Well, I found a deal on a 2011 Samsung 64D8000 and pulled the trigger. No matter what I did, my VT30 just had too many issues. The black level was not as great as I expected, the colors were too robust, terrible line bleed, jittery motion, but worst of all was the flickering screen. After an ISF calibration the problems were better, but still there. I am new to plasma, and have had rear projection and LED in the past, but the reports of deep black level drew me to the VT30. Since I have owned it I was always wondering about the "superior motion handling" of plasma technology, as my set looked like someone was dragging the picture across the screen, and with the motion smoother on it was totally unnatural. When watching a blu-ray in the right lighting conditions the picture was jaw dropping. Unfortunately the TV was too fickle, and would only look good on a Wednesday, between 2 and 4 PM, facing north, etc...
Part of the issue was with Comcast in my area. It is a pretty bad signal, and I was getting a lot of pixelation, and noise that wasn't there on blu-ray. Sometimes I wondered if the PQ was so high that it just amplified the problems with my signal, or anything that was not the highest resolution possible. This still didn't fix my black levels, or colors, etc.
So now after a few days with the Samsung, I will report that all is not perfect, but definitely the set I should have bought in the first place. With just some minor tweaks in the menu the PQ looks almost as good as my VT30 after a full calibration. The motion is much smoother, to my naked eye the black level looks almost as good, my cable signal looks a hundred times better, the 3D is almost perfect, the glasses are minimally a hundred times more comfortable, and most of all, and I can't stress it enough, there is minimal flicker! It is still there, but not even remotely close to as bad as the VT30. Now I feel like I am getting the benefits of plasma technology without all of the drawbacks of before.
Panasonic came out twice to look at my set and tell me that it is performing perfectly, and the flicker will be as bad on any PDP panel, so I believed them. The icing on the cake was a couple of weeks ago I had to go to the electronics store to pick up a laptop bag, and looking over the sales floor they had about a hundred TV's on the wall. Most of them were on "torch mode", but there was one in the bunch that was flickering like crazy. I thought, "hey, that set flickers as bad as mine. I wonder what kind of TV that is?" I walked over to it, and guess what... VT30. At that moment, I knew that change was inevitable, and I was so frustrated that I almost shelled out for a new Elite. Thankfully I took a deep breath, and looked for a good deal before pulling out my wallet.
So a few days ago, at the same store, they had one of their last D8000's on a really good sale, so I pulled up a seat and watched it for about an hour, played with the settings, etc. and now I have a VT30 for sale. Don't get me wrong, I can definitely see what the hype is about, but it is just not the set for me. For some reason I find it baffling that a man can live with an artificial heart replacement, but a television manufacturer can't make a TV set without issues.