InFocus Play Big IN74

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InFocus Play Big IN74
  • InFocus Play Big IN74
  • InFocus Play Big IN74
  • InFocus Play Big IN74

Pros

  • Excellent standard definition performance, Attractive design, wide array of connectors

Cons

  • Mediocre high definition performance, Overpriced

Bottom Line

The IN74 does what it is supposed to do and does it well but so do many other projectors and much cheaper.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 8 stores)

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The InFocus IN74 home entertainment DLP projector fits the bill if you are looking for a projector that performs well when watching DVDs. The unit accepts high-definition input, however reproduction of the projected images after scaling is not the equal of a native HD projector.

Design

The InFocus IN74 comes in a piano black finish with an equally attractive remote control. The heat vents are situated on either side of the unit which is intended to dissipate heat more efficiently while also looking attractive. The ports are located on the back of the unit and consist of HDMI, Component, Composite, S-Video, and a DVI/M1-DA connection. Considering this unit is designed specifically for home theatre setups with viewing DVD video in mind, these are all the connections most people will need. The top of the unit takes a minimalist approach with only a handful of function buttons and a focus/zoom ring for the lens. Measuring 360mm (width) x 360mm (depth) x 120mm (height), this is a reasonably large DLP projector.

Performance

The throw distance of the IN74 is quite good and should suit most homes. It is suitable for both mounting and coffee table use but the latter is more suitable. The keystone correction is fairly good although there is a certain level to which it no longer helps and some slight warping of the image can still occur. In keeping with the theme of simplicity, InFocus has done an excellent job with the user interface. The image customisation options are user friendly and easy to understand. A Rainbow Effect can occur in DLP projectors which can imapact some viewers and can make the images hard to watch. The IN74 mostly avoids this thanks to its 6 segment, 4 speed colour wheel.

To test the unit in standard definition we used three DVD playback tests. The first was the Philips CE2006 Demo DVD which contains a wealth of tests that are excellent for highlighting the inadequacies of any display device. We also ran Digital Video Essentials, another DVD of the same ilk which has more specialised still image test patterns. Our last test was a real world test using the Lobby Scene from The Matrix.

The motion jitter tests on the Philips CE2006 Demo DVD showed minimal jitter when compared to other projectors we have reviewed, indicating that the unit handles movement quite well. The colour tests were top notch with good separation and the contrast tests showed rich blacks with a good transition from light to dark. In our sharpness tests it also garnered excellent results with clear and consistent images with well drawn fine detail.

Digital Video Essentials reiterated the high quality of the projected image. The only real issues we found involved colour fringing on black and white block tests. The edges between the black and white blocks had fringing of magenta and green. However, we found this to be the only problem during these tests and we do not feel this fringing will impact on DVD playback.

In the Matrix test we were quite happy with the quality of the image displayed. Many projectors have problems properly drawing the textures of the lobby walls without some form of discolouration. The IN74 had no problem at all. It also exhibited excellent performance while displaying motion, good detail in the myriad debris and a lack of pixelisation or artifacts. This appears to be a projector that is designed with DVD in mind and has more than fulfilled its obligation to that format.

However, where the image quality is lacking is in resolution. The IN74 has a native resolution of 1024 x 576 which limits the quality of high definition display. High definition signals are supported but to produce images in 720p and 1080i the unit has to scale the video to that resolution, a process which leaves it looking less than perfect.

We connected the IN74 to an Xbox 360 to test the 720p and 1080i abilities of the projector. For the most part, it did reasonably well but the native resolution restricted the chances of the unit ever blowing us away. The image was not as crisp as it could have been and there was some noise and slight over sharpening of some edges. While the scaling has been done reasonably well, the projector simply can't compete with other projectors that have a 720p native resolution. The fly screen was far more noticeable in high definition than it was in standard and it caused odd pixelisations. For high definition content the IN74 is no match for a HD optimised projector.

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