Just got my 46Z4100 with black bezel yesterday. Out of the box the picture is very good. I have not done any extensive testing but watching the Euro 2008, few HD movies from DirecTV (HR21-700) and Spider Man 3 Blu-Ray, I would say I am pretty satisfied with the picture. The MPEG NR and NR are set to low and I do not see any adverse effects - in any case the soccer players did not look like a soap opera, believe me
I got the PS3 and with the discount I also purchased the extended warranty. Essentially, the PS3 came to $50 - I think it was a good deal.
One disappointment - while it can display JPEGs from a UPNP server it cannot play video. Also, even though it is connected to the Internet it cannot check for new firmware nor shows the current version.
Another problem is that I cannot program the remote to control the DirecTV HR21-700 box but I believe that it is a DirecTV issue because I have the same problem with my Yamaha receiver's remote. Does anyone know what would be the code for that box?
I was considering the Samsung 650/750 (great picture, horrible design - for me the shiny screen and huge bezel were killers), Mitsubishi 244 (wonderful design, average picture) and Sony 46W4100 (good design, good picture), 46V4100 (no 120Hz), XBR4 (horrible bezel). I also looked at Sharp, liked the design but there was something wrong with the way they handled motion - I was seeing blur with all the setups. There is a nice Sony set at Costco, essentially W4100 with 120Hz and very good design but it is as expensive as the Z4100 and has the old Bravia engine.
Since I have the TV and so far like it very much let me know if you have any questions. Unfortunately, I do not have any other TV to compare it with.
Now, the sparkles. I do not have them. So far.... However, I made a similar posting in another thread about the same issue. EMI (Electro-magnetic impulses) do not travel only via the cables. Markoni used the fact that they travel through the air 100 years ago to give us the radio.
I would agree with the previous post that we are dealing with EMI. I have seen those sparkles on other (including CRT) TVs when there are large electrical equipment being turned on and off. There is an FCC requirement but do you think the concrete mixer at construction site across the street complies with it?! Sony may not get off the hook completely either - the shielding may not be on par with the other manufacturers or models. In any case, I firmly believe it is EMI. One way to confirm it is to try and establish a pattern when you make sure that all of your electrical equipment is turned off. Yes, the fridge can cause that too. Even if you have a surge protector or UPS they will not shield EMIs that travel through the air and the fridge has a pretty powerful motor. The switch arcs, if they are not properly handled, can cause massive EMI.