The High Power Conclusions
Cost for a 100" Cosmopolitan 16:9 screen: $1117
The High Power screen boasts a 2.8 gain with a viewing angle of 30 degrees. You've got to be thinking, as i was, "What's the catch?" Well the catch is this, high gain retro-reflective screen with a narrow viewing cone. If you cannot fit within the tight specs than turn around and pick out a Video Spectra, Pearlescent, or whatever.
Retro reflective, let's dwell on that for a bit. This means that the projected image directed at the High Power screen is directed right back along the path it came on. Meaning that your projector has to mounted within the vertical viewing angle of the viewers. In layman's terms we're talking about table and shelf mounts mounted close to the height of the viewers. The High Power is constructed of tiny glass beads 9 microns in diameter embedded into a white vinyl field and covered by a thin elastic top layer. Glass beads = retro reflective. So rule number one - no ceiling mount unless you're going to hang it down far enough to knock your head on it.
Narrow viewing cone. Normally I wouldn't dwell on this but it appeared to me that the picture dropped off quite a bit at 15 degrees off axis and quite a bit at 30 degrees off angle. This is the first of the Da-Lite series that have exhibited this tendency. Now how is viewing angle determined? First let's discuss the difference between viewing angle and viewing cone. Viewing cone is a term for double the viewing angle - if you were to draw it out on paper it would resemble a cone. Viewing angle is the angle derived from axis - perpendicular from the screen. On to how it's determined. Viewing angle is determined from the angle in which gain drops 50%. So with a gain of 2.8 and a viewing angle of 30 degrees, the gain at the 30 degree line is 1.4. My head sits on my couch roughly 14 feet back and the left edge (where my wife sits) is at the edge of the 30 degree cone. Rule number two - This is for theater rooms that are large and have seating farther back than mine.
Ambient light. The High Power with it's high gain is touted as a ambient light screen. Why? Well it's retro reflective. And that retro reflectivity sends the ambient light that hits the screen back along the path in which it came. You can take a look at the pics and decide whether it does it well enough on your own. One thing to keep in mind though, the pictures with max lighting on is so ridiculously bright that no on would ever consider having that amount of light in their room while watching a projected image. It's the middle shots you should look at. And then move down to the next post and you can compare them to Silver Matte.
My overall opinion of the High Power was that it was a limited screen with limited usefullness. I realize that a lot of people have this screen and absolutely love it. I also have to believe that these folks have theater rooms that are much larger than mine.