ADU: I used to have a huge problem with black level retention on Sony direct views but have now solved it.
I have a Panasonic RP-91 and I have heard that most Panasonic DVD players have an option of turning the black level to brighter or darker.... when I set my DVD player to lighter I didn't have to put my TV's brightness too high and I saw a notable improvement in black level retention. With the DVD player set to darker, I had to push the brightness a couple of notches above the midpoint and I got annoying glowing when watching bright scenes.
I used to have my TV set to MOVIE and pushed the contrast slightly harder that I would have liked in order to subdue when I believed to be a brownish tinge on white objects. With this setting my TV suffered when it came to black level retention as well.
I know that if you can handle watching movies with the color temperature on Neutral, you can tone the contrast down a lot and still get a bright image and the set will hold black at black a bit better.... I however, can not stand watching movies on Neutral and have found a great middle ground.
I have my TV set up to what I posted earlier and the black level retention is a great deal better now. On VIVID or STANDARD, there is a slightly bluish tinge to the whites but VERY slight.... so when I set my TV to STANDARD, did the service menu tweaks, and adjusted my contrast/brightness with my VE disk, the contrast/brightness were only slightly higher than 1/3 yet I got an extremely bright image(that is satisfying to watch in the daytime) and I didn't have to deal with brownish looking whites.
on a side note.... I have Belden 1694 cables and when comparing them to the monster cables I was using for temp, the beldens boosted the brightness. Because of this, I had to drop my set's brightness a couple of clicks.... this could have helped with my set's black level retention as well.
btw, I have three settings for DVD right now since that is my focus for this set at the moment....
I have vivid set up to how I described in my earlier post and I use that for all DVDs that are not film based(monster's inc, ice age) or movies that have little edge enhancement. Vivid has a very small amount of added edge enhancement when compared to the Standard mode but the image does seem to pop out at me more.
I have standard set up according to my earlier post as well and use that for almost all of my DVDs.
There was only one movie where I felt that I needed to switch from my STANDARD setting to MOVIE. When I was watching Pirates of the Caribean, I felt that I gained a slight amount of shadow detail that I didn't even know was there. Here is how I tweaked my MOVIE setting in case somebody is interested. I kept the GAMMA SM adjustments for movie the same but adjusted the MID5 SM adjustments so that they matched VIVID. That way I got an image that I felt was pure and not blurred in any way. Maybe some people would prefer matching MOVIE's MID5 settings to Standard. I chose VIVID because I felt the edge enhancement was harder to identify given that the white and black parts of the image are not varied as much as in the VIVID and STANDARD modes.
I hope that this information helps. Also, if anybody tries my techniques I would be happy to hear what they think of them.