I would guess that they want it back at the shop so they can hook it up to diagnostic equipment and look at all the usage data and such in a secure way.
I certainly don't like the idea of sending the set out either, given that it may not be replaceable with a new ZT60, should anything happen. But I agree, Panasonic is unlikely to take any further action if you don't let the shop take it, as the ball's in your court, so to speak. I guess it comes down to a risk you have to decide is worth taking or not. I know pictures don't really show exactly what your eyeballs see accurately, and mine actually look just as bad or even a bit worse than stevekelso's, yet, I don't really notice it when watching normal material... it still looks great, unless I know to be looking for the issues. So, is it worth sending it out? Is it going to get worse, the same, or better? Is this normal for this panel, or a fixable problem (like a bad board)? It's a dilemma for sure! :P
It is possible that this is how the panel is just going to age, and the customers who have the heaviest use of the panel (like me I'm betting) are just now seeing it first.
If there actually are some ZT60 panels left at Panasonic just for warranty replacement, and these issues represent normal wear, then they will just eventually recur if the panel is replaced.
This panel has the same life specs as the 2008 flagship that I mentioned, which is 100,000 hours until half brightness. I would expect that if the set was left on 24/7 for 1 year with only 16:9 movies playing (with no bars or logos anywhere), I wouldn't expect to see this level of white balance and screen uniformity issues.
If this is normal wear, I think it's kind of a big deal and I'm not sure how Panasonic can respond to it officially, especially since the ZT60 was designed with ISF calibration in mind, and has THX certifications. That makes me think of the infamous "rising black level" problems of the 50" and smaller 2008 Panasonic Panels, where Panasonic's official response was "it's normal, now just enjoy it!"
Still unsure where to go from here.
stevekelso, how did you contact Panasonic? Support forum, e-mail, phone? Just wondering the best way to go about contacting them; I've never had to do it before and they are a pretty big company. :P