I'd narrow it down to either the $1699 ST60 (floor model w/ 2700 hrs) or the New $2450 VT60 depending on your sources/content/viewing habits/requirements/viewing environment)
2700 hours is not a lot considering the panel is rated for 100,000 but i'd definitely check the panel for burn-in and scratches in the screen etc.
Personally, i'd take the VT60 since it's new, and has a decent price.
Tivos use the FIOS cable cards and they tune encrypted channels just fine so i don't see why your oldTV shouldn't do the same.
Have you contacted FIOS Cable Card support to see what the problem is? Maybe they just need to re-authorize your card, or give you a newer type of card etc.
Who is selling a refurbished Panasonic? Panasonic doesn't refurbish their TVs and they do not authorize anyone else to refurbish their TVs.And typically refurbished TVs only have a 90 day warranty. Some un-authorized refurbishers buy up salvaged/damaged/returned TVs in bulk and build TVs using the working parts, and sell them as refurbished.
Many people here over the years have gotten a full purchase price refund check from Panasonic (as well as Samsung) for various reasons. It's not uncommon with an un-repairable TV when there are no parts available or when there is no equitable or acceptable replacement available.
External Media Center boxes were extremely unpopular with owners and TV installers here in North America. They created a host of problems and issues. I think the last year Pioneer used them here was 2006 or so.I can only remember ONE Panasonic using such a box - the 2009 Z1 series, and that model was a complete FLOP. It was a very limited edition model, and retailers still had unsold units more than a year after they were discontinued, and they were blowing them...
The S34 is internally identical to the S30 series. There are no "optimal picture settings" since there are so many variables involved so other people's settings may or may not look good to you, but they can give you a good starting point then you can fine tune them to your particular taste/content/sources/environment/panel variation etc etc.Here are two threads where you'll find info:Official Panasonic S30...
It's not in the regular settings menu. To bring up the menu that changes the TV from Store Demonstration mode to Home Use mode, just hold down the power button on the right hand side of the TV for for like 10 seconds, or unplug the power cord from the TV or from the wall for 30 seconds then plug it back in. I once had an extended power failure and when the electricity came back on, the Store/Home menu came up and i had to select Home.
How do you know it's actually Burn In and not just Persistent IR?Exactly how did it get there in the first place?How bad is it?The screen wipe isn't very effective, try using the Pixel Flipper or JScreen Fix or Pixel Jogger as they seem to be more effective at wiping IR away.Having the panel replaced would cost more than the TV is worth, if a new replacement panel is even available.