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InFocus Screenplay 4800 vs. the X1

Evan Powell, May 27, 2003
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Last week InFocus announced that estimated street prices on their hot-selling X1 projector were being dropped to $999-down from $1,599 just six months ago. Almost simultaneously InFocus released the Screenplay 4800, a new model with identical specifications, at an estimated street of $1,499.

This has produced an avalanche of email from confused consumers...is the X1 being discontinued? Is this a fire sale? Is there something wrong with the X1 that was fixed in the 4800? Is the 4800 an improved version of the X1? Is it worth the extra $500? What is the difference between them?

Well. The short answers are these...the X1 is not being discontinued and it is not a fire sale. The price reduction is in response to general competitive movements in the industry, including most notably the recent release of the Epson PowerLite S1 (1200 ANSU lumens, SVGA, 7 lbs) at a retail of $999. The X1 is a popular unit, and there is nothing at all wrong with it. It is still on our Highly Recommended list for home theater projectors, as at $999 it is more of a value than ever before (see original X1 review.)

So what is the Screenplay 4800?

Quite simply the 4800 is the X1 repackaged for home theater distribution. Physically they are the same projector. However, there are differences in software settings. When you power up the X1, the factory default setting out of the box is for 4:3 mode of operation. When you power up the 4800 out of the box it defaults to 16:9. However, on either model you can easily change the factory default to whatever aspect ratio you want via a menu selection.

Gamma tables have been adjusted to optimize video on the Screenplay 4800. A new remote with home theater-friendly features is included also. As far as functional performance goes, the X1 will do everything the Screenplay 4800 will do. But the 4800 is, according to InFocus product management, preprogrammed for optimal video performance, while X1 owners may want to do some calibration to get it tuned to its best for video.

Both the X1 and the Screenplay 4800 come with a VGA 15-pin computer cable, by which you can feed HDTV and component 480p into the VGA port. However, in addition the Screenplay 4800 comes standard with an S-video cable. It also comes with an RCA to VGA cable adapter. This is handy if you want to use an RCA component video cable you already have to connect an RCA output to the VGA port. However you can accomplish the same thing with the X1 by ordering the adapter as an optional accessory, or buying an RCA to VGA cable and thus eliminating the problem.

The X1/4800 is designed with a special seven-pin S-video connector that lets you input a component interlaced (480i) signal into the S-video port. InFocus provides an adapter that interfaces an RCA component cable to this special port. This adapter used to be shipped standard with the X1, but is no longer. It is now standard only with the Screenplay 4800. However, if you buy the X1 and you want this adapter, you can buy it for $20 on the Infocus website. So the fact that this adapter no longer ships with the X1 is not a good reason to spend $500 more for the Screenplay 4800.

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Buy the Epson PowerLite S1 online here:

 

Buy the InFocus SP 4800 online here:

 

Buy the InFocus X1 online here: