So after waiting 3 days whilst Fedex "got it's money's worth" (see earlier post), the 141fd arrived today from VE. I had ordered a 600m earlier, but with all the cracked glass and questionable inventory, I switched to a 141fd. Still nervous about having it shipped clear across the country, my fears were immediately put to rest when the very nice Fedex driver opened the truck. The box was entirely shrink-wrapped and securely fastened to an oversized pallet, with no visible signs of damage. No liftgate on the truck (!), so I helped him take it down and dolly it up my driveway to the garage. Opened the box, swear I heard the 2001 theme playing somewhere, and took a look at a beautifully intact panel. Inspected every inch with a flashlight - no visible cracks. Plugged it in, turned it on...nothing.
But then, reading the manual, I realized there is a master POWER SWITCH that needs to be turned on before the on/off switch will work. Flipped it on, pressed the 'on' switch and the "No Signal" flashed on the panel, immediately taking me to my happy place. The panel has a very slight buzz from the rear, but nothing that normal listening levels doesn't overcome from about 5-6 feet (my viewing distance is 12ft.)
Tried to tip the driver, he refused with a smile. I couldn't have imagined a better experience. The dude waited for nearly 20 minutes while I inspected and finally got it going.
It almost makes up for them keeping it on their dock a mere 12 miles from my house for 3 days.
Breaking it in with full screen 16x9 programming, will run slides later on. First up was the Blu Ray of Blue Planet, played back from my PS3 through the accompanying Elite SC-05 receiver. Simply awesome. I doubt I'll see my cat for a few days after the rumble of the Space Shuttle blasting off.
Thanks, Robert and Wendy, for turning a sketchy situation (600m order) into a good one. You rock.
Good luck, everyone!