InFocus IN76 review: InFocus IN76

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 colour temperatures are 6,500K, 7,500K, 9,300K and Native. Colour control in the advanced menu gives you six options for greyscale calibration. Another control lets you choose to let the projector automatically select a colour space -- the spec the projector uses as a basis to reproduce colour -- 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-theatre 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.

The InFocus IN76 is a credible performer compared to its entry-level 1,280x720-resolution DLP front-projection competition. The all-glass lens is better than we expected. It has some chromatic aberrations that result in minor fringing around white lines, and it's a tad soft, but when you consider the price point, these minor issues are excusable. Chromatic aberrations are a reality in all projector lenses, and the softness was not severe enough to make it a major problem.

We would have preferred more accurate colour, however, especially in the primaries. Colour decoding was quite good, which also gives the IN76 excellent colour saturation when set up properly. Greyscale in the 6,500K setting, unfortunately, was extremely minus blue, which tinged darker areas a bit too reddish. Calibration fixed this problem and improved colour accuracy, especially the look of skin tones.

Black-level performance was on a par with that of other DLP projectors we've tested that use the Dark Chip 2 DMD chip. The IN76's depth of black was certainly convincing but not quite as strong as more-expensive projectors with the Dark Chip 3 chip. Video processing was clean, with solid 2:3 pull-down detection and no visible false-contouring artefacts.

During the opening scenes of the Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back DVD, space and other dark material were rendered convincingly with few visible artefacts, and we saw plenty of details in the shadows. During chapter 10, however, we noticed some softness in the face of Han Solo when he tells the base commander he has to leave. Faces were a little pastel or claylike in appearance, which is a sign of lack of detail. Conversely, at the beginning of chapter three of the excellent DVD The Thin Red Line, with the navy ship cutting through the water, detail was adequate.

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