I'm seriously considering plonking down ~$4k on a new TV, and want to make the right decision. I've currently got a ~5 year old 46" Sony Bravia that was top of the line in it's day, but with the more recent advent of good HD source material something larger is now quite attractive.
I've done quite a bit of reading, and it seems as if what I'm after is one of the new Panasonic VT/GT/ST plasmas in the 55"~65" range.
My problem - having traipsed all over town looking at the various options I'm left unsure as to whether it's actually worth doing this upgrade. I've read great things about these TVs, but what I've seen leaves me concerned that it would actually be a backward step. Why?
* The screens are highly reflective, although the VT is slightly less so than the others
* The sets I've seen in the shops appear to be woefully set up, and/or are playing pretty bad source material. After some careful tuning, my TV at home looks better than most I've seen on display, which is a bit of a worry.
* Our living room is quite bright in summer, and although there won't be direct sunlight on the screen I'm concerned about brightness and reflections.
I've looked at LED LCDs, which next to the plasmas make them look rather dull, but they all exhibit two of my issues with my Bravia - poor off-axis performance, and disappointing black levels.
If I was buying HiFi equipment it would be easy, as I have a good relationship with a local speciality shop that lets me "borrow" equipment to test at home, knowing full well that I'll generally be back on Monday paying for it.
I appreciate that this might not be as easy with TVs, being larger and more delicate items, but they'd certainly be more likely to get a sale out of me if they'd give me time to set the things up properly, and try it my environment.
Having talked to quite a few "salespeople" over the last few weeks it's pretty obvious that (with one possible exception) I've done a lot more homework than they have, and that they're really not that helpful. For example none have offered to demo alternative source material or display modes, or suggest that I bring something back to try.
Suggestions & advice welcome.