The trouble I have with this is that unlike the elephant, contrast in a scene is hardly as multifaceted as the elephant.
It also reminds me of discussions I have had with box store sales reps about speaker wire (or even better: HDMI cables) where there is no end to the obfuscation around such a simple science.
It shouldn't be too hard to understand that a PJ that outputs light from darkest to lightest areas in a scene with a light output ratio of 1:1000 against another where the levels are 1:100 for the same scene...assuming the same gamma curve...are going to have more contrast...by definition...for the projector with the greater range. My classroom DLP, for example, is much brighter than my W5000, yet due to poor black levels the contrast with that projector is far worse. That is probably the most important difference between them for watching movies.
The rest, in my mind, is just quibbling. I can't imagine anyone with any credibility claiming that the images on the left from my samples (above) don't have generally more contrast (that is, a greater difference in light ouput in brightest levels in the scene vs darkest levels)...or that the scene on the right has more 'pop' (remembering that the camera exposures actually don't capture the DR of the PJ).
It is the very rare scene that I look at and say "this one can be improved on."
Sure, but when you do a side-by-side I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to decide which one you like better....then you just might discover that something can be improved upon where you once thought otherwise.
Deciding which projector you like is one thing...and thats always very subjective. Deciding which one has (at least generally) better contrast numbers in a given scene shouldn't be this complex guys.
Motion issues are different. Some technologies are just better than others.
Actually I would argue that the motion issues are highly subjective (from a perceptual standpoint). In my experience its much easier to get agreement on 'Pop', and 'Wow', and percieved contrast then it is to get agreement on smearing, RBE, etc.