Infocus Play Big IN78

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Infocus Play Big IN78
  • Infocus Play Big IN78
  • Infocus Play Big IN78
  • Infocus Play Big IN78

Pros

  • Excellent performance in standard and high definition modes, Attractive design

Cons

  • Too Expensive, Not much of an improvement over the previous model

Bottom Line

The IN78 is an excellent home theatre projector, but it's not much of an improvement over the previous model. Its price tag is also rather high, considering how little has been done to improve the product.

Would you buy this?

The Play Big IN78 is the latest DLP home theatre projector from Infocus. With a native resolution of 1280x720, it's ideal for high definition gaming or watching movies. The design is identical to previous Play Big models and the specifications are basically the same as the Infocus Play Big IN76. In fact, apart from a slight increase in the contrast ratio, this is essentially the same unit as the IN76, and even mimics its performance. Thankfully, the IN76 is an excellent projector, but those looking to upgrade from the IN76 need not bother.

We tested gaming and video playback in both standard and high definition modes. In the high definition tests, the created images were stunning, with highly accurate colour, deep blacks and an almost non-existent level of rainbow effect. The contrast was a little lacking at times, and there wasn't much room for tweaking. Adding contrast to the image often resulted in whites and colours looking blown out. However, the contrast issue is very minor and will only come into play if you sit too close to the screen or if you are unable to turn off any ambient lighting. In the dark, this isn't a problem.

We connected our Xbox 360 to the projector at a resolution of 720p and performed gaming tests using levels from Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 and Tony Hawk's Project 8. We found no pixelation or over-sharpening and colours were excellent, with superb black levels. Like the IN76, this unit excels when displaying high definition content. While it has a 720p native resolution, it can also scale the image down from 1080i. To test how well it can scale, we changed the resolution of the Xbox 360 to 1080i and performed a HD DVD test. While viewing the Empire State Building finale from King Kong, we were, once again, highly impressed with the result. There was also very little rainbow effect.

The IN78 uses a 6-segment, 4-speed colour wheel as part of its DLP array, and it's implemented beautifully. The downfall of many DLP projectors always tends to be the colour wheel, but Infocus has done a brilliant job with this model.

While its high definition performance was outstanding, we were curious as to how the unit would hold up when viewing standard definition, too. We performed DVD tests to check its standard definition performance and were not disappointed. Viewing the lobby scene from The Matrix, we found no real issues to speak of. There were no interpolation artefacts, nor discolouration, and the motion was handled beautifully. Obviously, it didn't look as good as the HD DVD tests, but that's only matter of resolution and not a matter of the unit's scaling capability.

The Infocus Play Big IN78 comes in a piano-black finish with an equally attractive remote control. The heat vents are situated on either side of the unit in order to dissipate heat more efficiently. They also add to the attractiveness of the unit. The ports are located on the back of the unit and consist of HDMI, component, S-Video, composite, and a DVI/M1-DA connection. Considering this unit is designed specifically for home theatre setups with viewing DVD video in mind, these connections should be sufficient for most people. The top of the unit employs a minimalist approach. There are only a handful of function buttons and also a focus/zoom ring for the lens. Measuring 360(W)x360(D)x120(H)mm, this is a reasonably large DLP projector.

The throw distance of the IN78 is quite good and should be suitable for most homes. The unit can be ceiling-mounted or rested on a coffee table, but the latter is more suitable. Its keystone correction is fairly good, although there is a certain level at 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.

If you're in the market for an excellent projector that will suit all your film and gaming needs, the Infocus Play Big IN78 is a good choice. However, the price is very expensive for a DLP projector. Not only that, but it's $1500 more expensive than the current price of the IN76. The only difference between these two models is the DLP chip used, which translates to differences in contrast ratio.

The IN76 uses the DarkChip 2, which has a contrast ratio of 3000:1 whereas the IN78 uses the DarkChip 3, which has a ratio of 3500:1. From our previous experience with the IN76, contrast was never a problem, especially not something that required such a significant price rise to improve. That said, Infocus home theatre projectors have always been more about style than value for money. There are other projectors on the market that are far cheaper than the Play Big range, many of which can project an image just as nice.

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