HOME > InFocus Screenplay 7200 and Toshiba TDP-MT8U Review
InFocus Screenplay 7200 / Toshiba TDP-MT8U
February 28, 2003,
Brightness: The projector has two light output settings, standard and high. Standard is the factory default. At this setting, after calibration to the setting we preferred, we measured 643 ANSI lumens on the 7200 and 709 ANSI lumens on the MT8. The high lamp setting boosted lumen output on both units by about 20%. There is very little difference in fan noise between these two settings; fan noise is low in both modes.
Brightness uniformity: With a white screen displayed, brightness is visibly uneven across the screen. On the 7200 it was brightest in the lower center section of the image, and fell off by about 35% in the lower right and upper left corners. The MT8 was brightest in the center of the image, and brighter overall than the 7200 by about 10%. But illumination fell off by closer to 50% in the upper left corner. We attribute these differences to manufacturing variances. Any given model of either brand may be expected to manifest properties in this general performance range. We would classify our results on the 7200 as average, and on the MT8 as below average in terms of brightness uniformity. However, given that CRTs typically fall off by 50% at the corners, uneven illumination should be kept in that perspective. Once you take down the 100 IRE white image and start running real video, the effect of the uneven illumination is for the most part rather subtle.
Contrast: The contrast rating of 1400:1 accurately depicts the relative contrast performance of this product as compared to competing units with specs in the 1000:1 to 2000:1 range. By this we mean that the contrast is generally a bit better than you'd get from units rated 1000:1, and a bit less than you'd get from units rated at 2000:1.
However, in this contrast range, relative differences in contrast are not the constitutional issues that they were when we were dealing with projectors with contrast ratings in the 400:1 range. Those products had blacks that looked gray, and shadow areas that were muddy and ill-defined. Dark scenes looked like you were viewing them through a fogged window. Videophiles were right to preach a mantra that when it comes to selecting a projector, contrast is all important, and the higher the better.
The good news is that we have moved on. We are in a new era of much higher contrast projectors that deliver solid blacks and much better shadow detail. Unfortunately there remains a legion of consumers who have been taught to concentrate on high contrast specs without due consideration of other vital factors such as scaling, color decoding, color temperature and so on. It is rather like buying a car with the highest horsepower rating without regard to the many other performance factors that affect the driving experience.
Since consumers have been conditioned to be hypersensitive to contrast specs, manufacturers tend to quote theoretical maximum contrast ratios that could never be achieved in a typical home theater environment. It is important to recognize that subtle changes in black level have enormous impact on statistical contrast ratios. In a typical home theater or multimedia room, light from the projected image on the screen will be reflected off walls, ceiling, carpet, furnishings, etc., and back onto the screen. This reflected light has no impact on highlights, but it affects black levels and thus compresses the overall contrast range of the system. And the blacker the blacks, the more they will be compromised statistically.
Therefore we would caution buyers against the prevailing tendency to place undue weight on the contrast spec. Unless you have a solid black home theater room that absorbs reflected light, the actual difference in real life contrast between a projector rated at 1400:1 and one rated at 2500:1 will not be as dramatic as the numbers would lead you to believe.
When it comes to the Screenplay 7200 and the Toshiba MT8, we find that these products produce more than ample contrast to create an entirely satisfying video image with loads of sparkle and snap. They are emotionally engaging and a pure delight to watch. Though they have lower theoretical contrast ratings than other machines using the Mustang/HD2 chip, they have higher lumen output in optimized video mode, and in live operation the overall result is a very exciting image.