Discontinued... and recontinued
Samsung and Sharp have since settled all outstanding lawsuits. For about two months or so, Samsung didn't even list the 8500 range on their own website.
Now that the suits are settled, it's displayed again.
I'm not sure if this means they are "in production" again.
As an owner, I can say, buy with confidence. After an exhaustive search for a new TV, this is the one I couldn't take my eyes off of. It's drop dead gorgeous by my standards.
The official Samsung poster should be able to answer other questions, but in my opinion, I'm very happy with the TV.