I finally threw in the towel. I had two Sharp 52" LCDs with moderate banding. Three 4-inch vertical bands, and one 1-inch horizontal band. Also, one of the LCDs had about 5 stuck pixels. I guess I was trying to justify to myself that it wasn't that bad, when in reality those sets where really horrible.
I just returned them and turned around and bought two new Sony 52" LCDs, model KDL-52WL35135. With 120 mHz, 10-bit processor, side inputs, better PQ, better sound, etc.