I’ve been continually skeptical of Sky HD, at least I was until I actually had it installed and tried it for myself. Far from my impressions of heavily compressed, “muddy”, not-quite HD content. The 720p HD-ready content available via Sky HD looks stunning on my 1080p, 40″ Bravia.
However, despite not being “true” high definition, it also looks stunning on a projector.
Today I got the InFocus X9 in for a Gadgetoid once-over and was impressed immediately by its size and then again by the stunning, bright picture it produced in daylight. This is far beyond what I would expect from something costing little over £500. Sky HD really makes an HD display worth while and, whilst it might not produce as good a picture as a blu-ray disk, neither does regular definition television quite make it up to DVD quality. Of course, the Sky HD picture looks significantly sharper and more “HD” on a smaller screen than it does on an approximately 100″ projected screen, but it’s more than watchable.
I will be looking in-depth at the InFocus X9, hosting a movie night to ensure a broad range of people (some of who may be susceptible to certain display anomalies associated with projection technologies) get to feed back their opinion of the projector. I will also, of course, be taking the opportunity to thoroughly test the quality and variety of Sky HD on a much larger display perfect for evening movie watching.
Connecting the InFocus X9 to my MacBook Pro was about as much a breeze as one can get when having to use an irritating little Mini DisplayPort to DVI adaptor and a DVI-HDMI cable. It worked without any problems whatsoever, though, which is surprising given my previous issues with my old MacBook Pro and HDTV.
Yes, that’s a Pingu DVD! It’s right above a 40″ Bravia and is slightly wonky due to the extremely awkward angle at which it’s sitting in relation to the wall. I’ll find a way to mount the projector behind our sofa before doing any proper testing.
Connecting the Sky HD box was a similar, stupidly simple affair. Just like with a TV, it involves taking an HDMI cable and running it from one device to the other. Fortunately I had a lengthy HDMI cable to hand, which would allow me to run it across the living room to the projector which I’d placed somewhat un-optimally on my computer desk. The InFocus X9 made pretty good work of the poor conditions I gave it, however, it was quick and easy to tilt it up enough to throw an image above my TV by unscrewing the foot on the bottom.
I used the pre-set “Game” to throw a bright but not 100% clear display, even with both curtains open and the summer sun streaming in. It is, of course, leagues better with the curtains drawn, and for something that’s normally used as infrequently as a projector it’s quite reasonable to expect optimal viewing conditions. That said, the picture is great in daylight and would be perfect for breaking out photos for ad-hoc family events.