Jack, That's one killer system you are putting together! You won't be disappointed. And it's interesting that you note that the "Ruby" can now be had for $6500. I fully expected this to happen because there is no way one can justify it being double the price of the "Pearl." In fact, the buzz at CEDIA was that this is exactly what would happen. I questioned several Sony people and others about the difference in price of the two units and what you got for your money. Naturally, the answers were a little vague. Although I didn't hear too much about the quality of the lenses the pictures produced sure looked comparable. Most of the talk was about the "Ruby" having a Xenon bulb which supposedly has better color fidelity (but I didn't see any obvious differences in the two pictures - although there wasn't any side by side shootout.) Besides, the "Pearl" has two things going for it (in addition to being the newer technology). For one thing the bulbs cost much less (nothing wrong with UHP bulbs - both my other FPs had them). For another, the "Pearl" accepts 1080p/24 and multiples thereof (48,72) whereas the "Ruby" only deals with 1080p/60. While this might be splitting hairs, in theory a native 1080p/24 input holds the promise of the best possible picture from 1080p/24 film source material. Joe Kane has said that the ideal frame rate for FPs is 48 (and for plasmas is 72 as confirmed by Pioneer reps). This handles any "judder" issues that might be important to some. As Tom has personally discovered, right out of the box the "Pearl" provides quite an amazing picture. Your pairing of it with a VP50 should provide you with superior images. Your only limitation now is poor source material (and even there, the VP50 will make things more palatable). Keep us in the loop as things develop.