Projector with a 90 degree rotate option?
January 23, 2012 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a projector that supports portrait mode, or 90 degree image rotation, without physically rotating the projector.

We're looking for a projector that will let us rotate the video feed 90 degrees when displayed. Almost all projectors offer video mirroring and 180 degree rotation.

Have you used one with such a setting?
posted by odinsdream to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Your video card should be able to do this... Checked out your video/displays settings?
posted by schwa at 7:50 AM on January 23, 2012

If your running Windows then most newer video cards support rotating the display. Try hitting Ctrl + Alt + an arrow key. Right rotates it 90 degrees to the right, left to the left, down 180, and up back to normal.

If you're on Mac you can do this from the Displays option in Settings.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:56 AM on January 23, 2012

The options listed by Burhanistan work, but obviously it changes the orientation only, not the actual image. There doesn't appear to be any projectors that will rotate the whole image (along with the aspect ratio) 90 degrees. There are rotation adapters available for many projectors to do this, usually costing a couple hundred dollars.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:16 AM on January 23, 2012

Please understand that I asked this question specifically about the projector capabilities for several reasons. Rotating via the graphics chip doesn't rotate the display fed to a projector, so it shows up on the wall sideways.
posted by odinsdream at 8:59 AM on January 23, 2012

Most projectors on the market are natively 4:3 (TV-aspect) or 16:9 (widescreen aspect) and built to deliver the image in landscape orientation. They can do the mirror and flip functions because it's simple image manipulation in the same orientation. (And those functions are there to facilitate rear-projection and upside-down installations, respectively.) The problem is that in both LCD and DLP models, the optics that generate the image are complex and precisely aligned, and are designed to deliver a landscape image. In order to switch to a portrait orientation, the entire optics assembly would have to rotate as a whole 90 degrees, which would make for a much bulkier and much more expensive projector, all in order to provide a feature that very few users require.

There are some projectors that will let you change the aspect by letterboxing the sides or top & bottom of the image, but because the orientation of the DLP assembly or LCD panels remains landscape, doing so cuts out a significant portion of the usable pixel area. Sure, there may be a mid-level projector that will let you letterbox the sides to simulate a portrait orientation, but you'll either need a lens kit or a longer throw distance (which probably means a higher lumen rating to compensate) to maintain a comparable image size vs. the projector's natural orientation.

Which is all to say that while it may not be what you wanted, getting a rotating mount for a standard projector, even with the added cost of such a mount, is probably going to give you the most bang for your buck, by far.
posted by xedrik at 9:33 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

xedrik has a good outline of the technical reasons that projectors don't rotate images by 90 degrees. You could get a hardware image processor that would rotate the incoming video stream, scale it down to get it to fit in the vertical space, and send the corrected image to the projector. That's going to be $2000-3000, though.

You could perhaps use two separate projectors, one mounted at 90 degrees, and a manual VGA switch between the two to send the video signal to either the portrait or the landscape projector, depending on what your input is at the moment. Or you could replace the projector with a big LCD panel on a rotating mount. It would really depend on the specifics of where your video is coming from and how you need to view the output.

I don't think you're going to find a projector that does what you want it to do without physical rotation.
posted by echo target at 11:45 AM on January 23, 2012

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