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Infocus Screenplay 5700 review

Can the Screenplay still compete despite its age?

Our Verdict

The 5700 has aged remarkably well, and remains an excellent proposition - but a few wrinkles are appearing

We reviewed - and was very impressed by - the InFocus Screenplay 5700, back in spring 2004. But after a couple of recent price cuts, it's now pitched against a whole new army of cheaper competitors that can surely only enhance its appeal. Right?

Despite its age, the 5700 boasts an 'M1' digital input able via the right adaptor to receive DVI or HDMI signals - and yes, it's compatible with the HDCP digital rights protocols being demanded by Sky if you want to view all its upcoming high definition programmes.

There are two sets of component video input, an analogue PC jack, and the de rigeur composite and S-video options. Distinguishing features Given the 5700's relative vintage, it's not too surprising that some of its specifications are starting to show their age.

The biggest disappointment comes from the Texas Instruments' Matterhorn DLP chipset's native resolution of 1024 x 576, which means any high definition feeds will have to be downscaled. Happily, the 5700 uses a native widescreen aspect chipset, and delivers a very respectable 1000 ANSI Lumens of maximum brightness. But another sign of the 5700's age is the far from earth-shattering contrast range.

Unsurprisingly, for a once-premium projector is the 5700's use of a Faroudja deinterlacing system, and an extensive array of picture adjustments.

Even a novice should have the 5700 up and running in under five minutes - although it's a pity there's no manual image shift and only one plane of keystone adjustment. Day to day use does involve some slightly tortuous onscreen menus, but is otherwise pretty straightforward.

The 5700 delivers one of the best performances I've seen from Matterhorn with pictures. One key reason is the 5700's stunning greyscale, which reveals almost infinite tonal gradations in colour and the tiniest differentials in textures - resulting in a picture of depth and scale.

The 5700 also deals impressively with those twin DLP nasties of motion fizzing and green dot crawl over dark picture areas. Even the rainbow effect is here reduced to 'walk on' appearances.

Another factor holding up well is the 5700's fine detail response. This is especially true when showing native PAL sources, but HD material is also scaled down with aplomb.

But with so many newer chipsets now appearing, it can't completely hide the Matterhorn's limitations. The most serious is a black level response that fails to get as deep as many of its rivals. After tweaking the picture to get the black levels as profound as possible, the resulting image looked a touch short of brightness and vivacity.

The 5700 has aged remarkably well, and remains an excellent proposition - clear testament to how far ahead of its time it was when it first appeared. But there's nevertheless no denying that a few wrinkles are finally starting to show.