O.K. I know this is a question with alot of variables, but I have been out of the game for a while in terms of tv technology both present and what is coming down the pipe. I am looking to purchase a flat panel or plasma (I am a bit weary of the burn in problems of plasma and the life span issues.) I am not a gamer and I realize plasma is out of the question for that. I also realize that most screens are made by a few companies in Asia and that black screen quality is an important factor. I also understand that contrast ratio is important and that lcd's have trouble with fast moving action. I assume that 1080p is the standard I should look for.
I am looking for a t.v. likely between 32-40" to go over my fireplace. I am leaning towards the 40" size (go figure) and I am thinking I can budget/stomach about $2500-3,000, but I don't have to spend that much and I am not hell bent on doing so. I don't know that I need the absolute best (but I wouldn't be upset, either.) I also am not sure if 40" is too large, but my viewing distance straight on is about 17'. I'm not hugely concerned about off angle viewing since this is all about me.....
What company or companies and corresponding models are commonly thought to produce the best all around product when considering bang for the buck? I consider picture quality, reliability, and price as the most important factors. I am not looking for the cheapest set with the largest screen. Are the off brand sets a good idea or even worth a damn? I am not one to buy an unknown brand. I would sacrifice some picture quality for a reliable set.
I know that there are some newer developments in the high def arena that will offer even better pictures, such as an HD player, but I don't know much about that and I want to be able to take advantage of that technology. I would like a t.v. that is HD ready (unless someone tells me otherwise) and that might not be obsolete in the immediate future. It seems that Toshiba and Panasonic are highly regarded as usual as are the Aquos sets. Phillips? Sony's always cost more, but are they actually better? Anyone looking to drop some knowledge of any kind as far as what to look for in plasma and lcd flat panels would be greatly appreciated. Technical stuff would be great as well. Suggestions on sites to find good deals and compare prices would be welcome. THANKS
EDIT: I have just read this past link and have had some light shed. I am still open to anything further not addressed.