Ok, I think I found the best way to set your brightness. Set TV to 30 contrast (maybe a tad more, but not much)...... then put in starwars3 revenge of the sith (other starwars movies might work the same???? not sure. I did this with starwars3)....... THEN, to set your brightness, actually pause the movie just seconds into the first scene as you look into the blackness of space with the white stars shimmering,,,,,, just before movie pans off to the planet and the spaceship battles. While movie is paused looking into the blackness of space with white stars, adjust the TV's brightness (might want to start brightness high and lower down) so the blackness of space just matches the widescreen black bars (above / below). BTW, don't zoom in your darn TV's people!! You are only killing your awesome 1080p resolution!!! View mode on remote should be set "dot by dot". Yes, you will see widescreen bars, live with it!! LOL...... Adjust brightness JUST enough so the washed out blackness of space matches that of the true black widescreen bars (so you can not make out the wide screen bars above / below with the black space). Don't lower brightness too much tho!! Just one click from making out the washed out blackness of space to the point that the blackness of space matches the widescreen bars above / below. Then, IMO, you will have a perfectly adjusted brightness.
NOTE, you will get the best results from a nice upconverted dvd player 1080p thru HDMI, PS3 upconverted dvd 1080p HDMI, PS3 bluray thru HDMI, or any other bluray player pumping out 1080p thru hdmi cable. If you are not doing the above (like VCR or regular DVD player using yellow composite or red/green/blue component with only 480p),,,,, then GET WITH THE TIMES PEOPLE!!! Ditch the VCR or regular DVD player,,, and go buy yourself a really nice sony bluray player with wifi already built into the darn thing,,,,,, or even better!!! A playstation 3!!!! Buy a really nice HDMI cable off monoprice.com for dirt cheap, and trash the old VCR or regular DVD player!!!! Get with the times people!! LOL