If you're looking for the best picture for the least amount of money, you can't go past the Panasonic ST50. While it might cost a little more than $1,000 online, it has better picture quality than the best TV of 2011 -- and it cost more than $2,000 at the time! While you can get (marginally) better TVs than this, none of them is as good a value as the ST50.
If you're looking to go the whole hog, and want a TV that's ridiculously tricked out, then the ES8000 is your boy. While 2D performance is lacking, this is one of the best sets available for 3D viewing.