So last Thursday I finally found the time to call Vizio about my black screen E601i-A3. I tried taking care of it online but they immediately directed me to call the service line.... ugh I hate trying to talk to people about crap like this. But I was pleasantly surprised... as soon as I described the problem and gave them my serial number, the technician immediately explained to me that the set fell into a range of units that had a bad video timing board. He said that when they discovered the problem they immediately recalled the affected sets, but a large portion of them were already sold at Walmart and Sam's Club on Thanksgiving last year. (Now of course I knew about the bad batch of sets and the service bulletin Vizio issued, but I didn't know it was a timing board nor was I aware a recall was actually initiated. Pretty interesting info.)
He offered me the choice of either having them come out and replace the timing board via a technician, or they would send me a brand new unit and have it delivered and setup in my home. ( and I also wasn't aware that they were now offering in-home repair on the affected sets - I was under the impression they were just replacing them all. Good to know) - I, of course, chose the second option. Exactly a week later I had two delivery guys from Mana Transport Services at my door with a brand new set in the sealed retail packaging. They were polite, quick, and very friendly... they even left me the extra remote control (even though they said Vizio had been complaining about that) saying it was their gift to me.
I couldn't be any more pleased with my experience, and that kind of service is why I will continue to choose Vizio products.
The new set's serial number is 35LFTRNWBP03420 and came with firmware 2.0.25 on it.
Works absolutely great sofar and the screen uniformity is TONS better than my original set!
Happy camper here!