Ok, finally the replacement new HL-S4266 is here.
This set has an August 2006 build.
Black Grass is still there but reduced significantly. It is 98% - 99% gone at the bottom of the picture and I would say about 60% gone at the top of the picture. Overall, most would say it is not there; you have to know it is there, and strain to see it. The Black Grass per se was not objectionable to me on the first set. It was the lack of black detail (heavy crush), and often shadow puppet pictures that bothered me the most.
Overall this set has a significantly better picture then the first. Remember the first one, was one of the first off the assemble line. It was in my house approximately one month before BB or CC had them in the stores.
Here are the major areas this one is better:
1. Much greater color accuracy in all settings (dynamic, standard, movie, custom). 95% of the neon effect is color is not gone.
2. It is sharper overall
3. The first set could only do grayscale accurate in the 20% through the 120% level; confirmed subjectively with the Get Gray calibration disk. In other words the bottom 20% of blacks were crushed up into the 20% level. The set is a lot better, I would subjectively say about 8% through the 108% level. Much much better, but still no 1080p set with the advanced black detailers etc.
4. Geometry is a lot better. It was acceptable to me of the first set; even so this one is much improved. That is more accurate 4:3 Much straighter letter box etc. According to Get Gray Overscan is almost identical on both sets. About 2% left and right. About 1% top and about 5% bottom. Um, wonder if that is the DVD player and not my set? No biggie, it don't bother me.
5. The picture is much more evenly lighted (very important in dark scenes). The first set was visibly brighter closer to the bottom of the screen. The set is able to produce blacks and very dark colors evenly across all parts of the screen.
6. DNIe is much much improved. I still prefer movie mode for night viewing, and will occasionally use standard (warm2) for daytime (bright lights) with DNIe off but for some pictures the DNIe on can produce somewhat good results. The DNIe on this set does not crush blacks as severely as it did on the first one. In other words on this set you can see faint pin stripes on black suits in standard with DNIe on, that you could not see at all in movie mode on the old set. It is that much improved! That is really a major change.
7. Software is a little different inside. Very subtle changes here and there. For example, on this set you can adjust hue even on digital stations. The most significant is that color accuracy is so much better (decoding).
Even though the set was delivered last Friday, I only got back in town last night; so have only had a few hours with the set.
Any problems? Yes - the cooling fan makes a high pitch whining sound. You can hear it across the room. I will decide in the next couple of days if it bothers me enough to have them replace the fan; at this point I am leaning towards yes. The first set was 100% quite.