Originally Posted by PeterTHX
Lowered contrast is a good thing.
Too many films have been transferred way to high over the years. People complain about garbage mattes (those gray boxes) around visual effects shots..well you shouldn't see them most of the time if the contrast levels are correct.
Originally Posted by KMFDMvsEnya
I agree with PeterTHX, brighter does not necessarily equate to better; far too many films have been remastered by 'improving' contrast but in actuality dynamic range has been reduced. Resulting in picture quality that frequently has oversaturated colors that are inconsistent with original intent, clipped highlights, crushed black level or shadow detail, and shallow or anemic fidelity in midtones.
In the case of FOTR, "contrast" meaning "white level" rather than intra-picture contrast. The white level is what has been reduced, and therefore the dynamic range as well and also darkens the entire picture.
The way FOTR is encoded, it is exactly the same as if it were encoded normally but you went into your TV and adjusted the "Gain" control (also labeled "Contrast" on many sets) down about 12-15 notches.
Unfortunately, lowering the white level also increases the green tint - which if it were Jackson's intent, the white level might have made it far stronger than he wanted.