Highly Recommended Award
Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.
At a retail price of just $1499, the Screenplay 4805 is Infocus' current offering in the economy range of home theater and home entertainment projectors. Though it has a few incidental flaws, it delivers a beautiful, very high contrast image for the money. It represents an excellent value in today's market, and it is another strong model in Infocus' formidable line up of high performance video projectors.
The 4805 features a 16:9 format DLP chip in 854x480 resolution, and a six-segment, 4x speed color wheel. As is typical with many home theater projectors these days, the lumen output is relatively low, rated at a maximum of 750 ANSI lumens. However, contrast is a very high 2200:1. Therefore, for best results the unit should be used in a darkened viewing space with little or no ambient light.
Lens and throw distance. Manual zoom and focus with a 1.2x zoom range. A 100" diagonal 16:9 image is obtained in the range of about 13 to 15.5 feet (based upon our measurements, as of this writing the throw distance calculations for this model on the Infocus website are off by about a foot at 100" diagonal).
Lamp. Dual mode 160W/200W SHP with up to 4000-hour lamp life in low power mode.
Compatibility. DVI (HDCP), component and RGB HDTV 1080i, 720p, 576p, 576i, 480p, 480i, and computer resolutions up to XGA (1024x768). NTSC, PAL, SECAM.
Connection panel. Located on the rear of the unit. Inputs include one set of 3 RCAs for HDTV and component progressive and interlaced signals; one M1 port that takes DVI (HDCP), HDMI (with adapter), RGB and component HDTV; one S-video port; one composite video jack. In addition there is one set of stereo RCA audio inputs and a 12v trigger for screen drop.
Brightness uniformity. Very good, with illumination perfectly even across the left two-thirds of the screen and fading no more than 15% toward the right edge.
Warranty. Two years.
Contrast. The single most remarkable performance factor on the 4805 is its contrast, black level and shadow detail which is more than ample to produce that enthusiastic "WOW!" response that everyone wants from their friends when showing off their new home theater. This unit is rated at 2200:1. However the 4805 is noticeably higher in actual contrast than other projectors rated in the 2000:1 range. We continue to be amazed at how super high quality video that was available only in products of $10,000 or more at the turn of the century is now within easy reach of the average consumer. The image is beautiful at any price, but at under $1500 it is an outstanding value.
Color balance. Color is represented in the marketing literature as being precalibrated to D65. While the color was fairly good and certainly watchable coming out of the box, we found that some simple adjustments were needed to get the beautiful color balance that the projector is capable of. We've been requested to provide calibration data in this review. We don't normally do this since calibrations vary by unit, by screen, by sources, etc. So our calibrations may or may not be helpful with your unit in your environment.
With that as a caveat, we can say that out of the box at factory defaults our review sample had a subtle greenish bias. So we made some minor adjustments in gain and offset that produced a more balanced and satisfying color image. The factory defaults on RGB gain and offset are all 50. The changes we made to color balance were as follows: red gain, 54; green gain, 48; blue gain, 53; red offset, 52, green offset, 48; blue offset, 50.
Brightness. As is typical with many home theater projectors, lumen output has been curtailed in exchange for higher contrast performance. There are two lamp power modes, low and high. In low mode the real lumen output for video content was about 350 lumens, and in high lamp mode it was 450 lumens. In either case the progressive scan input on component video produced about 10% more lumens on the screen than did the interlaced component input. This is plenty of light to produce a dazzling picture in a dark room, especially with its very high contrast. But image quality will degrade if image size is pushed too big, or very much ambient light is introduced into the equation.
Fan noise. Fan noise is more of an issue on this model than on some competing units. In low power mode the fan noise can be describes as low and not much of a problem, though not as quiet as others we've seen lately. In high lamp mode the fan noise is definitely a factor to be concerned about. We would not operate this unit in high lamp mode for serious home theater viewing. On the other hand, if the kids are using the 4805 for video games, or you are using it as a photographic slide projector to show friends the pics of your recent trek to Machu Picchu, the higher fan noise is irrelevant.
One related peculiarity on this unit is that a fan continues to run once the unit is powered off. It is much quieter than the fan noise in operation. But in a room where you might otherwise prefer silence, like a bedroom or reading room, it can be heard. The purpose of the secondary fan is to keep the power supply cool in standby mode. The only way to shut off is to cut off AC power to the unit. Thus if you are ceiling mounting this projector and you anticipate the need to turn it off completely, make sure to install it with an easy option to cut the power without having to climb a ladder.
Keystone adjustments. [Updated 9/5] In the initial posting of this review we indicated that keystone was not working in ceiling mount mode. Several users wrote in to say they thought this was an error. So we went back and rechecked it. Upon further examination we find that keystone adjustments do work in ceiling mount mode after all, but the controls are very slow and not nearly as responsive as they are in table mount mode. Nevertheless, you can use keystone adjust it to accommodate a tilted projection angle if you need to.
Pixelation. This is an SVGA class projector. That means pixelation is a bit more noticeable at any given viewing distance than it would be with XGA class machines. On this unit, visible pixelation in text and subtitles disappears at a viewing distance of about 2.0 times the screen width. In part for this reason we would recommend a placement of your seating in the range of 2.0 to 2.5 times the screen width.
Ideal image size. Even though projectors such as the SP4805 can throw quite large images, the combination of lower lumen output and low resolution mean that the best image quality is achieved with a smaller image size. We would encourage users to think in terms of a 90" diagonal 16:9 screen size for optimum results. Though this is not as large as many projectors can handle at peak efficiency, the beautiful contrast, shadow detail, and color saturation you get with a 90" screen is amazing. It looks essentially like a 90" plasma TV. Of course they don't make plasmas that big, but if they did they would be many tens of thousands of dollars. Yet the SP4805 delivers essentially the same image quality for a mere $1500. Can you go larger than 90"? Of course you can. But we are thoroughly impressed with the sparkling and beautifully integrated image we get from this unit at 90".
Lamp life. One final point worthy of note is the long lamp life, up to 4000 hours in low power mode. No matter what projector you buy, replacement lamps are not cheap (usually $300 to $400). Most projectors need a new lamp every 2000 hours. So a 4000-hour lamp is a significant advantage to consider in your long-term cost of ownership.
InFocus has produced another superb video projector. At this rate the company runs the risk of becoming a truly dominant force in the home theater projector market. The 4805 is a strong offering at an aggressive price, and we highly recommend it as an entry level projector. If you are thinking of buying a new 60" HDTV television, save some money and get a bigger picture with the 4805 instead. Note that manufacturers typically do not include all cables and adapters that everyone might need to hook up projectors to their sources. So talk through your intended set up with a knowledgeable A/V dealer and make sure to order the appropriate accessories. That will save you time and aggravation.
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our InFocus SP 4805 projector page.