I dont think its possible to brick the set, but I have read that if you choose the wrong model you wont get picture and will have to go back in and do it right.
Intel and AMD have been doing this sort of thing since forever to reduce manufacturibg costs and maximize profit....disable a core on the chip and sell as one level down...GPU manufactures do exactly the same thing, one die process, but disable a few shaders and sell it as a lower end card. In my opinion, this is exactly what Samsung has done here, except possibly in software (similar to a bios probably).
Now regarding the other features of a 590 such as the "crystal engine" or whatever its called, that sounds to me like a hardware solution they put in the higher end sets, I.E. a physical chip and no amoumt of service menu fiddling will enable something thats not there.
I picked up a Samsung up-converting DVD player today and plugged it in to everything...yes I know, the BD player would have done the same thing, but the BD player was considerably more expensive than the C-500 DVD player and I'd prefer to save the laser as much as possible on it, and besides, I had an open space that looked ugly in the stand
Very impressed with the way it all works. Since its all Samsung equipment, everything "talks" with one another...throw in a BD and the receiver lights up, set turns on, etc etc. Very cool.
EDIT: Tux...I looked around for a cal disc today with no luck. I will pop in to Tiger this week and pick one up to learn. Doesnt make sense to me to spend the money on this set for cal, especially as it doesnt have the more advanced settings as you say. Thanks.