This is Gary Reber, Editor-In-Chief and Publisher of Widescreen Review. I am writing this post in response to some inaccuracies and misconceptions stated in this thread about the WSR event over last weekend. I want to first of all thank those of you from the AVS Forum who have supported the event and had kind words for our D-Theater Movie Festival.
Indeed, as one can imagine, this was a difficult event to pull off. Not only did we find it incredibly difficult to gather together a significant number of industry and studio representatives to attend during the two-day event, not to mention obtaining the D-Theater titles themselves (none of which were commercially available at the time of the event), but the logistics of hosting some 200 guests in addition was a challenge.
To those who ended up seated at the far back area of our theatre or in a less-than-optimal seat, as I stated at the introduction of each session, WSRâ€™s Reference Holosonic Home Theatre Laboratory is designed and optimized for â€œThe Chairâ€ (aka the â€œsweet spotâ€) located on the D-Box Technology Odyssee Motion Simulation System platform, which we call â€œthe throne.â€ From this position we conduct our picture and sound reviews which appear in each issue of the magazine and on our Web sites. Any other seat in the theatre is not optimized and is a compromise of sorts both visually and audibly. Because of this situation, we gave six raffle seat winners the opportunity to rotate during each sessionâ€™s presentation, and for anyone interested to do so in the theatre following each session. And we scheduled sessions with two hour intervals between (during lunch and dinner breaks), further allowing attendees an opportunity to sample the material from an ideal seat.
Regarding the manner of presentation and screens used, the reason I chose to display the D-Theater titles and the Joe Kane material on our seven-foot-wide (84-inch) Stewart Filmscreen AeroView in 9-inch CRT rear-projection was to insure the best picture quality delivery. The CRT technology exceeds the picture quality of DLP. Pictures displayed on 9-inch CRTs are capable of resolving the full range of contrast and shadow delineation. For those of you who thought the film-originated material transferred to HD (as opposed to the HDTV-originated material) displayed on the CRT projection system was unimpressive may simply be overlooking the creative nature of film imaging. Film imagery is intended to create a certain mood or style, and not a crisp representation of reality such as an HDTV videocam production of â€œThe Tonight Show With Jay Leno.â€ Furthermore, the D-Theater films previewed, particularly â€œU-571,â€œ were shot to convey dark interiors or dark exteriors, and by design arenâ€™t as bright or colorful as the HDTV material demonstrated, such as HDNetâ€™s â€œBikini Destinations.â€ DLP, while excellent at displaying bright, high contrast scenes, does not do anywhere near the good job that CRT projection does displaying dark scenes and black levels.
For those who sat in the three seats on the throne, the picture quality was optimized. A couple of posts in this thread mentioned that we were projecting upconverted 840p DVD during the sessions. We stopped showing upconverted DVD at 840p (optimized for the Runco DTV-1101 projector) during Sunday sessions and projected straight out of one of our two Sony DVP-S9000ES DVD players in 480p starting with that dayâ€™s first session. While it is a fact that at a certain far distance upconverted DVD through a good scaler/processor will no doubt approach the quality of D-Theater, at the optimal distance from the position of the throne dramatic differences will still be apparent. I am sure that Runco and Faroudja would be pleased with those observations that their processors were able to make DVD look so good. But then that is precisely what a good scaler/processor is suppose to do. In our case, the Runco and Faroudja processors each cost in excess of $20,000, and the Sony DVD players are top-of-the-line models. We have always chosen our equipment to achieve the â€œthe best that it can beâ€ in performance and evaluate formats accordingly. Nevertheless, I want AVS Forum members to remember that it cost $22,000 to $27,000 to process DVD to make it look â€œnearâ€ D-Theater quality. The JVC HM-DH30000U costs on the street in the neighborhood of $1,500 and will do even better job at displaying true HD-plus resolution and color performance.
I am sorry for those attendees who were unable or didnâ€™t take advantage of the opportunity to view D-Theater at the optimum throne position with our CRT projection systems. Perry Sun, our Managing Editor, was taking personal requests between the sessions. If those people seated at the back had taken advantage of our offer, they too would have experienced dramatic differences in resolution and color fidelity. That is also why Joe Kane opted for a CRT presentation rather than DLP for his material. It was his call.
But the really good news is that if you had been to the one session on Sunday in which we A/Bâ€™d the D5 studio master of â€œU-571â€ to the D-Theater release, and you were sitting in â€œThe Chairâ€ position, you would have been amazed at just how close the D-Theater version was to the studio master in resolution and color fidelity. The differences were truly only negligible.
As for â€œThe Tonight Showâ€ presentation on the double-stack Runco VX1000C DLP projectors and the 10-foot-wide Stewart Filmscreen GrayHawk screen, that was recorded over-the-air on Friday night using a prototype Samsung SIR-T165 ATSC set-top box with IEEE 1394 output fed into the JVC HM-DH30000U VCR, the picture quality was outstanding. This brightly-lit television show was shot on HD videocams while the D-Theater presentations were all shot by accomplished cinematographers on 35mm film to convey mood, and transferred to HD video.
Regarding the comments about the time allotment of the sessions, I chose a three-hour session interval because of the amount of material that I wanted to convey, including the opportunity for Joe Kane to present material to be included in his upcoming â€œDigital Video Essentials.â€œ A two-hour interval would have not provided enough time. As it happened, even three hours really wasnâ€™t enough for a thorough evaluation. I would have hoped that every visitor to our WSR home theatre would have realized that the theatre is optimized for the throne position, as they should realize that in their own homes there is only one true â€œsweet spotâ€ position for an absolute optimal experience. Would anyone on the AVS Forum not offer their guests to their own home theatre the optimal â€œchairâ€ seat? That is what we did, we offered the opportunity for those who didnâ€™t win the raffle seats to later sit on the throne for optimal viewing during the breaks in the presentations. Had we had less people in the theatre we could have had more rotations of people on the throne seating. But then with over 250 peolple already on the waiting list for the next two weekend events, we would have to schedule a week or more of continuous presentations, which simply is not possible for us to do.
When we host the next series of presentations on July 13 and 14, and again on August 10 and 11, I will make sure that everyone attending a session has the opportunity to experience the picture from the throne position. This is certain to create some annoying disruptions, but there appears to be no other way to insure that each and every one of our guests â€œseesâ€ the dramatic differences in resolution that D-Theater delivers when compared to 480p DVD and even upconverted DVD. As many of you are aware, we are in the position to view D-Theater titles and compare them to DVD, whether 480p or 1080p upconverted or anywhere in between, on a daily basis using some of the best equipment available. I can tell you that in such comparsions there is no qestion that the D-Theater presentation outperforms in every paremater the DVD equivalent even when upconverted to 1080p.
Thank you for your critical input as we will take your comments to heart and do our very best to insure that the next scheduled weekend D-Theater Movie Festival evevts will satisfy every guest.