Well here's the thing about the current LCD and DLP technologies: their contrast ratio is achieved through trickery. Look at it as being much like a shutter in a camera. The shutter limits the amount of light into the camera, whereas a varible iris in a projector varies the amount of light coming out of the projector. This is how manufactures achieve these mind-altering contrast ratios of, in the case of the Epson 5020 LCD projector, like "320,000 to 1." In a nutshell you have a iris that closes down when the image is dark and then opens when the projected image is light. Even though this sounds like an awesome solution the end result isnt as great as you may think. The problem is that this iris doing its job is not selective to specifice parts of the image; if the overall image is dark the iris closes and even light objects within a scene are darken! And then, of course, the same is done to overall light images on your screen...all objects, even dark ones, are lighten as the iris opens. So this is where these manufactures get their misleading contrast ratios, with that "dynamic iris" hard at work.
Enter LCOS, or liquid crystal on silicon. This technology allows for those super high contrast ratios but they are native contrast ratios, meaning theres NO dynamic iris at work in these projectors! So the bright objects remain bright in dark scenes and conversely the dark objects remain dark in bright scenes because you dont have an iris constantly jacking with your light output to achieve a 320,000 to 1 contrast ratio. In the sub $3k price range are Sony with SXRD and JVC with D-ILA. If you have increased your budget to $2700 you should be skipping DLP and LCD and considering the Sony HW30ES or the JVC X35. JVC also has a pro line that, aside from some cosmetic differences, is the same model as the X35 and its model number is the RS46. A word of warning, once you go native contrast you will never look at anything else. Ill admit, Im a hopeless fan of JVC but I would have to give the nod to the Sony HW30ES in this price range. When I spent $3500 on my factory refurb JVC RS60 you can bet the Sony HW50ES was a very serious contender the whole time. Read reviews, theyre out there for all these models.