Okay, guys, here's how it went...
Got it home last night (wow, that sucker is awfully long, and stretched from the dashboard to the tailgate in my Durango!) and set it up.
- The actual viewing surface really is 92" by 52", as close as I could figure using a tape measure by myself. Nice black border all around. It really is 106" diagonal viewable... 4 times the size of a 53" TV. Not that I've ever seen a 53" TV, mind you.
- There were some minor waves in the screen near the sides, probably wholly due to my half-@$$ mounting job in my haste to get it up & running. The current setup is temporary, and will be more optimal in my next abode - hopefully in the next few months. The waves made absolutely zero difference in the picture, and I did not notice them whatsoever on the projected image. This included ESPN Sportscenter, with lots of panning, and some HD nature stuff. I repeat, zero impact on the picture, and I have noticed waves on other screen surfaces in the past & their noticable effect on the image. Not on this one.
- The gain difference... well, it was pretty damned noticable. I have my Optoma HD65 set to 50% on contrast & brightness, with video gamma setting, and for the life of me, the picture looks like my 50" plasma used to, but a lot bigger. Much punchier than the blackout cloth screen, better perceived contrast, the blacks look dark, the brights are freakin' bright.
Quick story: I was thinking, "hey, it looks pretty bright, I guess..." when all of a sudden, the new Apple iPod Nano commercial comes on. For those of you who haven't seen it, it starts off suddenly with a bright white screen. It was like being slapped in the face; it was so bright, my eyes felt actual pain - just like being the first out the door of a dark movie theater & walking into bright, direct sunlight. Holy frickin' cow, this thing can seriously do bright! Not blown out whites, just seriously intense. Like I said, quite plasma-like brightness & punch.
- Okay, here's my observation on the viewing cone. Inside the cone, close to the projector, this thing is incredibly intense. Uniform brightness perceived from side to side. As you move your seating position towards the edge of the screen, the brightness drops somewhat, but no matter where you are, it stays uniform across the screen, so it looks perfectly normal. I stood about 10 feet to the side of the screen, at about a 45-degree angle to the edge of the screen, and it wasn't as bright as inside the cone. But, and a huge but, it was still as bright & watchable as my 1.0 gain blackout cloth screen had been from the same angle.
Did everyone get that? Yes, there is a viewing cone within which you will get the brightest, punchiest projected image you can imagine. I do not exaggerate when I compare it to a good plasma. Outside the cone, it'll still be as good as a matte white screen, so there really is no bad angle to watch from. Just make sure that when you have a crowd over, you get to stay in the sweet spot!
The off-axis light rejection was damned impressive. I have a dome light fixture ( 2 x 60w) centered about 1 foot in front of the screen on the ceiling, and the screen sits about 3 inches from the ceiling. While it washed out a bit compared to pitch darkness, the image was totally watchable with that light, and others in the room, blazing away.
Today, I watched some TV before moseying my way into work, with the blinds in my living room letting the sun in at about a 45-degree angle to the screen, and the contrast & punch were dramatically better than they had been with my old matte white screen. I can comfortably watch this with sunlight, light fixtures, whatever lights I want going.
One spooky feature: Walking past my living room later at night, with a hallway light on nearby, the screen reflected back a greenish glow, like a glow-in-the-dark toy. Freaky!
Haunted projection screen!
Anyway, I'm here to tell you, the hype is true, and it really is as good as people say. Once again, not perfect, but my setup (projector mounted at eye level) is dynamite for this screen. If you are thinking about it, take the jump & do it with confidence.