I've had my Sony VPL-HW30 for about a week and the picture has been amazing straight out of the box.
There have been a couple of situations, while watching broadcast TV, that I thought the PJ may be crushing blacks. Since the content on a DVR, I spent a couple of minutes checking it out again last night.
(Quick note: the PJ has had a basic calibration. This means I set the brightness/contrast per AVS709 test patterns.)
I've seen this black crush problem on both Fringe and Alcatraz. I focused on Fringe last night. Working only with the HW30, I found that no adjustment to the brightness or gamma would show any detail in the crushed black area. The blacks would simply get more gray.
I then removed the PJ from the picture altogether and viewed the same content on a PC (the content was DVRed using a Windows Media Center machine). It looked exactly the same as when displayed on the Sony VPL-HW30 --- well, technically I liked it better on the HW30 but it did have the same black crush.
For reference, here is a picture I captured from the PC viewing.
Look at Astrid's hair (the woman) as well as her jacket. There is just no detail in those areas.
Bottom line: I'm convinced this black crush is inherent in the content and the Sony is just showing what it has been given.
Have people run into other broadcast TV content with poor black? I believe I never noticed it prior to my new projector because the difference between black and white wasn't so obvious.