Have you ever tried watching a horror movie on a LCD screen?
I’m telling you, it sucks.
Movies in general and horror movies in specific may contain dark scenes with very little contrast.
That’s perfectly ok – especially in the horror genre where you expect a certain creepyness which is best achieved with dark shots.
Now the problem is that LCDs (the non-glossy editions in particular) suck at displaying black.
What you are seeing is not black – it’s more like a blue-greyish bright surface – bright enough to suck up all the other dark tones that may be on the screen.
The effect is even worsened by watching the movie in a dark room. When there’s ambient light, it’s much better. But when it’s dark around you, there’s nothing you can do to fix it:
Increasing the screens brightness will make the black glow even brighter, sucking up more surrounding areas. Turning the brightness down will make the black darker, but you’ll lose the surrounding areas to the darkness too.
I tried a display on a ThinkPad T42p, a Cinema Display and the display of my MacBook Pro. None of them is particularly better or worse – they plain suck.
This is why I always buy DLP projectors. The black really is quite black there (it’s still not perfect – I imagine laser projectors will rule here).
The solution the industry is throwing at this is the glossy displays. But where the non-glossy ones suck at horror movies in a dark room, the glossy ones suck at the rest – like working in the office, working outside and even watching a movie in a bright room.
To actually see something of the higher contrast these glossy displays are said to provide (to actually see something at all – I mean besides yourself), you either need to be in a completely dark room or to turn up the brightness very high which will be quite unpleasant for your eyes (I get a bad headache after working more than 30 minutes on my Cinema Display when I turn the brightness all up).
Can’t wait for laser projectors, non-reflecting glossy displays (can a thing like that even exist?), hologram projectors, neuronal interfaces or something completely different. Till then, I guess I’ll have to turn on the lights in my room when watching a dark movie.