Best bang for the buck now is Panasonic when you consider how great the black levels are. Even someone who's not a massive videophile per se could pick up a S1 on the cheap and be able to afford a professional calibration for less than one of the 'good' fully backlit LED LCDs. OTOH, one strong suit of the Pios is the incredible video processing under the hood. SD from a lowly Sat or Cable box can look *incredible* on their HDTVs IME and O.
Overall though beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A Panny might not always suit your taste or HT space. I like Sammy colors as well.
I have been watching HDTV's for the last few years. The Pioneer PDP5070 seemd to be the best for the dollar. Then the 5080, then Pioneer went to the 5010 and 5020 series. Currently the 50 inch screens are very expensive and don't rate as high as the older sets. I can find the 5010fd's for $1500(NEW), that seems like the best price for the best plasma screen right now. I know some of the Panasonics have very good ratings, but what is your opinion on this?