The Seymour Matinee Black wins top honors for delivering the highest contrast measured in the Side Illumination tests -- a sparkling 36:1, handily beating the second place SI Black Diamond which measured 30:1. It achieved this by maintaining the deepest black levels in the group. And with excellent contrast and solid blacks comes excellent color saturation -- overall, the Seymour delivers an outstanding image produced by a very successful rejection of ambient light coming from the side.
And more good news ... the Matinee Black did not degrade much when the ceiling floods above the screen were turned on -- contrast dropped from 36:1 to 19:1, but under these terrible ambient light conditions it still ranked in the top three, being edged out just slightly by the Elite DarkStar at 22:1 and the Black Diamond at 21:1.
Moreover, it is among the brightest screens in the group, measuring 135 fL against a maximum of 146. So odds are reduced that you'd need to spend extra bucks for a brighter projector.
The Matinee Black shows modest texture artifacts, quite similar to the SI Black Diamond and the Stewart Firehawk. Though it does not have the pristine clarity of the Da-Lite Parallax or the DNP Supernova, it easily surpasses these competitors in contrast, black level and saturation. This helps the Matinee Black make up for the modest texture artifacts and produce the impression of a very clean, engaging image.
In terms of vertical half gain, it measured 23 degrees in our ambient light set up, which was about middle of the pack between a high of 40 and a low of 15. Thus it gives you a bit more room to negotiate the installation than some of its competitors.
The Matinee Black's only major weakness is a very narrow 32 degree viewing angle, which is by far the narrowest of the eleven in this group. Once you begin to move off axis, brightness uniformity degrades in a hurry. At a position just 16 degrees to the right or left, the picture's brightness has been cut in half, and the far side of the screen is half the brightness of the near side. So this is an excellent ALR screen as long as you can maintain a viewing position close to center axis.
The Seymour Matinee Black is available at very competitive prices, and it is light weight and easy to install. The bottom line is that if you can place the seats at or near the zero degree axis and your ambient light is coming from the side, it will outperform the other screens in this review. Even with ambient light from the ceiling it does an admirable job. But with a tiny 32 degree viewing angle it rapidly becomes a poor choice if your objective is to provide a good viewing experience from anywhere other than close to the zero degree viewing axis.