* Planar PD8150 - is interesting in that the lens shift is unequal. It can be placed higher above the screen top, than it can be lower, below the bottom.
** The Optoma HD8600 can be placed up to 4.9 inches above the top of the screen surface, but only down to 14.9 inches above the bottom of the screen.
*** The InFocus SP8602 has the most unusual lens shift. The top number shown is correct, the SP8602 can be placed that far above the top of the screen. What is weird is that the lens can only be placed from that height, down to the top of the screen surface, but not below. So you can not have the InFocus SP8602 mounted, say a foot below the top of the screen. All the other projectors with lens shift would work there.
Note: All numbers above are approximate. Throw distances should be accurate within about one inch. In terms of Maximum shift, and especially the amount of shift (offset) on projectors without adjustable lens shift, we have found that manufacturers often make errors!
We recommend you double check the numbers with the manufacturer's tech support, for accurate lens shift numbers. (At least two of these manufacturers show conflicting information in their brochures, compared to their manuals, on at least one model.
For your convenience, below, the home theater projectors are organized first by price class, then by amount of placement flexibility. The four categories are:
Greatest Placement Flexibility (excellent zoom range, lens shift)
Good Placement Flexibility (moderately good zoom range, lens shift)
Fair Placement Flexibility (typically limited zoom range, lens shift, there are exceptions)
Poor Placement Flexibility (limited zoom range, no lens shift)
None of the projectors listed as Poor can be shelf mounted. Those rated Fair can be shelf mounted, but have very limited range and may not work out in most rooms.
Keep in mind that if you plan to ceiling mount, there isn't that much difference between the four groups, unless ceiling height is an issue, in which case Poor Placement Flexibility projectors may still be a problem as they lack any lens shift.
The key benefit of ceiling mounting is that you can place the projector closer to the screen which often means a brighter image.
Key benefits of shelf mounting include usually easier to get power to the projector (installation time and cost), less audible noise, easier access, generally simpler to install and align.