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Infocus Play Big IN74

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      04.01.2008 17:14
      Very helpful


      • Reliability


      Great for movie afficionadoes, not so good for soap kings and queens.

      First of all, is a projector for you? Well, are you:

      * Someone who LOVES movies and the cinema experience, and who watches movies on DVD avidly
      * Someone with a reasonably sizeable room in their home
      * Someone who watches movies mainly at night, or in a room where most excess light can be excluded
      *Someone who doesn't have the TV on constantly
      * Someone who would love to have the big TV experience, but doesn't have £16,000 to spend on a high end TV?

      Then this product could be for you!

      It's not quite as good picturewise as its big brother, in IN76, but at between £400 and £500, it blows TVs costing comparable sums out of the water. You can get a massive, cinema-like picture, with great colour rendition and decent blacks in your living room. Team it up with a pair of decent speakers, and you might well stop going to the cinema altogether!

      Much of the cost of the more expensive IN76 comes from the fact that it is HD ready... so go for the more expensive model if you already have HD TV or an HD DVD player. However, if you've sensibly opted to stay on the sidelines until the Sony vs BluRay battle is won, then this might be the machine for you.

      One of the main disadvantages of the projector for some will be the conditions it needs. You do need a darkened room - it simply doesn't work that well in any kind of light, and the picture is almost invisible in sunlight. This is technology for the movie diehard, who puts on a DVD and watches it with wideeyed excitement, not for the family who need ambient light around them as they watch and eat, chat, knit or do the crossword at the same time.

      To get the best out of these machines, you'll also need a reasonable sized room. If you have a tiny cupboard upstairs, forget it. You need a throw distance of 10 feet minimum to get the best out of one of these - the greater the distance, the bigger the picture you'll get.

      Another disadvantage of projects as a whole is the bulb life. Bear in mind that you'll need to replace the bulb after a while. And this is quite a hefty expense - we're talking £100-150. This means that, while the projector will work with ordinary TV as well as DVDs, frankly, if you spend your evenings glued to broadcast telly watching for eight hours at a time, you'll be better off with an ordinary TV set, because you'll run the bulb down pretty quickly on one of these. Plus I'm not sure that most English TV shows would necessarily be enhanced on the big screen (though it'd be great for sports!) However, if you spend your evening watching two hours of cinema and doing other stuff, you may well find that even if you have to replace the bulb a couple of times, a projector still works out considerably cheaper than large plasma or LCD alternatives.

      Design-wise, I love the look of this piece of kit. Sleek, black and shiny, it sits on a glass table in my front room, looking chic but discreet. (There's nothing worse than a room dominated by a gigantic, ugly telly). I have a pull down screen which furls up when not in use to go with it - again, very unobtrusive and inexpensive at £100 (you can project onto a bare wall, but you will get better results with a special screen).

      If you love cinema, you won't look back from this. I can't imagine living without one, now. I used to go to the movies twice a week, but since I got this, I can have the same experience at home - without getting popcorn thrown at me by annoying, noisy kids!


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