Zombie et al,
thanks for your input. in practice, viewing will probably be more movies than sports (ie 70:30). And typically when we watch sports, we usually can reduce ambient light at least modestly. Based on all of your advice, and my own reserach, it does seem like the two PJs that make the most sense would be either the Sony or the Epson.
Given Zombie's shootout results, which seem to overall favor the Sony, and the apparent better reliability of the Sony, and the fact that the street price difference between the two is not dramatic, I am leaning strongly towards the Sony