Man the Europeans sure seem to know how to test this stuff right, with quantitation rather than subjective opinion (though I realize this is hard with so many factors when it comes to projectors; for example, screen material, ability of walls/ceilings to reject ambient light, etc.)
But cine4home.de has already shown the PT-AE8000U to have lower native contrast than the older Sony HW30ES, despite the fact that the Panny is advertised as having greater dynamic
Panasonic AE8000U: 6800:1 (http://www.cine4home.de/tests/projektoren/Panasonic_PTAT6000/AT6000_Test_A.htm
Sony HW30ES: 7500:1 (http://www.cine4home.de/tests/projektoren/Sony_HW30/Test_Sony_HW30.htm
The Epson 6020 appears to reach 6000:1 native contrast (http://www.cine4home.de/tests/projektoren/Epson_TW9100/TW9100_Test_Preview.htm
That's impressive for LCD, but it appears that LCD still lags behind LCOS, though not by much if we're talking about Sony's LCOS implementation.
My 2 cents:
I don't like the Epson b/c it does nothing about the obvious grid pattern (screen door effect) of the LCD panel.
I don't like the Panasonic b/c too many Panny projectors I've seen have flickering issues (bulb problems?). Smooth Screen tech, however, really does work... making it a better choice than Epsons for shorter viewing distances.
Sony bulbs appear to have no complaints, & SXRD has a fantastic fill ratio. If the layer of liquid crystals is thinner in LCOS implementations, it's conceivable that actual liquid crystal transition times are faster, leading to better motion, which should also show up as less ghosting in 3D without the need for technologies like Panasonic's 480Hz technology (skip down to section 4.2 here: http://www.cine4home.de/tests/projektoren/Panasonic_PTAT5000/PT-AT5000_Test-Final.htm
)... though I admit that's some clever technology. I wonder if Sony's Black Frame Insertion technology can help reduce ghosting in 3D (if it can at all be enabled in 3D) by helping 'clear' the panels in between frames to reduce 'memory' of images that shouldn't be there.
Which brings me to another point: in my opinion, Sony's done the best job of reducing 24p motion judder due to 'sample & hold' without
resorting to too much 'soap-opera' effect. I'm not sure how they did it, but maybe it has something to do with the black frame insertion, which emulates the shutter blankout time of movie theater projectors... the idea being that this reduces 'sample & hold', the black frame allowing the eye-brain system to sort of interpolate a frame in between frames itself. I would imagine this would also help with motion blur. Perhaps other companies have now caught up; regardless, I really look forward to giving these modes a thorough look when I receive my HW50ES!