Happy and Confident...
Like you, I researched the PS3 out the wazoo. I read just about every review and message board I could find. I compared everything I heard about 360's growing pains to the initial reports of the PS3.
The PS3 will get quite warm, but I know of no other PS3 owner (people I know personally) who has had the types of problems you describe. My PS3 has played the games and DVDs flawlessly. For the overheating issue in particular, a couple of manufacturers are producting an "intercooler" for the PS3. I won't comment on the merits of it, but from the posts I've read, the intercooler actually created other problems for some 360 owners. I think if you keep the PS3 in a dry, cool place a reasonable distance away from other heat sources, you should have no problem. I don't recommend stacking it on top of your TV or alongside all of your other AV equipment.