the replacement lcd was only $300 NEW ($1500 laptop) once i found the OEM part number. There are TONS of companies selling LCDs. I'd suggest opening your laptop up and getting the part number of your LCD and googling it. That way you can get an idea of what a replacement would cost. Yes it is quite easy to replace the LCD for those who have patience and can work a screwdriver.
I actually detailed the process here:http://thelab.freeshell.org/tut_sony...cd_removal.htm
I think it would be a good idea to make a thread on replacing LCDs. People who are going to replace their LCD should document the process as i did. Actually, just taking pictures of screw points etc is enough.