InFocus IN34 DLP Portable Projector – Overview

As long as I’ve switched to a video source (feeding it from my HD-DVD player via the Computer 2 analog input), I might as well discuss video performance an this time.

While the IN34 is hardly a home theater projector, it actually does a very good job with video sources. Phantom of the Opera looked pretty darn good, with very good flesh tone handling and a color temperature very close to the ideal for DVDs (6500K is the standard, the IN34 was about as close as most home theater projectors – measuring 6382K in Film mode, and 6351 in Video mode.

As a result watching a few minutes of various video DVDs was most pleasant, this is certainly a projector you can bring home for the weekend and watch movies on your favorite white wall. But, as noted, it is not a home theater projector, and should not be confused with one. First of all, it’s contrast level (rated 1000:1) and corresponding black levels (that allow you to see details in dark areas), are typical of business projectors and a far cry from even today’s entry level home theater models. The image below (also from Phantom, a cavern scene) shows that shadow detail is lost, and you can see that the letterbox frame around the actual movie, is not a particulary dark gray. A good home theater projector will reveal far more detil, especially in the Phantom’s cloak, and the lower right of the image in general.

Still, overall, the InFocus IN34 should do an excellent job on business videos, in the classroom, etc. It’s just not for purist movie watchers. Overall, Image Quality is very good for a DLP portable projector. Still, I remind you that if accurate colors are required, in brightest modes, you are likely to be better off with an LCD projector, or one of the few DLP’s that can do a better job on the reds and yellows. Keep in mind, though, that you can pick a different preset, giving up some lumens, and dramatically improve the color. In the next section, General Performance, we’ll look at some measurements to give you an idea how bright the IN34 projector is, in different preset modes, as well as other aspects of the InFocus IN34, such as menus, remote control, and more.

InFocus IN34 Projector: Menus

InFocus has always been pretty good at laying out their menus. The IN34 is no exception. The primary menu is the Picture menu, shown here:

It contains all the basic image quality controls, including brightness, contrast, Color (saturation), etc. You will also find three submenus; one for aspect ratio, one to choose from the many presets, and the Advanced menu.

I won’t bother you with an image of the Aspect Ratio menu, but, on the other hand, the Presets submenu is an important one.

The InFocus IN34 comes with three specific Presets, and three more User savable ones that you can configure your self.

The Presentation preset is by far, the brightest, and suitable for most presentations. The color does suffer (reds and yellows) a bit, as described in the image quality mode, but the IN34 puts out a nice bright image on the screen that should be more than fine for most Powerpoint type presentations, as well as work group type presentations – spreadsheets, documents, etc., also diagramming and renderings if color accuracy is not demanded.

Advanced

Picture

Presets

Settings

System

The Advanced submenu covers a lot of territory. There are manual controls for locking in computer signals – although few will ever need them, the InFocus IN34′s AutoImage works very well, locking in a clean, noise free signal. There is an overscan control, which comes in handy should you present a video source (such as a TV signal over component video, S-video or composite that has noise around the edges of the image.

There is a Sharpness control, but also advanced color controls, including color space, color temperature, and “Color Control” sub-menus.

I played with these controls and was able to rather easily create a user savable preset that was a compromise between Presentation and Video presets – I was able to end up with substantially better color on reds and yellows, while sacrificing only a portion of the brightness that the Video or Film modes demands. The end result, a still very bright (about 30% less than Presentation) mode, with much better color accuracy (but still not as good as the Video preset).

There are two other main menus: Settings and System. Shown here is the Settings menu. Along with tweaking audio settings and source selection, it allows you to put a custom logo on your startup screen (such as your company logo).

This Settings menu also allows you to define a “custom key” for the remote, to implement a feature you think you will use frequently, at the touch of a button. Important note, the basic remote provided does not support the Custom Key feature, but InFocus offers optional remotes (with more buttons) that do. Some of the things that can be programmed to the Custom Key, include: Auto Image, Audio Mute, Image Blanking, Freeze frame, and Source select…

The System menu handles positioning – setting the projector for front or rear projection, table or ceiling mounting. There is also an Auto Power option to power down the IN34 when there is no signal.

Ok, enough on the menus, there are obiviously more options and choices than I have gone into here, however the reference manual (found on the InFocus website), provides screen shots of all and some good explanations, should you want to read further.

There are many other features not mentioned, among those is PIN control – you can password protect the projector, to keep unauthorized people from using it.

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