I called Pioneer support and here is some color on the issues, if you believe them. I think people here know most of this already.
They said that the firmware update is currently being performed by authorized dealers and the new units are already manufactured with the latest firmware, which should be 1.005. It's hard to know if the unit you are about to buy will have the latest firmware on it, the only way to check is to go through the list of commands described on this forum earlier.
He also said that 82s have 1.2a version of hdmi which is good but it doesn't pass HD audio signal from blu ray or hd dvd players. I guess I need to read about hdmi 1.3 and see if it makes a huge difference. What do you guys think? I am leaning towards buying this receiver because 1.2 is still probably very good but if anyone feels that I should wait, please voice your opinion. I am planning to have a sony blu ray hooked up to 82.
Lastly, what is the best price people were able to negotiate for 82 in NY/NJ? I understand that buying this unit online may not be an option but I assume I can still negotiate with the people in stores.