|InFocus is one of the
worlds largest makers of DLP projectors. When they decided to get into the
home-theater business, they began with a winning product, the 7200. For $6999 (the price has just been lowered by
$1000), you got a 1280x720 DLP projector with a bright picture, good blacks, and stellar
factory setup. At the time, the best projectors available below that price, such as the
PLUS Piano and Avanti, used an 848x600 chip. That had only about half the pixels of the
7200, so the difference on the screen was pretty dramatic. When Texas Instruments released
their 1024x576 Matterhorn chipset, InFocus was one of the first to offer it to the public,
in the form of the ScreenPlay 5700 ($3999).
Description Model: ScreenPlay 5700
Price: $3999 USD
Dimensions: 13.8"W x 4.3"H x 12.8"L
Weight: 9.5 pounds
Warranty: Two years parts and labor, one
year on accessories, 90 days or 500 hours on lamp
- Texas Instruments Matterhorn LVDS DMD
- 1024x576 resolution (16:9)
- 1.89:1 to 2.63:1 throw ratio
- 1000 ANSI lumens brightness
- 1400:1 contrast ratio
- 16.7 million colors
- Faroudja DCDi video processing
- Six-segment, 5x color wheel
- Three component-video inputs (two RCA, one D5)
- Two S-video inputs
- One composite input
- One DVI input
- RS-232 input
- Three 3.5mm mini-jack outputs
As you can tell by the numbers, the Matterhorn is designed
for 16:9 playback, but theres more to the story. The Matterhorn chipset has been
enhanced for additional contrast, and when you throw in the 5700s extra-bright bulb,
you end up with a reported contrast ratio of 1400:1, with 1000 ANSI lumens of brightness.
InFocus hasnt scrimped on the guts, either. You get Faroudja DCDi, a six-segment, 5x
color wheel, and enough connectivity to keep anyone happy. Digiphiles will be happy to see
DVI/HDCP for digital video and encrypted digital video. Finally, InFocus puts each
projector through a detailed calibration before it hits the shipping dock, including
setting the color temperature to an accurate 6500K. The 5700 is a lot of product for the
Set it up!
The ScreenPlay 5700 has a longer throw
distance than the norm. For instance, a 100"-diagonal screen will need to be
13.5 to 18.7 from the projector for a full picture. I couldnt quite fill
the screen in my room, which is unusual. Besides having a long throw, the 5700 must also
be placed below the screen (or above, when mounted on the ceiling), at an offset of 133%.
That means that, for a 10-high screen, youd place the center of the lens
3.3 below the screen.
Everything else is pretty easy. Theres one small
adjustable foot at the front of the projector to set the angle, and another at the back
for leveling. The manual zoom and focus are very easy to use. My favorite way to square up
a picture is to use the intro screen from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
Besides being a perfect 16:9 image, its bright and easy to use. The whole process
took me about ten minutes.
As with the previously reviewed 7200, the 5700s
calibration out of the box was close to perfect. I used Digital Video Essentials to
check InFocuss settings, and all were very close to ideal. What a luxury to have a
video product thats been set correctly straight out of the box. Another nice touch:
The manual was originally written in English, not translated, and its easy to read
and use. I especially loved the troubleshooting section, which uses drawings to present
problems and solutions, bypassing potentially confusing technobabble. Nice job.
The remote control is a lovely piece of ergonomics. It fits
easily in the hand and is backlit, though you wont need to look at it after about a
week of use. Given the poor state of cable and satellite broadcasts, I was also happy to
find direct access to the Contrast and Brightness settings on the remote.
The 5700s menu system is simple and quick. Two pushes
of the Menu button on the remote and all of the normal picture settings pop up. From
there, you can go as deep as you want -- and the 5700 lets you adjust or select more items
than any other projector Ive seen. Once youve set it up to your preferences,
you can store your settings in one of three memory presets. In short, the 5700s
picture was beautiful as delivered from the factory; from there, the user can make it as
simple or as complex as desired.
So how did it look?
Just prior to receiving the ScreenPlay 5700, Id been
using InFocuss 7200 and the Boxlight Cinema 20HD.
Both projectors have at least 30% more pixels than the 5700s Matterhorn chipset, so
I was expecting to see some artifacts -- some stair-stepping on straight lines, or visible
pixels. The picture on my screen was 120" diagonal, and I was seated 14 away.
Usually, the first test I throw at a new projector is
chapter 10 of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. The colors are Day-Glo bright,
with a lot of straight lines at odd intersections to trip up a projector. The 5700 had
impressive brightness and contrast, and handled all the intricacies of the DVD. Citizen Kane is another
good test of a DLP projector. The films murky gray-to-black transitions play havoc
with DLPs Achilles heel: the portrayal of convincing blacks. There were a few
times the blacks crushed together, but these were subtle and seldom enough that I
dont consider them a serious issue. Citizen Kane is also a great test for
generating the "rainbow effect." I saw a few, but they were never distracting,
especially when one considers all the other things the 5700 did so well.
Sports fans should love the 5700. During the NBA playoffs
(a ritual in our house), the ScreenPlay held a bright, detailed picture that was immune to
movement effects. The picture was so precise that it exposed the abysmal quality of camera
the networks use for the long shots, as well as the digital noise on the graphic overlays.
But when the director switched to the floor cameras, the picture was crystal-clear and
Because the 5700 isnt full-on high-definition, I
decided to compare a 480i DVD and 1080i D-VHS signals, both from GalaxyQuest. A
close-up of Tim Allens face is a great test. Typically, on the DVD, his face looks
Hollywood-smooth. The D-VHS shows more of the depredations of time. The 5700 clearly
showed the difference, although not to quite the extent that a 720p projector would. Ditto
for the fine hairs on the crews uniforms. The D-VHS had a good deal more detail than
the DVD, yet not quite the microscopic detail seen with a hi-def projector. But overall,
the 5700 did a perfectly credible job of displaying HD images, missing only the last bit
of resolution. Given InFocuss design objectives and its price, the 5700 does exactly
what it should -- gives you the ability to enjoy everything now and still be able to hang
in there when or if everything goes hi-def.
How does it compare?
Ive tried a number of projectors over the last two
years, and Ive found only one that I liked better than the 5700 -- its big brother,
the ScreenPlay 7200. For the $3000 difference in price, the 7200 does give that last bit
of detail. I didnt have both projectors at the same time, but I believe the 5700
actually had more vivid contrast because of its better blacks. Any day now, InFocus will
be shipping their 7205, with TIs HD2+ chip. I had a chance to see it at the 2004
Consumer Electronics Show, but in conditions of minimal light control. My guess is it will
have similar or better blacks, but the price will be $8999.
The Boxlight Cinema 20HD ($4999) has the most elegant and
easy setup of any projector Ive tried, and its even brighter than the 5700.
But its blacks arent as convincing, and I never was able to get past the screen-door
effect with the size of screen I have.
The best projectors that use TIs Dual Mode DLP are
made by PLUS, but theyve decided to get out of the home-entertainment arena. If
youre on a forced budget and have a dark room, the PLUS
Avantis new low price of $1999 is good; its older sibling, the PLUS Piano, is now down to a true bargain price of $999. These
are closeout refurbs, and theyre not at all competitive with the 5700, but
theyre cheap, and still good for folks who watch mostly DVDs.
I wish I could buy it
The InFocus 5700 has a long list of strengths: excellent
picture out of the box, easy setup, some of the best blacks youll see from a DLP,
plenty of brightness, seamless processing, and simple yet remarkably comprehensive
adjustability. If its throw distance was a little shorter, Id end this review by
saying Id bought the sample. Its that good. Highly recommended. Ill hate
sending it back.
|Speakers - ATC SMC 50A
(mains), Sonance Symphony (surrounds), KEF Model 100 (center), Sunfire True Subwoofer
- Lexicon MC-1, Fosgate Audionics FAP T1
|Amplifier - B&K Video 5
- Pioneer DV-434, Panasonic DVD CP-72, Sony DVP-NC685V DVD players; Panasonic DMR E60S DVD
recorder; JVC HM-DH40000U D-VHS recorder; Philips DSR6000 DirecTV/TiVo
|Cables - Canare, Straight
- Runco Cinema 750