Discussion on this thread has been a little more lively on the HD-DVD forum. One member forwarded the opinion that 20" professional monitor was the standard of choice. The responses were interesting. Here is mine:
Okay, I'll cut to the chase. HD formats and 1080p projectors will now permit viewing at SMPTE and DCI specs for HVA. Therefore, transfers should be done now in calibrated digital cinema suites. I would expect a CRT monitor (as well as other engineering monitoring tools) to also be there for those things that you mention above (luminance, color fidelity and contrast). But it is utter nonsense to presume you can see fine resolution detail of the effect of video processing for a big screen in a 2.35 image on a 20" monitor. Why do you think in this digital video age we still look at projected film dailies of 35mm movies for the first few days? We could just watch video dailies and trust the 20" monitor and colorist who did the pass at the lab. Good luck finding a director or director of photography who will not watch projected film dailies for the first few days so that they know what they are getting on the big screen. It only makes sense to watch it in its medium and make some judgement about what is seen there. The big screen should be used for judging certain things about what is being delivered to the modern HD digital home cinema as well. I also think that if a studio is considering using an existing HD transfer, they should watch the film in a review digital cinema to first evaluate its quality before committing it to HD-DVD and BD release. If it doesn't make the cut, another transfer is in order.
The advent of digital cinema will help us in this regard. With the exception of the different chromaticity reference for white due to the professional cinema lamp houses, I suspect the tranfer for digital cinema is useful for the HD-DVD and BD releases. True? I suspect that Sony is already headed this way, and probably others. I hope so, anyway.