InFocus broke into the home-theater market several years ago with the introduction of its first DLP projector, the 7200, after many years as one of the world's leading manufacturer of professional LCD projectors. Many successful DLP designs and price drops later, the company's IN76 ($3,000) brings true HD resolution to the table for a price that's significantly less than in previous years. While still not the least expensive HD-resolution DLP on the market, the solid-performing InFocus IN76 still represents a great value, and its unique styling is icing on the cake.
Our InFocus IN76 review sample had a two-tone finish that was mostly high-gloss black with metallic silver oval-shaped side panels on the left and right. It came seated on a round tabletop stand, but an optional ceiling mount can be purchased. We found the overall look sleeker and more high-tech than that of the company's more expensive DLP projectors, such as the InFocus 7205 and the 7210.
The black and silver remote is well designed and, with the push of a light button on the underbelly of the unit, fully backlit. There are direct-access keys for all sources, as well as aspect ratio (labeled Resize), overscan, and other functions. The GUI (graphical user interface) or internal menu system is identical to that of other InFocus DLP projectors in the line, which is to say it's logical and intuitive in its navigation.
As with many projectors, the InFocus IN76's principal spec is resolution. The projector uses a 1,280x720 native-resolution DLP chip from Texas Instruments, known as the Dark Chip 2 DMD. This particular chip aids in reproducing deeper blacks (see Performance), and like all 1,280x720-resolution chips, it can display every pixel of a 720p HDTV source. All other sources, including HDTV, DVD, and computers, are scaled to fit the native resolution.
The feature package on the IN76 is comprehensive for a projector in this price range. While it lacks typical TV features such as picture-in-picture, as well as lens shift, a convenient extra that aids in placement flexibility, it does offer numerous setup and picture-enhancing features. Selectable color temperatures are 6,500K, 7,500K, 9,300K, and Native. Color control in the advanced menu gives you six options for grayscale calibration. Another control lets you choose to let the projector automatically select a color space--the spec the projector uses as a basis to reproduce color--or to select either the standard-def (Rec609) or high-def (Rec709) spec yourself. You're best off leaving it in auto so that you don't have to go back and forth when switching sources.
There are several gamma choices, including Film, which is the most accurate gamma setting for home-theater applications. Five sharpness settings in the advanced menu give you either a soft picture or one with some edge enhancement. Standard was the best, with little or no edge enhancement, and it still maintained the crispness of the picture without loss of detail. Zoom and focus dials are both available at the lens assembly on the projector.
The IN76's connectivity is solid, highlighted by an HDMI input, a DVI (for a computer or a second digital video source) input, and a component-video input. We would have liked another component-video input, but at this price, you can't have it all, and the second digital input is the important thing. There's also a composite-video input, an S-Video input, and a RS-232 port, which is useful if you have a home automation system. Additionally, there is a SCART port, which is used mostly in Europe.