I just got off the phone with Laterria at Sony tech support. I very calmly explained the situation I was facing and after she reported that my tv was in fact affected (really? and i thought those clouds were "normal") she informed me that they would be shipping the item shortly. When i questioned her how soon "shortly" would be, she said within 7 days. It's supposed to be shipped through US Postal Service, so I guess if they sent it on the 7th business day (which would be January 30 or so) and it takes 10 days to get here, that would be February 9th. Since I have until February 12 to return the product, I think that leaves me enough leeway to test it out and return if needed. In the meantime, if anyone else gets their delivery first and they are in the greater Philadelphia region and don't want to test it on their own tv, I would be happy to guinea pig mine.
Needless to say, Laterria assured me that the process would in no way eliminate my abilities to use the complete function-set of my tv (ie, brightness, backlighting, etc.) She did not, however, have any clue as to what the USB update would actually accomplish--so take everything the Sony techs tell you with a grain of salt.
I am still holding out hope that whatever this is will actually fix the TV without ending the user ability to control settings and without forcing a low backlight and light sensor and the like. Honestly, I am not sure once I load the product how I will be able to determine if it has indeed forced a new setting or limited my controls (ie- the screen says i am adjusting backlight and color and such but it's really not doing anything)...So we'll just have to see how it looks. I may get a friend's PS3 and play the blue-ray of Corpse Bride and use Irunnoft's exact settings and see how it compares. But then again, we're dealing with image distortion from digital cameras and computer monitors- but it's a start.