InFocus' IN76 projector is the manufacturer's replacement for its impressive Screenplay 5700, and the first bit of good news is that the IN76 costs a sizable £700 less than its predecessor. But cost-cutting alarm bells needn't sound, as this DLP projector is better equipped and a better performer than its predecessor. Couple these improvements with the price and its appeal should be obvious.
With its vaguely flying saucer shape and striking black and silver livery, the IN76 feels much more contemporary and desirable. The old arrangement of drop-down feet for screen orientation has been ditched in favour of a ball and socket base fitting, which allows an easy, one-touch lineup. The favourable concessions to aesthetics continues with the remote, which adds its own touch of visual flair.
Vertical keystone adjust is retained to help line up the picture edges with the screen, but is best avoided as it kills resolution stone dead.
The functional, but comprehensive, InFocus menu system is still incorporated. Highlights here include three user presets, which can be used to group picture settings for individual sources, an auto image feature, and a new five position sharpness control.
The DLP chip is from Texas Instruments DarkChip2 range with a 1280 x 720 resolution, which means the unit is future-proofed and compatible with 720p HD sources. Encrypted input can be connected using the HDMI input, or InFocus's favoured M1-DA which is HDMI, DVI and component compatible.
Continuing to spoil the punter, InFocus has improved the terms of the guarantee, which now includes return to base using couriers.
Moving to the main event - picture quality - we were over the moon. To be frank, the IN76 leaves the Screenplay 5700, and most others of its generation, lost at sea.
Using our test DVD of Revenge of the Sith, the 10-bit PixelWorks processing yields rich, subtle colours. The accurate D65 setup (which needs no adjustment from the box) gives pictures a wonderfully alive feel, realistic flesh tones, and vivid colour. Black areas of the picture are darker, meaning a punchier image with greater contrast. The good news continues with low video noise levels.
The PixelWorks image processing offers much cleaner, more vibrant results than the Faroudja-based Screenplay 5700, especially at high resolution (720p and downsampled 1080i from a hard disk-based HD source used for this test). Compared with its predecessor, the IN76 offers startling improvements serving as a measure of the rate of evolution in projector technology.
InFocus has also made real improvements in the area of motion artefacts. Moving scenes look more fluid on screen. Although it would be wrong to suggest that no residual jerkiness remains, moving pictures are smoother, even with scrolling backgrounds and mixed text and video material, such as title sequences.
The InFocus IN76 barely puts a foot wrong, demonstrating the heady improvements made in the DLP projection world. A killer performance from a well priced projector.