Samsung (now the largest maker)
Vizio (hard charger has come on strong with good product - they design & specify - production is contracted)
Philips & Toshiba a little lower on my list as well as Mitsubushi. Same with RCA.
Most non-name brands now have fatal flaws such as no repair support or customer support in general.
Nowadays Westinghouse is NOT a name brand.
I won't even attempt to list most non-name brands. Yeah, WalMart sells some real off brand stuff cheaply.
As to your observation about store sets looking disappointing after awhile, note the big box stores usually set controls initially for way too much brightness & contrast - thinking they impress that way. Then, in general, big box store sets are more prone to curious fingers of browsers, so you don't know how it is out of proper setting.
Contrast those looks with stops at small, independent stores where they are likely set up properly. It makes a difference. Also to note; at first extra brightness might seem better, but looking at their instructions, when present, proper viewing may seem a tad duller because of brightness being set back a bit.