UST was graded on the following criteria: 

  • Bass Performance 
  • Overall Volume / Dynamics
  • Accuracy / Timbre  
  • Music Imaging
  • Movie / TV Imaging

This was another absolutely grueling test as these two judges spent as much time doing the audio (9 USTs + 5 Lifestyle Projectors) as the video judging took the previous day.

So, who will win the title of the best ultra short throw projector in the 2023 Laser TV Showdown? Let’s find out!

Winner: Best Ultra Short Throw Projector

The results are in and the winner of the 2023 Laser TV Showdown and the judges pick for the best ultra short throw projector in our shootout is...

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On Sale:
Yes
Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
Formovie
Product Status:
In Stock
Lumens:
2800
Projector Type:
Ultra Short Throw
Light Source:
Laser
Contrast Ratio:
3,000:1 (full on/off)
Chipset:
DLP
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Throw Ratio:
0.23:1 (D:W)
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Lens Shift:
No
Input Lag:
4K/60Hz: 43ms | 1080p/60Hz: 41ms | 1080p/120Hz: 37ms | 1080p/240Hz: 34ms
3D Support:
No
Built-In Speaker:
Yes
Warranty:
2 Years
Standard Lens Focus:
Motorized
ARC/eARC:
eARC
Operating System:
Android TV

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Best Ultra Short Throw Projector:Formovie Theater

#1
Total Image Quality Score: 8.06

The Formovie Theater is no longer the new kid on the block. In fact, last year it became the king of the hill and has managed to defend its high ground by virtue of its exceptional contrast, black level, tone mapping and handling of HDR content among other areas of excellence.

It was a resounding top pick for this year’s judges with 5 out of 6 choosing it as their #1 pick and the 6th judge choosing it as #2. No other projector in this Showdown was selected by every single judge, let alone with consistent top placement.

This fact that this projector was the overwhelming favorite of the judges earns the Formovie Theater the top spot as the best ultra short throw projector for 2023.

While several other contestants have caught up to the Theater with its Dolby Vision support, it’s still one of the least expensive triple laser projectors out there and delivers a visual experience that surpasses that of units costing several times as much,

While its 41.9ms input lag time may not make it the top choice for competitive gamers, it is more than adequate for casual gaming and still was faster than several of the other models in the contest. For those of you yearning to enjoy 3D content, you will unfortunately need to look elsewhere.

Notably, this projector scored top rankings in every single category of the audio judging.

Based on its #1 ranking by our judges and low price point, we here at ProjectorScreen.com would absolutely still call this one of, if not the top value in the entire ultra short throw projector competition.

SDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 5.75
Contrast 7.83
Black Level / Shadow Detail 8.83
Detail / Sharpness 7.08
24p Motion 7.17

SDR DAY MODE (Living Room TV)

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 6.42
Overall Contrast 6.17
Detail / Sharpness 6.50

HDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 8.50
Overall Contrast / Tone Mapping 8.83
Black Level / Shadow Detail 9.67
UHD Detail / Sharpness 6.83
WCG Content 7.58
Rainbows Not Distracting
Speckle Not Distracting
Notable Features
3D:
No
Dolby Vision:
Yes
Gaming Lag Time (4K 60hz):
41.9 ms
Max ANSI Lumens:
2,800
Typical Street Price (USD):
$2,999

As of November 2, 2023

Audio Rankings
Rank: #1
Bass Performance:
5
Overall Volume / Dynamics:
6
Accuracy / Timbre:
8
Music Imaging:
7
Movie / TV Imaging:
7

Here is how the judges scored each ultra short throw projector:

Ranking Chart
Ranking Chart

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Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
Hisense
Product Status:
In Stock
Lumens:
2400
Projector Type:
Ultra Short Throw
Light Source:
Laser
Contrast Ratio:
2,000,000:1
Chipset:
DLP
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Throw Ratio:
0.25:1 (D:W)
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Input Lag:
4K/60Hz: 34.1ms | 1080p/60Hz: 34.1ms
Built-In Speaker:
Yes
Warranty:
2 Years
Standard Lens Focus:
Motorized
ARC/eARC:
eARC
Operating System:
Android TV

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Hisense PX2-Pro

#2
Total Image Quality Score: 8.48

The PX2-Pro has some very similar siblings in the Hisense family, the 100L9H / 120L9H. It was decided to only include the PX2-Pro since their L9H product can only be purchased with a Hisense bundled screen and that screen is different between the 100” and 120” sizes. 

This means that entering the L9H would result in a different experience for our judges than any consumer could expect to experience for themselves.

While the sibling units were not officially judged, we here at ProjectorScreen.com are confident that the rankings of the PX2-Pro by the judges can be extrapolated to those other units.

It clearly separated itself from the pack in terms of 24p motion handling with the highest score in the contest.

The new Hisense PX2-Pro offers vastly improved contrast, brighter output, Dolby Vision support and the Google OS featuring a built-in Netflix app, over its predecessor, the PX1-Pro which finished 4th in the 2022 LaserTV Showdown. 

These improvements certainly manifest themselves when you look at the judges ratings of this ultra short throw projector and its selection as the (tied for) #2 judges' choice.

SDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 7.58
Contrast 6.17
Black Level / Shadow Detail 6.58
Detail / Sharpness 7.75
24p Motion 7.92

SDR DAY MODE (Living Room TV)

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 7.17
Overall Contrast 6.92
Detail / Sharpness 6.67

HDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 6.75
Overall Contrast / Tone Mapping 6.50
Black Level / Shadow Detail 5.67
UHD Detail / Sharpness 7.58
WCG Content 6.83
Rainbows Not Distracting
Speckle Mildly Distracting
Notable Features
3D:
No
Dolby Vision:
Yes
Gaming Lag Time (4K 60hz):
34.1 ms
Max ANSI Lumens:
2,400
Typical Street Price (USD):
$2,997

As of November 2, 2023

Audio Rankings
Rank: #8
Bass Performance:
2
Overall Volume / Dynamics:
2
Accuracy / Timbre:
2
Music Imaging:
2
Movie / TV Imaging:
5

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Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
EPSON
Product Status:
Leaves Warehouse within 5-10 Business Days
Lumens:
4000
Projector Type:
Ultra Short Throw
Light Source:
Laser
Contrast Ratio:
2,500,000:1
Chipset:
LCD
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Throw Ratio:
0.16:1 (D:W)
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Lens Shift:
No
Input Lag:
4K/60Hz: 21.0ms | 1080p/60Hz: 22.1ms | 1080p/120Hz: 12.3ms
3D Support:
No
Built-In Speaker:
Yes
Warranty:
2 Years
Standard Lens Focus:
Manual
ARC/eARC:
ARC
Operating System:
Android TV

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Epson LS800

#2
Total Image Quality Score: 9.15

The Epson LS800, available in both black & white, has rapidly become one of the most popular projectors of the year due to its incredibly high brightness, short throw distance and low lag time.

It was the only LCD based projector in this year's Showdown and by virtue of how it is achieve its 4k resolution via shift, it did not provide the same level of sharpness and detail as its DLP counterparts, but more than made up for it in the eyes of the judges with its overall performance and feature set.

While not scoring top marks in any specific criteria in this competition, its overall great performance, high brightness, dynamic contrast and other attributes made the LS800 tie for 2nd place in the eyes of our judges.

This is absolutely a top contender to be put in any well lit environment.

SDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 7.75
Contrast 6.17
Black Level / Shadow Detail 5.58
Detail / Sharpness 4.67
24p Motion 7.50

SDR DAY MODE (Living Room TV)

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 7.75
Overall Contrast 7.25
Detail / Sharpness 5.50

HDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 7.83
Overall Contrast / Tone Mapping 7.67
Black Level / Shadow Detail 6.58
UHD Detail / Sharpness 4.50
WCG Content 6.75
Rainbows Not Distracting
Speckle Not Distracting
Notable Features
3D:
No
Dolby Vision:
No
Gaming Lag Time (4K 60hz):
16.7 ms
Max ISO Lumens:
4,000
Typical Street Price (USD):
$3,499

As of November 2, 2023

Audio Rankings
Rank: #3
Bass Performance:
4
Overall Volume / Dynamics:
3
Accuracy / Timbre:
6
Music Imaging:
5
Movie / TV Imaging:
5

Leica Cine 1

#3
Total Image Quality Score: 8.83

While Leica is a brand with a legacy for phenomenal optics with its camera lenses, it is a total newcomer to the projection space. While it is built upon last year’s Hisense L9G platform (manufactured for Leica by Hisense), the advantages that the Leica lens packaged inside brings to this last generation model was very apparent to our judges.

Its sharpness was undoubtedly superior to the rest of the USTs in this showdown and per the scorecard, was rated with top scores in all of the detail/sharpness criteria.

The Cine1 comes in 2, fixed focus sizes preset to 100” & 120”. It’s lack of variable focus and high price tag may not make it the right choice for many consumers, but for those of whom are more interested in sharpness than contrast and have an affinity towards the Leica brand, the Cine1 proved to be a heavy hitter in the minds of the judges.

SDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 7.92
Contrast 6.75
Black Level / Shadow Detail 5.92
Detail / Sharpness 8.17
24p Motion 7.33

SDR DAY MODE (Living Room TV)

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 7.67
Overall Contrast 7.67
Detail / Sharpness 8

HDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 6.83
Overall Contrast / Tone Mapping 6.75
Black Level / Shadow Detail 4.17
UHD Detail / Sharpness 8.58
WCG Content 7.17
Rainbows Not Distracting
Speckle Mildly Distracting
Notable Features
3D:
No
Dolby Vision:
Yes
Gaming Lag Time (4K 60hz):
30 ms
Max ANSI Lumens:
3,000
Typical Street Price (USD):
$8,995

As of November 2, 2023

Audio Rankings
Rank: #9
Bass Performance:
2
Overall Volume / Dynamics:
2
Accuracy / Timbre:
2
Music Imaging:
2
Movie / TV Imaging:
3

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Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
Ultimea
Product Status:
In Stock
Lumens:
4000
Projector Type:
Ultra Short Throw
Light Source:
Laser
Contrast Ratio:
4,000:1 (full on/off)
Chipset:
DLP
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Throw Ratio:
0.21:1 (D:W)
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Lens Shift:
No
Input Lag:
4K/60Hz: 25ms
3D Support:
Yes
Built-In Speaker:
Yes
Warranty:
3 Year
Standard Lens Focus:
Motorized
ARC/eARC:
eARC
Operating System:
Android TV

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Ultimea Thor T60

#6
Total Image Quality Score: 9.15

The Ultimea Thor T60 is a projector that I had just recently heard of and had never seen prior to the Showdown. 

In fact, it is the only projector in this year's competition that was not taken from retail stock and was entered as a manufacturer provided unit as it was still in it's crowdfunding stage at the time of the Showdown.

ProjectorCentral had decided to include it due to its extraordinary published specifications and significant interest and hype around it that has formed online.

It is the brightest triple laser projector available and boasts an advertised 4,000:1 contrast ratio, 3D support, Dolby Vision, a low lag time for gaming, a massive 200" maximum image and most impressively the widest color gamut of any UST projector - 120% of the BT.2020 color space!

While the Showdown did not measure most of their claims, the Thor T60's wide color gamut was very evident to our judges as it garnered the highest score in that category.

It also took top score in several other categories as well including Color Accuracy / Skin tone and SDR Day Mode contrast, to further give credence to its claims.

Unfortunately all of that brightness did make this projector the only one with a Mildly Distracting rating in both Laser Speckle & Rainbow Artifacts, but perhaps that is something that can be addressed in a future firmware update.

Considering its strong performance in this year's Showdown, it's relatively high price tag is certainly warranted in my opinion and if the final production units perform at this same caliber, the Thor T60 is a great option for a well lit environment.

SDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 8.17
Contrast 6.33
Black Level / Shadow Detail 5.33
Detail / Sharpness 7.17
24p Motion 7.33

SDR DAY MODE (Living Room TV)

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 8.25
Overall Contrast 7.83
Detail / Sharpness 7.67

HDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 6.75
Overall Contrast / Tone Mapping 7
Black Level / Shadow Detail 5.08
UHD Detail / Sharpness 7.58
WCG Content 7.67
Rainbows Mildly Distracting
Speckle Mildly Distracting
Notable Features
3D:
Yes
Dolby Vision:
Yes
Gaming Lag Time (4K 60hz):
25 ms
Max ANSI Lumens:
4,000
Typical Street Price (USD):
$4,999

As of November 2, 2023

Audio Rankings
Rank: #6
Bass Performance:
4
Overall Volume / Dynamics:
2
Accuracy / Timbre:
4
Music Imaging:
4
Movie / TV Imaging:
5

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Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
NexiGo
Product Status:
In Stock
Lumens:
2400
Projector Type:
Ultra Short Throw
Light Source:
Laser
Contrast Ratio:
3,000:1 (full on/off)
Chipset:
DLP
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Throw Ratio:
0.23:1 (D:W)
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Lens Shift:
No
Input Lag:
4K/120Hz: 12ms | 4K/60Hz: 43ms
3D Support:
Yes
Built-In Speaker:
Yes
Warranty:
1 Year
Standard Lens Focus:
Motorized
ARC/eARC:
eARC
Operating System:
Android TV

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Nexigo Aurora Pro

#5
Total Image Quality Score: 9.15

The Nexigo Aurora Pro was a relative last minute addition to the Showdown and ProjectorCentral had decided to enter it based on the significant amount of buzz that it had created via its crowdfunding campaign and chatter in various forums.

We did already have a demo unit provided to us by Nexigo, however in sticking with the theme of only using retail units when available, we did end up purchasing one from Nexigo and had it shipped directly to the calibrator in preparation for the event.

Prior to performing any calibrations, he checks all projectors for any firmware updates. Unfortunately in this instance and at that time, there was no over the air (OTA) firmware pushed to this unit and we were not notified by Nexigo of a new firmware available and provided with that until after the Aurora Pro had already been received, calibrated and on its way back to the showdown. 

The firmware updates from Nexigo are now pushed OTA and anyone who purchases a retail unit will be able to update immediately upon setup.

This is important because the firmware update for this unit has a positive impact on its overall image quality performance and in my opinion, am pretty certain that it would have scored more highly in the eyes of the judges.

I do not believe that the Aurora Pro as entered in this contest is necessarily indicative of the performance one would experience at the time of reading these results and I am personally committed to making a more in-depth analysis of this projector and its performance against the winners of the 2023 Laser TV Showdown and will publish our review and findings on our blog in the near future.

With supporting 3D, Dolby Vision and having a low lag time, the Aurora Pro is a projector to absolutely keep your eyes on and the fact that Nexigo is rapidly pushing our firmware enhancements is very encouraging and a testament to my belief that by the time I am able to do my followup comparison we may be looking at a much stronger performer.

SDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 6.67
Contrast 6.33
Black Level / Shadow Detail 7.17
Detail / Sharpness 6.25
24p Motion 7

SDR DAY MODE (Living Room TV)

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 5.83
Overall Contrast 6.67
Detail / Sharpness 7

HDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 6.67
Overall Contrast / Tone Mapping 5.58
Black Level / Shadow Detail 5.33
UHD Detail / Sharpness 6.17
WCG Content 5.33
Rainbows Not Distracting
Speckle Mildly Distracting
Notable Features
3D:
Yes
Dolby Vision:
Yes
Gaming Lag Time (4K 60hz):
12 ms
Max ANSI Lumens:
2,400
Typical Street Price (USD):
$2,999

As of November 2, 2023

Audio Rankings
Rank: #5
Bass Performance:
3
Overall Volume / Dynamics:
5
Accuracy / Timbre:
5
Music Imaging:
4
Movie / TV Imaging:
5

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Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
Hisense
Product Status:
In Stock
Lumens:
2200
Projector Type:
Ultra Short Throw
Light Source:
Laser
Contrast Ratio:
2,000,000:1
Chipset:
DLP
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Throw Ratio:
0.25:1 (D:W)
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Input Lag:
4K/60Hz: 46.6ms | 1080p/120Hz: 23.3ms
Built-In Speaker:
Yes
Warranty:
2 Years
Standard Lens Focus:
Motorized
ARC/eARC:
eARC
Operating System:
Google TV

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Hisense PL1

#1
Total Image Quality Score: 9.15

The Hisense PL1 is the first variable focus, single laser UST projector from Hisense. Just like its triple-laser counterpart, the PX2-Pro, this projector has fixed-focus, bundled siblings - the 100L5H & 120L5H. The PL1 was selected because the L5H products can only be purchased with a Hisense bundled screen and that screen is different between the 100” and 120” sizes. This means that entering the L5H would result in a different experience for our judges than any consumer could expect to experience for themselves.

While the sibling units were not officially judged, we here at ProjectorScreen.com are confident that the rankings of the PX2-Pro by the judges can be extrapolated to those other units.

As a single laser projector, the PL1 was destined to have a tough time competing in this UST shootout against the triple laser light source found on most of its competitors. While it had the obvious color gamut disadvantage, it still hung tough and when you factor in its lower price tag, it still proves to be a solid value overall despite not having the highest marks in any particular criteria.

This projector is best suited in environments with lower levels of ambient light and is an easy recommendation for us to give for those looking for a solid, economical option for more dedicated viewing spaces, especially with its Dolby Vision support.

The built in Netflix app is also a nice bonus and not found on many of the USTs in the Showdown.

SDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 6.08
Contrast 5.50
Black Level / Shadow Detail 5.17
Detail / Sharpness 6.83
24p Motion 7.33

SDR DAY MODE (Living Room TV)

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 4.92
Overall Contrast 5.75
Detail / Sharpness 5

HDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 7.17
Overall Contrast / Tone Mapping 5.75
Black Level / Shadow Detail 5.92
UHD Detail / Sharpness 6
WCG Content 5
Rainbows Not Distracting
Speckle Not Distracting
Notable Features
3D:
No
Dolby Vision:
Yes
Gaming Lag Time (4K 60hz):
46.6 ms
Max ANSI Lumens:
2,100
Typical Street Price (USD):
$2,497

As of November 2, 2023

Audio Rankings
Rank: #7
Bass Performance:
2
Overall Volume / Dynamics:
3
Accuracy / Timbre:
3
Music Imaging:
3
Movie / TV Imaging:
4

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Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
Formovie
Product Status:
Leaves Warehouse within 5-10 Business Days
Lumens:
2200
Projector Type:
Ultra Short Throw
Light Source:
Laser
Contrast Ratio:
3,000:1 (full on/off)
Chipset:
DLP
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Throw Ratio:
0.23:1 (D:W)
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Lens Shift:
No
Input Lag:
4K/60Hz: 43ms | 1080p/60Hz: 41ms
3D Support:
No
Built-In Speaker:
Yes
Standard Lens Focus:
Motorized
ARC/eARC:
eARC
Operating System:
FengOS 3.0

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Formovie C3

#3
Total Image Quality Score: 9.15

While the Formovie C3 entered in the 2023 LaserTV Showdown is available to purchase at retail, it is not the true final product intended for the USA Market. This "Global" edition is expected to arrive early in 2024 and comes with a slew of enhanced features that really would have benefited the C3 in this competition.

With its current FengOS operating system, the Color Management System (CMS) controls were lacking and the projector was not able to be as nearly dialed in from a calibration perspective as its "Global" sibling, the Formovie Theater.

Despite its measured native contrast ratio being among the highest of all entrants, that was not manifested in what the judges saw during the competition.

From my own personal experience, seeing the difference between what the FengOS version of the Theater is capable of compared to the vastly superior Global version, I have no doubt that when the C3 Global edition is released it will be a much more formidable projector.

It's strong audio performance and lowest price tag of all the projectors still makes it an attractive option to many, however you will need an external video/streaming device for use in the USA until the Global edition is released.

SDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 4.33
Contrast 6
Black Level / Shadow Detail 6.25
Detail / Sharpness 6.83
24p Motion 7.33

SDR DAY MODE (Living Room TV)

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 4.75
Overall Contrast 5.83
Detail / Sharpness 5.83

HDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 4.33
Overall Contrast / Tone Mapping 5.67
Black Level / Shadow Detail 4.92
UHD Detail / Sharpness 5.50
WCG Content 4.25
Rainbows Not Distracting
Speckle Not Distracting
Notable Features
3D:
No
Dolby Vision:
No
Gaming Lag Time (4K 60hz):
40 ms
Max ANSI Lumens:
2,200
Typical Street Price (USD):
$1,899

As of November 2, 2023

Audio Rankings
Rank: #2
Bass Performance:
4
Overall Volume / Dynamics:
5
Accuracy / Timbre:
7
Music Imaging:
4
Movie / TV Imaging:
4

$3,499.00
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Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
BenQ
Product Status:
Leaves Warehouse within 5-10 Business Days
Lumens:
2500
Projector Type:
Ultra Short Throw
Light Source:
Laser
Contrast Ratio:
2,000,000:1
Chipset:
DLP
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Throw Ratio:
0.25:1 (D:W)
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Standard Lens Focus:
Motorized

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BenQ V5000i

#1
Total Image Quality Score: 9.15

This event was the first public display of the BenQ V5000i here in the USA and unfortunately was not met with much fanfare.

This came at quite a surprise to me as in the 2022 LaserTV Showdown, BenQ's entrant the V7050i won first place in the single laser round. Had they not discontinued that model, it is quite possible that it would have had a strong showing again this year as well.

While it's successor the V5000i does support 3D and has a low lag time making it great for gamers, its limited image size that caps out at 100" really limits its adoptability for those looking for a big screen experience.

It is also physically the largest projector out of the entire competition which may create challenges for many in terms of placing it in their living space.

While this jack of all trades was not deemed to be a master of one, it did score relatively well in color accuracy - something that BenQ is well regarded for.

SDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 6.33
Contrast 5.67
Black Level / Shadow Detail 3.25
Detail / Sharpness 4.58
24p Motion 5.17

SDR DAY MODE (Living Room TV)

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 6
Overall Contrast 5.17
Detail / Sharpness 3.67

HDR DARK REFERENCE MODE

Color Accuracy / Skin Tone 6.42
Overall Contrast / Tone Mapping 6.17
Black Level / Shadow Detail 4.92
UHD Detail / Sharpness 4.83
WCG Content 6.58
Rainbows Not Distracting
Speckle Mildly Distracting
Notable Features
3D:
Yes
Dolby Vision:
No
Gaming Lag Time (4K 60hz):
17.9 ms
Max ANSI Lumens:
2,500
Typical Street Price (USD):
$3,499

As of November 2, 2023

Audio Rankings
Rank: #3
Bass Performance:
4
Overall Volume / Dynamics:
3
Accuracy / Timbre:
6
Music Imaging:
5
Movie / TV Imaging:
5

Sponsors

Our primary sponsor, Spectra Projection came through again this year for us and provided 9 of the best ultra short throw projector screens to use for this competition, which ensured all projectors were using an identical & uniform 4K rated surface that was ideal for the type of competition we held. They also provided us with specialized carts for UST projectors with mounting carts made for USTs.

I really want to give an extra big thank you to our sponsor AVPro Edge / Murideo who provided us with such an array of generators, analyzers, distribution and connectivity equipment to help ensure that all went well with our signals, EDID and HDMI connections.

Conclusion

While it may seem easy to put on an event such as this when you see the final product to someone unfamiliar with all that is involved, it most certainly was not. This was a very exhaustive effort to bring you the best ultra short throw projector. Everyone involved, from our 6 expert judges to the event calibrator, to the maestro himself, Rob Sabin, did a tremendous job and a service to projection enthusiasts everywhere.

We can't stress enough what an amazing job Rob Sabin did and the amount of effort he put forth to successfully make this the definitive event of its type yet again in its second year. The scale of the ambitions with this laser TV showdown was great and I doubt there is anyone, anywhere that could have pulled this off better than him.

It was great meeting and mingling with these judges, both reconnecting with some that I became acquainted with last year and some new friends this year all of whom have a deep understanding of projection far beyond that of my own. What an absolutely interesting, affable and knowledgeable crew, all of which I would gladly work with and socialize with them again in the future.

It was also really amazing to see how when reviewing a projector juxtaposed next to several others, it really can change your perception of a projector's performance and attributes as opposed to when reviewed and analyzed in a bubble. It really helps put things in perspective when being able to directly compare each projector against so many other units at the same time.

You may be used to this in a television showroom, but when it comes to ultra short throw projectors, there is no larger collection set up in one room to be able to evaluate at the same time than what we have built here at ProjectorScreen.com, with dozens of units in our library.

Keep this page bookmarked and check back soon as we will be adding some additional content that we just didn't have time to squeeze in before publishing this as we wanted to share the results with you all as soon as possible.

Thank you for joining us as we award the winner of the best 2023 ultra short throw projector in this Laser TV showdown, and as always, KEEP ON PROJECTING!

Need help picking the right ultra short throw projector? Give us a call:

(888) 392-4814

Rob and Brian
Brian and Rob celebrating another successful Laser TV Showdown. Until next time, keep on projecting!
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