Originally Posted by R Harkness
With all my viewing with family and friends, I often end up taking the off-axis seats near the corners. With the ST-130 the drop in brightness is mostly undetectable and I don't feel I'm missing out on the image everyone else is seeing. And with the HP screen it *really* bugged me, not seeing the full image quality, from the off-axis seats.
As for guests being off-axis, it's certainly true that guests have lower criteria and would be wowed by anything. I could, for instance, choose one of the duller, or crappier image settings for my projector, and no doubt they'd still say "cool." But I enjoy optimizing image quality, and sharing that quality. So when I optimize my image THAT is the image I want everyone to see. A screen with wider viewing angles allows me to control the image for all the viewing locations, as it were.
Further, it's also a personal criteria/psychological thing. I just really don't like a sense of "shiftiness" in an image, the feeling that I need to be sitting "just right" or the image will start to fade. When I was in the flat panel forum comparing plasma to LCDs and RPTVs, way back when, I likened it to viewing a real painting in front of you, vs one of those holograms you can see sometimes in art galleries and the like. There is a sort of "fleeting, move wrong and you lose it" quality to the hologram image, vs the solidity and naturalness of the painting that is simply "there" whatever angle you look at it. Even when I'm right in front of the hologram, I'm feeling aware of the shiftiness, the fact it will lose it's quality if I move. And that is the feeling I had when watching my HP screen. Great in just the right spot, but it always made me conscious of that sweet spot and it just tended to bug me.
It clearly does not bother lots of people who own that screen - likely to the point others would read the above and think "what is he talking about?" (My friend with the HP, a very casual projector-owner, never even NOTICED it had any viewing cone). hence it's such a subjective evaluation.
Around the time I had the HP screen I had the same size of the Carada Brilliant White material, which measures around 1.1 gain and it's off-axis performance was incredible, better than my ST-130. I absolutely LOVED that aspect of the image, because it just felt so sure and solid, almost plasma-like in that way.
But I needed a bit more gain, and the Stewart ST-130 was as close to a "Best of both worlds" as I could find.
None of this is to say the HP screen is bad. I think it's amazing. I just can't live with that aspect. Also, it's fairly typical for the recommendation to go "if you can manage a very non-reflective room, a neutral gain white screen is the best way to go." But of course with projectors that have a user controllable iris, like the JVC, the HP can offer the additional benefits people have described here: being able to close down the iris and get better contrast with good brightness, as well as better brightness for 3D. All reasons I envy people who are ok with the HP's viewing angles. I have not seen the 2.4 gain version. I'd like to out of curiosity, but with that gain it's still going to have off-axis issues for me.