InFocus ScreenPlay 110 One-Chip DLP Projector
In the past few years, DLP technology has come a long way in terms of both picture quality and affordability. Not long ago, an entry-level one-chip 800-by-600 projector cost about $10,000. With the advent of the higher-resolution (1,024 by 768 and now 1,280 by 720) one-chip projectors, the front-projection world has become accessible to many more people. As the technology is rapidly becoming one of the hottest of the new fixed-pixel-display alternatives for both rear- and front-projection applications, new companies are constantly joining the DLP fold. InFocus—a company that, until now, concentrated solely on the professional business market—has entered the home market. The company's first offering is the ScreenPlay 110, a dual-mode one-chip DLP front projector with a resolution of 800 by 600 in the 4:3 mode and 853 by 480 in the enhanced-widescreen or anamorphic mode.
Finished in a combination of silver and gray, the ScreenPlay 110 has a sleek, minimalist design. With a relatively small footprint of 10.4 by 11.1 by 3.3 inches (L/W/D) and a weight of only 6.7 pounds, this projector packs big-screen capability into a very small package. Tucking it away on the ceiling and forgetting about it should be easy enough to do. However, the remote control is too small and has tiny buttons that make it a bit awkward to use. The remote's lack of backlighting makes tweaking the picture in a darkened home theater a hassle that's only possible with the aid of a flashlight. The projector's graphic user interface is a little clunky and not the most intuitive one I've ever encountered. To make a change and then exit the menu, you must hit the select button on the upper right of the remote, make your changes, and then hit select again.
The ScreenPlay 110's connectivity options are fairly comprehensive. Without the Enhanced Connectivity Module, the projector only offers an I-MI connection for a computer (as well as a DVI connection), one S-video input, one composite video input, and a mini-jack audio input. When you add the module, you get one set of broadband component video inputs (Y/Pb/Pr) that will do 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i, a standard HD-15 VGA input, a 15-pin monitor output to send the signal to a PC or laptop, and an RS-232 port for use with a Crestron, AMX, or similar automation system. There's also a set of line-level stereo audio inputs, as well as a shared mini-jack stereo audio input for the two computer inputs. I was a little disappointed to find that the ScreenPlay 110 doesn't have two sets of broadband component video inputs. If you want to have component DVD and HDTV coming into the projector and you don't have an HDTV set-top box or a DVD player with a DVI output, you'll have to use a separate component video switcher.
The ScreenPlay 110's internal scaler uses Faroudja's 3:2-pulldown and proprietary DCDi technologies. The latter smoothes out the jagged edges that you frequently see with video-based material. Utilizing a 220-watt SHP lamp, the projector is rated at an impressive 1,000 ANSI lumens of light output and is said to have a contrast ratio of 600:1. Furthermore, a 20-degree digital-keystone-correction feature helps correct the geometry if you don't place the projector in exactly the right position in relation to the screen.
Unlike many 4:3-based-chip DLP projectors, the ScreenPlay 110 works with either a 4:3 or a 16:9 screen. You simply have to choose an aspect ratio in the menu. I used it with a 72-inch-wide 16:9 Stewart Studiotek 130 screen; however, due to my theater's small size, I was only able to project a 61.25-inch-wide by 34-inch-high 16:9 picture. The internal scaler will scale the image to create the aspect ratio you desire, whether it's 4:3, letterbox for nonanamorphic sources, or 16:9 for HDTV and anamorphically transferred DVDs. It can therefore create a 4:3 picture within a 16:9 screen in the same way a CRT-based projection system would. To change the aspect ratio, look for "image" in the menu system and then select "resize." With the remote's right or left arrow key, you can scroll through the aspect-ratio choices and change them as desired.
Straight out of the box, the ScreenPlay 110's performance was impressive. With a Philips color analyzer, I measured the color temperature to be about 6,200 Kelvin at 30 IRE and 6,300 K at 80 IRE; both were plus-green. There are red, green, and blue global gain controls to tweak the color temperature, and I easily got rid of the plus-green temperature by manipulating these controls. The ScreenPlay 110's different gamma settings are labeled "degamma" and can be found in the menu under "color management." I used the film-gamma setting, but there's also a PC-gamma setting and a video-gamma setting. The ScreenPlay 110 has individual input memories that allow you to set the picture levels differently for each input, which is important. In my case, in order to match the light output between S-video for DVD and component video for HDTV, I had to lower the contrast level significantly for the HDTV input. The color and tint levels also ended up being significantly different from one input to the next.