Since moving about two years ago, I haven’t bothered replacing my projector. However, we just gave away our last SDTV (32″ JVC) and moved the 30″ CRT HDTV into the bedroom. So we’re looking at 40″ – 46″ LCDs for the living area. (New projector or larger higher-end set is on hold until the next move.) And I’ve got to say despite the bulk, I much prefer the picture quality of tube televisions. But they’re a dying breed (“microdisplay” projection sets will soon follow) and no one makes larger HDTV tubes anymore. LCDs just don’t handle fast motion (or black levels) like a CRT… and given our usage patterns (potential burn-in issues) a plasma is out of the question. The new Sony XBR4/5 and the Samsung 71/81 LCDs offer double the refresh rate (120Hz, versus 60), but it’s yet to be seen it this is a hack or a genuine improvement. Regardless, I can’t justify $3k on a 40″ screen. I’m most seriously looking at the 42/53 (720p) and 61/65/66 (1080p) Samsungs at the moment, but can’t say I feel great about watching sports on any of them. LCD quality just isn’t there yet. At least not at prices I’m comfortable with.
By the way, what’s the consensus on 720p versus 1080p on a 40″ LCD from 8′ away? The higher-end Samsungs do have a better video processor (10 bit), but I wonder if the higher screen resolution would be noticeable at that distance. Broadcast stuff is 720p or 1080i which I find equivalent, so the the question is – would there be a noticeable difference with 1080p content originating from my Xbox or high-def DVD player (which I don’t own yet). I’m leaning towards the 720p sets to save a few bucks, knowing that this will ultimately become the bedroom TV.