My brand new Panny just arrived!!!!
I set it up in a temporary location and ran it for about 2 hours last night.
I'm happy to say I saw no evidence of any VB
or FPN. I was intently looking for it for the first hour on several movies. Also, the contrast was great, although it does benefit from a dark room, but you already know that. I have not taken the time to calibrate yet and it still looks great. In fact I enjoyed watching so much, that I might not find time to calibrate. I haven't even put the batteries in the remote control yet, but I'm sure it will suffice. I didn't have any problems with the lens shift joystick, so that was good as well.
As reported in the forum, the picture quality on the Panny is fantastic. My wife was very surprised. I don't currently have a HD source, but intend to acquire soon. I was projecting on a primed 100 inch wall-board screen at this point with dark plumb walls all around. I intend to use a paint solution for a screen at this point due to my kids being ages 5 and 2. I'd hate to buy a nice screen only to have crayon or marker on it when I'm not looking!
Overall I'm very, very happy and impressed with the picture quality of my new Panny.
Oh, by the way... I got the 700 not the 900. Being a newbie, I decided to get a brand new 700 based on all the reviews. The posts here almost convinced me to spend the extra $700 and get the 900, but I'm glad I didn't. Now I've got a great projector plus an extra $700 to put towards new bulbs, equipment, etc.
I do want to thank everyone for their posts and commentary on this site. Very, very helpful and informative. You're excitement about HT is very contagious. I'm already excited about upgrading to C2FINE, and I don't even know what that is!!!
Final word: If you're a newbie like me, and on some kind of budget, don't be afraid to buy the 700. It is truly fantastic. Just go back and read the initial reviews when it first arrived on the scene. I know I'm happy, and I'm sure you will be too.