I PERSONALLY DON'T own one of these sets, but my brother in-law does.
His set developed a MAJOR problem, where the screen was almost completely red, not matter what he adjusted in the decoder etc.......
It was OVER the Hitachi warranty, so he took it to a qualified Hitachi dealer nearby, THAT guy told him it was gonna be $500, so he went and picked it up.
He later called CC to see if they could help him(he did NOT have an extended warranty either), they sent a guy out to his house, the guy pulled the lamp out(which my brother did as I walked him through it a week B4- he said it LOOKED ok at that time), made a phone call, got a brand new lamp out of his truck, talked to Hitachi for 5 minutes or so, popped in the new lamp, went into the service menu(I don't know what he changed in there, I wasn't there, and my brother is anti-electronic heheh)changed a few settings, rebooted the TV.....
Best part about this?
They didn't charge him a DIME!!
I just figured I'd relay something that happened with this Model TV, maybe someone else can make use of the info, as I was fairly certain he had MAJOR issues, but as noted above, it was an EZ fix.
Why waste $ on more cheap stuff, it's like challenging a dragon with a pocket knife.