If I had known what I know now, I would have definitely bought it at Sams or Costco. Everyone is saying that the Sams return policy is changing November 1 to 90 days. The Costco site still says 2 years.
I'm not too upset with Panasonic since the set was out of warranty, but it does seem like they would stand by it since the same part went out twice in less than 14 months from the date of purchase. My mother-in-law has me looking for an HDTV for her. This experience makes me apprehensive to recommend Panasonic.
Hopefully I won't have this problem every few months. I think this is likely surge related since there were thunder storms in the area both times this happened, but nothing else in my house was damaged so I can't be sure. I bought a better surge protector with coax protection just in case.