InFocus, a leader in the professional video arena, has been in the projector business for a long time. The company entered the home-theater market, as so many industrial projector manufacturers have recently, about three years ago. The introduction of this projector, the ScreenPlay 7205, took place in January 2004, and now that InFocus has introduced a step-up version (the ScreenPlay 7210), the MSRP of the 7205 has been cut to $4,999. InFocus will continue selling the 7205 alongside the 7210; the two projectors are identical except that the 7210 features a higher-contrast DLP chip (the DC3) and a better color wheel. Meanwhile, like the less-expensive , the 7205 employs Texas Instruments' HD2+ chip. However, a couple of key performance pluses set it apart from the Sharp and lesser DLP projectors, and when combined with the new list price, the 7205 is the best value in the midpriced home-theater projector category.
Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more. The design of the 7205 is subtly smooth, although we found its look a little generic. The whole package is a rather small 14 inches by 4.3 inches by 13 inches (WHD), with the lens assembly mounted all the way on the left side of the chassis. It's finished in a neutral gray color and weighs next to nothing (9.5 pounds).
InFocus's remote control is quite small, unfortunately not backlit in any way, and somewhat awkward to use. However, we did appreciate the direct access keys for input switching and aspect-ratio control. The internal menu system, while straightforward enough, is a bit of a pain to navigate. For example, when you are in the Advanced menu, you can't back out to the first menu page; there is no Return or Back button--when you hit the Menu button, you're thrown all the way out of the menu.As we mentioned at the outset, this projector uses Texas Instruments' HD2+ chip, which has a native resolution of 1,280x720--enough to display every pixel of HDTV sources. All other sources, including 1080i high-def, computer sources, and standard-def soures such as DVD and VHS, are scaled to fit the chip.
The 7205 has a fairly comprehensive feature package as far as front projectors go. Of course, convenience features--such as PIP or even a TV tuner--are few and far between, but there are a number of cool picture-enhancing features worth mentioning. Zoom and focus controls are manual at the lens assembly. There's 2:3 pull-down in the video processing if it is selected in the Advanced menu under Film Mode. There are a number of gamma presets, with Film being the best for home-theater use. The three selectable color temperature settings are 6,500K, 7,500K, and 9,300K, with 6,500K being the closest to the broadcast standard.
Also on board is a keystone correction feature that we highly recommend you do not use; it reduces resolution and introduces artifacts in the picture. You are much better off making sure that you (or your installer) get the projector in the right place relative to the screen so that you don't have to use it.
Connectivity is fairly comprehensive on this projector, with one weird exception. The digital video connection is labeled M1-DA, and it looks like a standard DVI connector, except it's larger. Standard DVI cables won't fit; you'll need to get an M1-to-DVI or M1-to-HDMI cable or adapter ($45 and up at InFocus's online store) to use this connection with your digital video gear.