I guess I'll add my experience in here since, I think, I'm the only person to ever order the SMX material and not actually end up using - yet.
I was in on the first batch of material as I was in my current theater build at the time Ruben started his search for the perfect AT screen. I was very excited about the prospects for this material but, at the time, it was a complete unknown. So, I ordered a measly 2 yards of it because that's all I needed to build my 8' wide 2.35:1 screen.
Well, turns out my experience with this material and a 1080 projector was instrumental in discovering that the material needs to be rotated 90 degrees to be sure you won't have moire'. I had very bad moire' in my setup and I hadn't ordered enough of the material to rotate it properly (once MarkP discovered the solution). By that time, all the original material Ruben ordered was gone plus, I had another issue with the material at the time.
My previous two rooms were both built around CRT projectors and I had always been a strong proponent of them over digital for two reasons - black level and screen door. I could not tolerate any level of screen door that I had seen in a 720p digital projector up until that time and the blacks were abysmal as well. Well, enter the Sony Ruby and I had a way to get rid of the three-eyed monster (that was always breaking down). Problem was, the SMX material (compared to the solid screens I had before) had a noticeable weave pattern to it. Mind you, it is much less
noticeable than all the competing hi-dollar alternatives, but, compared to solid, still noticeable to me. And, to me, this looked just like the screen door I could not take from the early digitals. This, by itself I probably could have gotten over but together with the moire' issue I had it was a deal killer.
So, I rolled up my SMX material, stuck it in the unfinished basement and fell back on a Dazian CCC screen that, while not as bright or sharp, when you threw a 1080p image on it still showed a fantastic picture.
Now, fast forward to a few days ago when I get a little ping from Ruben letting me know about this thread. That got me to thinking about the SMX and something hit me - a few months ago I added an anamorphic lens to my setup. Previously I had been zooming to achieve my 2.35 CIH picture but the inconvenience of that finally got to me and I got in on the early price of the new Panamorph lens. Anyway, it struck me that, with the addition of the lens, my pixel size and shape was going to be different than it was before - and, no longer uniform either as any of these lenses produce at least some geometric distortion.
So, yesterday, I dragged out the roll of SMX (dusted it off
) built a quick frame for it and threw it up in place of my current screen. With fingers crossed, I started going through material of sky and fog and anything else I could find that would probably produce moire'. Whaddaya know - its almost completely gone. I could still get a tiny bit of moire' in some scenes but it was very subtle and didn't last long. Basically, you really had to be looking for it and then be very quick at that.
I've spent almost a year with my Dazian screen and have been happy but I've always known the SMX has a brighter and sharper image. The brightness thing was never a huge issue for me due to the material I watch (all movies) and the fact I came from CRTs so the Ruby on Dazian was still brighter than my previous setups. Well, I think I'm going to be even happier now with my SMX up. I still see the pattern of the weave and, if I let it that bothers me a bit. But, If I can just watch the picture instead of the screen it is a non-issue so a little time should take care of that.
There's no question (nor has there ever been) that the SMX is brighter than the Dazian. I had to re-calibrate my projector and lower my white level by 10% - and this is with a Ruby with 500hrs on the bulb. The extra brightness does more than produce whiter whites, though. Bright colors really pop. Movies like Cars or The Incredibles really show this off. Also, the extra sharpness adds to the three dimensionality of material quite a bit. I had watched King Kong on HD-DVD with my kids a couple days ago so I threw it in to look at it on the SMX screen. With a movie like this that I've seen and where the story isn't all that good anyway, I spend a lot of time looking at the picture and marvelling at HD-DVD in true 1080p. So, the quality was fresh in my mind from just the other day. Well, wow. On the SMX the picture is even more incredible with an added level of 3-d feel.
So, there's my long and torrid story. Its still early but I think I'm finally going to be one of the long list of happy owners of an SMX screen.
P.S. There is a downside to the extra detail that is revealed by the SMX material over the Dazian. The compression artifacts in DirecTV "HD" material are even more noticeable