Thank you all for your entries. Reading them was very helpful to me, and I would like to help others by adding what I experienced this past month.
I received my Laservue on Jan 3. I prepared three years for this decision, starting with considering the 82" DLP, then almost the first 65" Laservue, then waiting for the 75" 2nd generation. I went to see a local Mitsubishi-run demo over a year ago that included the 65" Laservue. A Mits rep handed me a confidential sheet that described the next generation Laservues, and it was an easy decision to wait. Also, I'll give up the extra inches the 82" DLPs provide for the Laservue's elimination of the color wheel and bulb changes.
If I want to get a total immersion experience I just plop my butt five feet from the screen at 1080p, and I'm experiencing IMAX! For routine programming 75" looks great from the sofa 10 ft away. One month after my Laservue arrived, I'm happy. But it took a month to get to this point.
Now for my purchasing saga...
I had plenty of opportunities to view and buy locally. I really wanted the comfort of getting this thing from a reputable dealer just a few miles from my home. Unfortunately that comfort came at an $800 premium (shipping and taxes factored in) over what I found on-line, so I went with Walt's in Phoenix. They treated me just great and I have no complaints whatsoever. They shipped when they promised, and I got regular tracking updates. I was instructed to look for any signs of damage to the shipping carton, and to reject the delivery if anything suspicious could be seen.
The truck arrived right on schedule, and the packaging looked absolutely pristine. They even put Mitsubishi's entire package onto a wooden skid, well strapped in the vertical position. I signed and brought my baby home. It was a very cold day, so I just let the whole thing sit in my home for about six hours before uncrating the product. When I opened it up, everything looked perfect.
The moment I turned my Laservue on I knew something was wrong. The red screen logo popped up, but it had a strange shape, angled in from the sides. Sure enough, so did the picture. It filled the screen for about four inches from the top. Then both sides of the picture angled inward symmetrically. The picture height ended about for inches from the bottom of the screen. I also had the infamous "tab shadow" in the upper right corner. Everything worked. What there was of the picture looked great after some tweaking. It was obvious there was severe key-stoning, and I felt it was unlikely the set left the factory that way.
BUT I HAVE A SPECIAL LASERVUE HOTLINE...JUST FOR ME!! I registered and called that night, Jan 3, 2011. I listened to the menu choices. Why are they asking me, on a dedicated Laservue hotline, if I want to buy a replacement bulb??? There is no bulb! Hmmm...
I got through the menus and waited. My God that music makes me want to strangle the first person I talk to!! But that's not how I treat people, and when someone finally picked up I was a perfect gentleman. It didn't take me long to realize that my "hotline" was a low-level call center outside our beloved US of A (Philippines I later found out.) They try hard, but the point is they can do nothing but pass the info along to the real people that can help us, located in California (customer service) and in Atlanta (tech center). I was promised a call-back the next day.
Three days later I got a call, but I missed it and it went to voice-mail. It came from a customer service rep in California, Marcus, but there was no way to return his call, except going to the "hotline" and talking to our Filipino friends. It took forever to get a live body there, listening to that fingernail-on-the-chalkboard music. Finally I got another very nice call-center person, who had no idea who or where Marcus was, but she promised me a callback before the end of the day. Two days later I was talking to Marcus, a wonderful, knowledgeable fellow. He told me he was personally handling my case. I emailed him photos of my issues and he said he would release a work order to my local authorized service center for in-home repair.
GREAT NEWS! That service center is superb, friendly, and close. I called them. The owner took care of me personally, and he said he would come as soon as the work order arrived from Mitsubishi. It took three days, and several of HIS phone calls, with the same music-on-hold. to get the work order. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!!!...
Mitsubishi wants to brief all service centers working on a Laservue BEFORE they go on the call. This is such new technology that the Atlanta tech center wants to discuss the specifics with the repairman. I think that's wonderful, especially since my Laservue was the first one my center had been called on. One problem... it took another three days for the Atlanta tech center to conduct that briefing. Part of the delay was due to the ice storm that hit Atlanta.
When the tech came (it was the owner himself), I was pumped. We're gonna fix this sucker! The "tab shadow" has nothing to do with a tab. Mitsubishi knows all about it and told my guy exactly what to do. (EVERYONE: the "tab shadow" is really just a peeling supplier label on the inside of the screen frame.) He popped the back of the cover at the top corner and there it was, pretty much right where the shadow is located.
Then he went into the service menu to adjust the serious geometry problem, per Mitsubishi instructions. He got it better, but ran out of adjustment. Apparently the Mitsubishi Atlanta folks didn't understand just how bad my geometry problem was. He sent them my pictures, and they came back with instructions to replace the light engine assembly, a sealed unit that contains the chip and it's mirror). They shipped a replacement part 2nd-day air. The next day the tech switched it out and performed the mechanical alignment with the adjustment screws holding the assembly. You get those as close as possible, then do the fine adjustment electronically. He got it a LOT better, but ran out of mechanical adjustment. The best he could do was get rid of most of the key-stoning, and get the whole picture within an inch of the bottom. My Spears and Munsil test pattern still showed significant bowing on the right side.
Marcus called. Mitsubishi determined that my Laservue needs to be replaced. This was initiated within 24hrs, and I received full tracking info all along the way. The TV came direct from Mitsubishi's tech center in Atlanta. (I had chosen early on NOT to involve Walt's because this was really Mitsubishi's problem. Walt's did nothing wrong; we did communicate during all this).
Mitsubishi provided white glove delivery, and the service was top notch. It was a very cold day and I really did not want to turn the set on right away, but I had to. My Spears and Munsil test pattern was ready to go, and when I turned the TV on the geometry was absolutely perfect. I signed and the delivery guys took the old TV and all the packaging away. As expected, the picture was foggy for a while from condensation on the mirrors, but I could see it improve and after about two hours the picture was perfectly clear. I did some cursory display adjustments with my Spears and Munsil Blu-ray disk. The only thing I noticed is that the factory over-scan setting could be decreased a tad in all directions. Not messing with the service menus until my new Oppo BDP-95 player arrives.
I got my original purchase on 1/3. A month later I have a perfect replacement. Perfect geometry out of the box. No "tab shadow." And oh by the way, my old TV "stuttered" too when watching cable, but this new one does not do that.
DON'T EVEN THINK OF BUYING A LASERVUE FROM A NON-AUTHORIZED DEALER.
The "tab shadow" is a part label that should be removed on the assembly line because the adhesive on it doesn't always hold.
I believe my "stuttering" was caused by a poor HDMI #1 connection. The cable fits much more snuggly on my new set than on my old.
I am convinced, as a degreed engineer, that these TVs don't travel well. I believe a bad pothole hit by the truck can knock these things out with no visible outward signs. They have to turn them on before they leave the factory. I can't believe mine was passed there. I have no worries now that my baby is home, but I believe our poor stretches of interstate can do them in. Walt shipped mine via Yellow Freight. It came through Kansas City to St. Louis, traveling one of the worst sections of I-70, in an ordinary trailer. The replacement from Atlanta was on an "air-ride" suspension truck, the kind used to transport $million medical machines.
There seems to be a communication lag between Mitsubishi USA and their call center in the Philippines.
NOW THAT EVERYTHING IS RIGHT, I WOULD NOT TRADE THIS LASERVUE FOR ANY OTHER TV I HAVE SEEN.
Happy Super Bowl Everyone!