If anyone in the U.S.A. has a Pioneer player connected via Composite, S-video, or Component, and installed Hkan's enhanced firmware found at www.pioneerfaq.info
on it, when outputting NTSC, it actually doesn't pass truely deep blacks regardless of how Black Level is set. However, I have a few portable DVD players that when used as monitors can accept NTSC and Pal signals. I connected my Pioneer to one of them and played a movie that opens with a full black screen. When the Pioneer was set to NTSC, the LCD glowed more than its normal backlight. However, when the Pioneer was set to Pal, the LCD's backlight was as dim as before I turned on the Pioneer. My point is: If you're in the U.S. and your TV can accept NTSC and Pal signals, install Hkan's firmware on your Pioneer player so it can output a Pal signal and set your Pioneer to output Pal. The Pioneer's NTSC-to-Pal conversion is free of major artifacts. Now you'll get a wider contrast ratio from your player. For those of you whose TVs only accept NTSC signals and don't have multiple user presets (my exact situation), it looks like you're stuck with what you have unless Pioneer Corporation or Hkan adds a feature in their SD players and firmware that allows you to switch the black level regardless of whether outputting NTSC or Pal. Good luck!