I had the same problems adjusting brightness/contrast on the PLUS units(1100/1130) I used to own as well. On my UP-1100, with th PLUDGE test pattern, I couldn't see the darker bar at all even when I had the brightness turned all the way up. I noticed a difference in the way the image looks on a PLUS projector compared to Infocus, Davis and others. It's not neccessarily worse, just different(smoother, less digital looking on the UP-1100). On those units, I ended up adjusting the brightness to the point where it would drastically change when you moved it one degree up and the contrast a little less than the upward difference of the brightness. But all this really depends on the amount of light in your room, the color of your walls and other reflections that would otherwise change the brightness/contrast values of your projector.