Here is Consumer Reports 2009 Buying Guide best picks. These are in the order that they appear in the publication. Some 720's performed better than some 1080's, and some "lesser" brands performed better than "name" brands. The sets were rated on High-Def picture quality, Standard-Def picture quality, DVD picture quality, sound quality, viewing angle (LCD's only), and ease-of-use of the remote control.
I haven't bought one yet. I'm still on the fence.
Toshiba Regza 52XF55OU
Sharp Aquous LC-52SE94U
46 and 47 inches
Sony Bravia KDL-46S4100
Toshiba Regza 46RV53OU
40 and 42 inches
Toshiba Regza 42XV54OU
Sony Bravia KDL-40V4100
Vizio VO42L FHDTV10A
Sharp Aquos LC-C4254U
58 inches and larger
From the above Post:
My Plasma is the TH-42PZ700U, and at the time it was rated one of the best Plasma sets on the market. The picture is great, and the sound is the simulated (phase shift) surround, all from inside the box. It also has a subwoofer built in, the sound is amazing.
I am surprised to see the SamSung's rated over the Sony Bravia's... but things change.
I bought a 42" Vizio 2 months ago, Plasma. It broke last week, returned it and got an lcd because the didnt have any more plasmas.
The Plasma did have a better picture, but it also put out alot of heat, was heavy, and well it broke?
I read somewhere that a 42" plasma tv will consume about the same amount of power as a 1970's refrigerator/freezer.
As I remember, I did start noticing the office was a little warm the summer after the Plasma was added to the area.
I am still holding out on the purchase but I am considering a 42 inch Panasonic Viera, 720P. It was rated #2 by Consumer Reports.
Best price as of 1/3/09 is $689 delivered and installed by Amazon.com (comes with "white glove" delivery service).
Price of the 1080P Viera is currently $900 w/free shipping.
How low can they go?
I would get the 1080P. You will be glad you did. Think of it as an investment in 'fun'. Both satellite TV co's have receivers that upgrade to 1080i (all satellite signals are 720P). And DVD players that 'upconvert' a 480p DVD to 1080i are common and cheap. IMO BluRay is not really ready for primetime yet...costs too much. It does not take long to get spoiled with HD, and it is well worth it IMO.
my 42 inch panasonic plasma lasted 3 years, just like my 48 inch rear projection Phillips. now I have a 32 inch sony LCD. they are making crap now days. buy what costs the least , so youll have money for a new one in 3 years.