|InFocus ScreenPlay 7205 DLP Video Projector|
|Home Theater Front Projectors DLP Projectors|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Friday, 01 April 2005|
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One of the first things I noticed after setting up the projector was that it automatically selected the proper input and set up the picture. This was a nice change from my CRT system, where I had to select the proper input on my outboard scaler, as well as the proper preset.
I first watched “Spider-Man” on DVD (ColumbiaTriStar Home Entertainment). I picked this movie because I thought that it would give the 7205’s internal scaler a good workout in dealing with the fast-moving action. While watching Spider-Man swing down a canyon of buildings, I noticed very few of the jagged edges associated with motion artifacts. The 7205 also did a notably good job with colors. Spider-Man’s costume was comprised of vibrant red and blue, and the flesh tones of the actors were accurate and had a good sense of depth and realness. In the darker scenes, such as the warehouse sequence where Spider-Man chases a robber, the inherent weaknesses of the DLP system became noticeable. DLP projectors traditionally have difficulty producing true blacks, which limits their ability to portray details in dark or shadowy scenes. In the shadowy scenes in the warehouse, the 7205 did well. The reality is that some of the real-world advantages of the new digital projection technology come paired with some minuses. The biggest minus is the lack of black level detail or, better put, washed-out dark gray when one would want there to be the darkest of blacks. The 7205 did an exceptional job, at this considering its price and even when compared to my CRT reference. It never got as black as an eight-inch CRT, but it got close enough for disco.
I then played Chapters 27 and 28 of “Shakespeare in Love” (Miramax). These scenes take place in a theater where Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is being performed. The 7205 again did an excellent job with colors, which were extremely rich and vibrant. The actors’ costumes were comprised of vibrant colors with gold embroidery. The 7205 did a good job with detail, allowing the texture of the materials to come through. I looked closely at the embroidery as the actors moved around the stage and there was only the slightest of artifacts. In the scene at the end of the play, a group of soldiers in dark uniforms march into the playhouse. I was able to make out sufficient detail on the dark uniforms to see fabric texture and folds.
I then played “Toy Story” (Walt Disney Home Entertainment) to look at how the 7205 handled the deinterlacing of an animated film. When running the 7205 through the tests on the Silicon Optix test DVD, the projector had some problems with the animated cadence tests. I was pleased not to find any of these problems when watching actual animated material. The colors remained as vivid, if not more, than with the live action material. I noticed some noise however while watching “Toy Story.” Animated features provide a good opportunity to see how a video display does with large fields of uniform colors. I found the 7205 to do a good job portraying a uniform color field with most colors, especially the brighter ones. I did note some noise in the dark green fields of the toy soldiers, but overall, I was extremely impressed by the 7205’s performance, especially in this price range.
I then switched to HDTV via DirecTV. I watched Fox’s hit series “24” and found the picture to be detailed and clean. The 7205’s internal noise reduction circuitry was left set in the “auto” position and removed much of the picture noise. The only time that picture noise was noticeable was in some of the darker scenes, especially those in the dark interior of the Counter Terrorism Unit’s headquarters. The InFocus ScreenPlay 7205 did a good job with the shadows in the dark interior scenes, giving up ground only to DLP projectors that cost several times the price of the 7205.
I also watched the Super Bowl in high definition on Fox via DirecTV. As expected, the image was very crisp and detailed. I noted that the greens, while better than on earlier projectors, still had a bit of the “fluorescent greens” symptom. The grass looked a bit brighter and more fluorescent than any other grass I have seen on other HD football broadcasts. The 7205 otherwise did a good job with colors, with only some very brief signs of splotchiness in the field of grass when the camera was panning the field. This, however, can be caused by poor digital transmission and could very well be the fault of the feed.
I spent some time going through the nifty Silicon Optix test DVD. I ran the InFocus through the battery of tests included on the disc and some of my notes are included in the review above. The 7205’s noise reduction works well, reducing much of the noise in the picture. A high-end outboard video processor with noise reduction will probably reduce more noise, but only at a cost that approaches or even surpasses that of the projector itself.