very nice post stuntman.
Plasma technology was jointly developed by Pioneer and the University of Illinois in 1973.
as for comments made about image retention, it happens now about as often as LCD's get it, wich they do. LCD manufacturers call it image persistance.
Also I have not yet seen a plasma with 120hz, but I was very disappointed with the XBR4/5 and the 71/81 series with their "motion enhancers". It's one thing to support 120hz for material that is recorded at 120hz, but to boot everything else up to that is just plain dumb. It makes 24fps films look like they've been fast-forwarded. So I hope that does not become a reality.
Plasmas are not going anywhere anytime soon, I agree. I just think that the consumer population's thoughts are still polluted with terrible, untrue myths about plasma televisions. I have a genII Pioneer plasma from 1986 and have had no trouble with burn-in or retention. I will say that I did have all of my sets ISFccc Calibrated after 200 hours of break-in, and I do have all of my sets attached to power isolation circuits with 120V stabalization and battery backup (UPS) via Richard Gray.
As for the comments about glare, I disagree (not you, but putting it out there generally, stuntman). By utilizing a matte or semi-gloss finish, LCD televisions matte their picture, which is one reason why Samsung chose a glossy finish on their screens. That being said, there is a great deal of glare there.
Good Plasmas generally use screen filters that reflect back less light than they take in. The Pioneer KURO, for example, has an 80% screen flter that eliminates the major areas of glare without compriamising the PQ. Other brands, like Panasonic, have chosen to put a chemical coat over the screen to eliminate glare. Not only is this technique ineffective, but it makes the panel look like a high-gain rear projection screen, glitter effect and all. LCD's cannot have a screen filter due to the nature of their design, so I would argue that plasmas would be better for high-lighting conditions.
Also, doesn't anybody remember laptops!? Take them outside on a nice summer day and what happens? You lose the picture. Weren't they using LCD panels for monitors? LCD screens that have matte finishes like laptops will suffer from a similar effect when exposed to sunlight (like a room full of windows).
As for those salespeople, I do believe that those who work non-commission are grossly uninformed, as they are not forced to push one thing over another. At the same time, it is the salesperson's job to stay correctly informed, elsewise they are not doing their job. They should know myth from truth becuase they work with the televisions all day long!
I do have some experience with the Hitachi Plasmas. Although Hitachi makes very good panels at their 8th generation factory, they are mostly given to other brands, Such as Panasonic. This leaves my ultimate opinion of Hitachi to be entry-level, as their blacks are very grey in the P401 series (carries by Best Buy), even greyer than some LCD's I have seen (Samsung 71/81 series, XBR4/5). And they are traditional plasmas in the sense that image retention is more severe on that particular panel than others. I have also noted some serious processor articfacts and color banding, not very good. So although I am for plasma, I might look at other brands than Hitachi before making a final decision.