Today I went projector buying,it was time for me to upgrade-and having had the Sony 11ht-I wanted to step up. I pretty much had my heart set on the Sim2 ht300+-I had read great things of it and having seen the 300-and liked the picture-thought the 300+ could only be better. I had a long demo of a carefully setup 300+ fed by the new Arcam dvd player via some mega expensive component leads. The guy taking the demo knew his stuff and had tweaked the picture a bit. I looked at Fifth Element and Gladiator-two discs where I am very familiar with how the picture should look!! Yep.the 300+ had a very smooth picture-not particularly bright-but great blacks and shadow details. The colours looked a little lukewarm-but reds were fabulous! Couldnt see any artifacts in the picture,no jaggies-nothing- I liked this projector very much. But then whilst coming to the end of the demo and having pretty much made up my mind to buy,I had an idea.... I had been talking about shootouts in another thread -specifically how the new Sony 12ht would shape up against the Sim. I had seen a 12ht a couple of months back-liked it-but didnt feel there was enough of a significant improvement over the 11ht I had. Really I wanted to gloat on how much better the 300+ I was going to buy was over the Sony. ..So I asked the salesman if he carried the Sony? Yes he did. Could I have a quick look? He took a brand new Sony 12ht out of the box in front of me-disconnected the Sim-and put the component leads into the Sony. He did not put the cinema filter on. I watched the same scenes on the Sony and could not believe what I was seeing?????????? The Sony was brighter,sharper,better saturated colours,better fine detail-and smooth. The blacks looked blacker than the Sim?!!!!!!!!! The picture looked real-whereas the Sim looked flat-I couldnt believe it!!!!! This was the Sony out of the box-on Low temp-no filter -no tweaking????????? I was gutted ...I went back to the Sim and tried to match the Sonys picture for dynamics and vibrance-I could not. Even the salesman looked stunned-he started to say ...well the Sim`s more natural with colours-but it was half hearted. We started chatting-and he conceeded that the Sony was better-and believe me -neither of us wanted to admit that!!!!!!!!! Having taken the missus with me-I asked for her opinions-she didnt know the prices of either projector-but again she preferred the Sony-and actually asked if that was the more expensive one! Well,though I had no intention of doing so-I bought the Sony. Why did it impress me this much when I wasnt overawed before? A couple of reasons;- (1) My 11ht was extensively picture tweaked over a period of time.The source my p.c.- running Sonic Cineplayer with a Gforce ti200 and Powerstrip outputting via vga out to component in. I had performed tweaks using Avia and adjusted the RGB in the service menus. In short-this was much improved to an out of the box 11ht. (2) When I saw the 12ht for the first time it was at a different dealers and was a demo model-and had been played about with. Sometimes dealer setup models are set for effect-the brightness and contrast overcooked. Plus at the time,I had no point of comparison other than my souped up 11ht. I must add that even this 12ht had a better picture than my 11ht. So this time,the 12ht has had a chance to show what it can do. I know people will think-well the Sim2 could not have been set-up properly. I can assure you it was. An out of the box 12ht has seen off a Sim2 300plus-three of us in the demo-three of us agreed. Im still stunned-but VERY happy with the Sony. Im also pleased because this confirms to myself what i believed. You cannot go by the specs-or the inflated contrast ratio figures-or the dealers who sing the praises of the dearer p.j.`s because they stand to make more dough!.....or the AVS "gurus" who fickly proclaim a new projector king every week-and who have practically written off the 12ht-because one of them saw it at an exhibition -and thought the Nec ht1000 he saw was better!! Hell,I saw Bose at an exhibition once and thought they were great! What was even more interesting,was the salesman had seen the Marantz s2(reckoned to be the 300+ killer)-and thought the Sim better! Ill tell you what though,ill lay money he never does that shootout for a customer again!