So, turns out the set is perfectly fine. Just before we disconnected everything for the new TV my son says something about, "What if its the Onkyo receiver causing the problem?" I went hmmmm.
We have to turn our receiver on 8 - 10 times every time it cools down to get it to stay on, works fine once its one. Well that comment led to some investigation and testing of various direct and indirect hookups involving DirecTV dvr, Sony blu-ray, Onkyo HT-RC360 receiver and the KD-36 To sum up somehow the format button had gotten pushed on the DirecTV remote...twice. I had checked the screen button on the Sony remote multiple times...but never on the DirecTV remote. Never even noticed it had one.
In over a decade of having DirecTV, I've never had this button pushed twice (it takes two pushes to change the setting)!
Anyway, the TV is still going out so the offer still stands. I won the made by Samsung screen lottery for my new TV and love the bigger screen size, though I can't really say the new TV beats the Sony in PQ. Of course the screen size is much larger so not a completely fair comparison. I just started tweaking settings on the new one as well. The venerable Sony is heading to the recycle center early next week...its been a good run.
I forgot what a beast this thing is! I remembered it was heavy, but it was ridiculous getting the thing out and loaded. 3 person job...one on each end and one on the front screen side...it is way front lopsided in weight.
Final note for other Sony owners. I thought the TV had gone out a few times before, but all it required was to unplug the power and plug back in...may help someone hopefully.