Back in the market again and after some initial reseach could use the collective wisdom of the all-knowing Backroom. The general parameters:
Size: The wall on which it'll eventually be hung is 57" wide. That pretty much limits me to a screen size of 55" (51" width) or smaller.
Price: Goal is to stay under $1,000 sticker price, but may be able to go up to $1200 if absolutely necessary.
Type: I don't have a strong preference plasma vs. LED, but personally think the plasmas have a slightly better picture quality.
Extras: 3D isn't necessary - nice if it's there but not a feature I'm willing to pay extra for. The SMART functionality (built in WiFi with Netflix, MLB, YouTube, etc) again is nice but not a deciding factor.
Additional info: The room does have two large windows on the adjacent wall and gets a lot of natural light, so washout is a legitimate concern.
I'm think the leader at the moment is the Panasonic 50" ST50 model ($989) at Best Buy, although I'm tempted by the 55" model in the same line ($1120). It's CNET's Editor's Choice Award Winner for 2012 plasma TVs.
The other option is the Vizio 55" LED from Costco ($850). This one is the slightly bigger size has the more attractive price, but I'm concerned re Vizio vice Panasonic as a brand, the LED vice plasma picture quality, that this one only has a 120Hz refresh rate where the new ones are up to 600Hz, and that this one doesn't have a light filter for bright rooms like mine.
Anyone want to weigh in on either of these two options or recommend another model in this ballpark that I should look at? Thanks!