Goodness...where to start on all the questions...
Umm...in the menu system it shows up as Pixel Plus (not PP2) on the 9630 (50") and it's big brother. Regardless they all use Pixel Plus 2. Only difference is you have a swivel base, an ethernet port for playing media remotely, and ambilight 2 (which the 9630 can technically have since it does have 2 inverters and it can be activated via the service menu). Maybe after my unit is old and out of warranty I may try swapping the small signal board out for the other one to see if I can add an ethernet port and mp4 playback to my 9630
The green speckles are digital artifacts from noise reduction, sharpness, screen expansion, digital contrast, etc., etc., etc. When you are the proper distance away from the set you won't see them and trust me turning on all the image enhancement features really does help out on low-def and poor signals. Some of my off-the-air cable channels almost look like digital cable (low quality) with the enhancements on, but this isn't surprising as my high-end JVC S-VHS uses similar digital noise reduction techniques to give dvd-like quality from VHS and SVHS sources. As for proper settings for everything, you should probably get your set calibrated by a pro or at least use Avia, but I can tell you the Philips defaults are WAAAAYYYY too hot. It defaults to 86 on the contrast, I run mine in the low 50's. The brightness defaults to 44 (I think) which is way to dark (can't see stuff in shadows playing HALO). Again I think around low 50's. The darker you can stand it, the less chance of burn in especially during the first 200 hours or so.
Whitewash is useless. Image retention on this set (so far) is practically nil. I say this after having had an LG 50" first and returning it after having "no signal" ghosts all over the screen (I have pictures) from the screen saver it has. It had serious image retention. Sure I'll have the VERY faint 1" lines on the left and right side of the screen from my PS2 (because PS2 underscans most games) after a night of gaming, but it's gone after 5-10 minutes of normal TV watching. Again...keep the contrast down and you won't have burn in. Worst case...if you HAVE to whitewash, take an NTSC white image and save it as a jpeg on a memory card and then display it using the memory card viewer for 30 minutes to an hour. Poor man's whitewash. Personally I don't think you'll ever need it on this set.
For those keeping up with firmware, there have been a couple more releases. The site shows the same firmware date, but if your read the readme you'll see they incremented the firmware revision, added some stuff, and the new date was 5/15/06. They enabled RRT5 which is no surprise since it's mandated. No EPG still. Gemstar TVGuide is still gone.
I got my first black screen of death. Got it playing PS2 through component cables (in 480i mode). My set is only 3 weeks old by the way. This is a firmware problem. My set had barely been on maybe 30 minutes...nothing special. We were playing a game and the screen went black...no sound, no picture. I thought the PS2 crashed and reset it...but it was the TV. Remote wouldn't do anything...TV wouldn't power on or off...waited for maybe 1-2 minutes and the TV rebooted by itself. Considering all the problems everyone is having...the fact that it's across the board (with units using various PDP screens or ambilight assemblies or power supplies), the only thing in common is the CineOS firmware. I seriously think there is a memory leak or bug or something in the firmware OS that is causing the TV to "crash" and reboot causing the black screen. I'm running the last firmware with the TV guide by the way. Oh...speaking of bugs...anyone hooked up the external digital audio cable yet? When my screen is in standby, it cycles through the channels so I hear the audio from the channels changing through my stereo if I leave it on through the optical out...wierd eh? I haven't tried it with the latest firmware so I suspect it has something to do with the Gemstar guide updating channel information.
I wonder why the Philips people took out the Gemstar guide in the latest firmware incarnations. I wonder why they bothered to add USB2 to the set only to play pictures and mp3 when the firmware is capable of playing back mp4 and other video formats over ethernet (on the high-end unit). It would have been nice if I could plug in my 2.5" HD and play hi-def DIVX clips through the USB2 port. Also, since Philips decided to nuke the firewire ports it would be nice if they would put in generic drivers for USB to firewire adapters or USB to ethernet adapters (yeah...I'm dreaming...) or even an official Philips upgrade part to play network video on the 9630 units. The Toshiba units have an external PVR firewire drive that allows you to timeshift HDTV content. It would have been nice if Philips...since they already bothered to put a USB2 port with ATA drivers...had put a simple HDTV timeshifting system in there to simply store the off-the-air ASTC data (no need to reencode)... I guess what I'm saying is this TV has such a great PQ, the ambilight is really nice, and the price is very competitive....with a little thought in firmware design this set could have been ball-crushing