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The plasma display screen is made of a matrix of elements
connected to cables along the side and top. On your unit, some of
these many, tiny connections are making contact intermittantly thus
losing the elements in that area. These contacts are held in
place with just pressure and if that is disturbed, you lose that line
of elements. Try squeezing the cabinet of the TV on the outside
at the top in the area of the loss and see if that makes a
difference. May have to go inside and see if the contact assembly
is disturbed or warped or something.
The black box is a text box for closed captioning. Some stations send the signal which turns on the box while not actually broadcasting any text. Go into your setup menu and turn off closed captioning, or at least change it to a different mode. The easiest option is to restore factory presets.