I've been lurking in this forum since May 2012 when I first got seriously interested in the Elite. Countless hours was spent reading up here and elsewhere and badgering the guys at my local BB. After a 1st attempt to negotiate the tv to a palatable price I had to walk away due to not being as affordable as I wanted, and not having my ducks in order. The next few paragraphs is my story, you can skip that if you like but please see my questions near the end.
Several months pass and as my situation improved I began looking at TVs again and tuned to the VT50 and HX950. My brother has a VT30 and I figured if the PQ on that was acceptable then the VT50 and later ZT60 has to be even better. Coming from a Sony XBR5 and a 36XBR400 before that, I always had a soft spot for Sony. I walked into the Sony style store and look around, I wasn't impressed. SOE was distracting, and even with processors were turned off, it seemed everything was blurred. Egg shaped golf balls, people moving looked as if they has Sonic the Hedgehog shadow trails all over. I generally wasn't impressed. So I was set and intent on getting the VT50 since price reductions made it a great buy or ZT60 if I could have waited longer.
I walk in to the local BB and bam there it is sitting where it always is and i get drawn to it, the 70"elite. It reminded me of how glorious the gold spinning dragon and night city scapes were. I turned to look at the VT50 for a second, then recalled my family room. Too many windows and lots of potential for the plasma to get washed out. Next I noticed the price tag on the elite, they dropped it beyond their usual $7000 sale price. I ask the guy what the deal is an he informs me the elite has been discontinued and that they are unloading the floor model. My interest perk up even more, so I do a quick visual check. No physical nicks or dings to the case, and 99.9% of the finger smudges on it wiped off easily.
I walk out of there and come to this forum to catch up on the news: nov2012 issues, IR loss, cyan issues, pulsing, etc. I almost get cold feet. I go back the next day and reexamine the set, no green or pink blotches, I look at the serial #, 206xxxxxx! So it's only 6-8 months old, not the 1.5 years I was figuring to estimate the LED light wear. I softly negotiate the sales guy. He knew me from my first visits back in May, and after I reminded him, he remembered the price point I was gunning for back then. He disappears comes back and say, we can do it, but you will have to get the PP. I balk, saying the plan is too much $. Why couldn't you just sell it to me for my price, and let me decide later on the plan. He goes away again and comes back. Done! They bubble wrap the set and I bring it home.
Looking back, i know i probably over paid for a floor model, seeing that some people paid the same for a brand new boxed set. I didnt feel like negotiating hard, and wasnt sure how serious i was at the time. I feel better knowing i dont need to play panel lotto, and even with the usage this thing had gotten, it only serves to advance any engineered failures to hopefully occur within my warraties or protection plans. An added bonus was they found a brand new remote under the media stand, still in the elite instruction box. They gave that to me as well as the grimey remote that everyone has been beating up and two boxed 3D glasses.
I get it home clean it up and fire the baby up.
My jaw is lost on the floor under the sofa somewhere. It looks better in home than in store. I play with the menus a bit, reset a few items get it out of the retail torch mode and punch in newbies settings; glorious. I never liked Thx calibrated screens before due to the muted, washed out look, but with this set up the colors have enough pop for me to keep it as the full time every content type setting.
Despite a few flaws being the floor model: scuffed up stand, no worries, I'm going to wall mount it. 1 dead yellow sub pixel, I can't see it from the sofa and its only visible from 12 inches and on all white scenes. Small 3mm x 3mm scuff on the anti reflective coating that does not come off, again cannot be detected from sofa. I love the set, and after canvassing the area BBs, the other 70" elites were in worse condition than this. one had 3 dead pixels, scuffed up stand and the other had nicks and dents all over the bezel.
So I am keeping the elite. I am training myself to stop looking for issues and enjoying my elite. Some one could make a ton of cash starting up a 12 step program of sorts to curb OCD toward gadgets. Thanks to all the great people and your posts in here. Lots of good info and knowledge floating around. If a picture is worth a thousand words, there aren't enough to describe the one on an elite.
So to bug you all a little more, my questions,
1) I registered my set on the elitelcdtv site. I recall reading here that some were offered an extended warranty from sharp via email. How long did it take for that email to come in? Do you think given their current state, they may not be offering that anymore? Is the service, if they still have it, any better than BB's $700 5 year plan or the $99 3 year extension plan from Costco?
2) when I first turn on the set, the screen lights up with a black screen where it seems the back lights are on full blast and I can see clouding/light bleed all over. Then when it picks up my receivers signal, it tones down to the normal glorious black levels that we know. Is that normal? Should I be concerned with the clouding during that instant as something that could be a problem later?
3) how do I get into the service menu? I don't care to change anything there, but I read there is a way to view the number of running hours on the set in there. It seems accessing that menu is somewhat taboo both here and throughout the Internet, as no google search I have done revealed any answers. Why is that?
4) is there a master reset for the tv? I've gone into the menus and hit the reset option where ever I've seen it, but there are several resets to be done, and i dont know if i've hit all of them. is there an all encompassing reset to get everything to factory defaults and rid the set of any polluted settings done by BB or customers that have toyed with it in store?
Thanks again to all that contribute here.