Faroudja and In Focus Form Alliance

The inherent portability and relatively simple setup and calibration of LCD projectors have allowed them to carve out a place in the home-theater market in the last several years. But state-of-the-art picture quality has never been an LCD strong suit, with critics citing lack of contrast and noticeable pixelization as the primary weaknesses.

In an effort to address some of these issues, Faroudja and In Focus last week announced a technology partnership, as well as a joint marketing and distribution agreement, to bring what they describe as "the first LCD-based projector with home-theater-quality video" to market. The new projector, the LS700, will combine Faroudja line-doubling and video-processing technology with an In Focus LCD data/video projector. It's intended for use with a variety of sources, including VCRs, DVD players, video game stations, and computers. The projector will weigh 12 pounds and is slated to retail for $12,995 from Faroudja dealers.

"Until now, home-theater LCD-based projectors didn't provide the rich video quality needed to meet the expectations of home-theater enthusiasts," says John V. Harker of In Focus. "Our relationship with Faroudja allows both companies to apply our development and marketing expertise to bring a new class of home-theater LCD projectors to market." Glenn Marschel, Jr. of Faroudja adds, "Our dealers have asked for an LCD-based video projector for their home-theater clients that can provide the image quality they've come to expect from Faroudja. The inclusion of Faroudja's superior video-processing technology in an In Focus LCD projector is an exciting answer."

According to the companies, the LS700 will project a 16:9 image "with detail reproduction, color clarity, and dramatic impact approaching 35 mm film." Other features include built-in 12% keystone correction, zoom lens, and an image size up to 300" diagonal.

In a press demonstration at Faroudja's offices on December 14, two LS700s were set up side by side; one was a stock In Focus unit, and the other included Faroudja electronics. In a direct A/B comparison, the Faroudja-enhanced model was clearly superior in color rendition and detail. The In Focus representative attributed this to the company's previous emphasis on the business and presentation markets, which do not rely much on moving video images and therefore do not require the level of color accuracy expected in a home theater. The new projector marks the company's first attempt at selling directly to the consumer market.