I don't know about the other questions, but I can tell you my set also has very light black for the first 2-3 seconds before it goes near jet black. If you see no issues with normal content I wouldn't be concerned.
Yes you should. No other set of this quality is as big. IR is not an issue on the Elites and they can get as bright as you need. Make sure the store has the manual, factory remote (which will have "Elite" on the bottom) and both 3D glasses.Get one while you can. Worst case scenario you don't like it and have to return it. If you get another set and don't like it there is a chance all the Elites will be gone by the time you "figure it out." Make sure to sign up for Reward...
You could call Sharp and give them the serial number. Whoever is selling it apparently has misplaced the original factory one. You might want to see if they can give a greater discount (and order a factory one with the savings).
No. I have a November 2012 build (and its great btw) and my remote says Elite on the bottom. Sharp is nowhere to be found on the remote and only on one sticker on the back. Unless you're an A/V geek, you probably would never know Sharp had anything to do with this set.The old Elites use the same codes as the new ones so I'm not surprised a pioneer remote could control a 70X5FD.
Lol You're making me feel better. I go through the same thoughts all the time with my Elite 70X5FD. EVERYTHING I watch on cable has flaws (at least from 7 feet or so) and it bugs the hell out of me. But when I put in The Dark Knight and look at the IMAX footage...AMAZING! Content like that totally spoils you for anything else. I know it's not possible but I keep thinking " why can't x look as good?!" Ah, we love such troubled lives.
Zach, congrats on the purchase. The VT/OPPO combo will provide you with years of enjoyment. To answer your questions:1.Unless you are using surround sound use whichever one is easier for you. I can't imagine there would be an noticeable difference.2. I don't know3. Yes. I quality universal remote can learn all the commands easily. I would recommend looking at a Harmony remote. They are easy to program and affordable. I have had my 880 for several years without an issue.4....
Buy it while you can. I believe getting it at Best Buy and signing up for reward zone gets you silver membership immediately. That gets you a 45 day return policy. I would take it home, plug it in, make sure everything looks good, then repackage it. Reopen it a out a week before using it, run break in slides and if everything looks good still, have it professionally calibrated. That's my .02