Originally Posted by Don Stewart
Back in the 80's and 90's, I worked a lot with a movie film genius, Mr Douglas Trumbull, who was a producer, director and special optical effects guy. He schooled me on many things. One particular quote that he made that I can still recall clearly. "The perfect viewing surface is one that becomes totally invisible while in use." I have never forgotten that.
So true. I have always said the ideal screen for me is one that is like looking thru an open window at what is going on the other side. I have never yet experienced that feeling with any type of flat panel TV screen. The latest and the greatest are pure eye candy but there is still that glass like surface defining the plane of the image.
With front projection and a perfect artifact free, lambertian surface, neutral gray or white, proper projector brightness / contrast and the last piece of the puzzle was provided when resolutions exceeded my vision. At that point there was only one thing left better than the open window for me. That was provided with modern IMAX cinematography and greater visual immersion. The open window is now going away as the image has the possibilities to travel so far out into our peripheral vision there is no window, just a reality of being there observing. Add in immersive sound and you are not only observing you are part of the action.
I enjoy stereoscopic 3D but never really understood the need for it as with open window viewing the director is providing the 3D for you with his skills in DOF our eyes are focused on the screen plane but our brain processes the image to be 3D.
All it takes to break the illusion is uneven brightness across the screen during a fast pan, or some artifact in the screen that doesn’t move when the image moves. These tells cause the brain to lock in on the fact it is 2D and the magic is gone.
Dave is right none of the above is important to a lot of people. It is more important to a lot now to get a image they can watch in a poor room with lots of ambient light issues. Ironically half the time they are rocking a pricey theater level projector in the living room hoping that its stealer specs will help the room.
The OPs question is one that is very hard to address to a wide group of people as each one needs a different answer.