There's an interesting new article at CNET. Essentially, their TV reviewer (David Katzmaier) says that, as far as 2D-only sets, the best has already been. That is, if someone is looking at getting the best 2D-only set, he better pick up a 2010 model. This year, all the best sets will be 3D compatable, because that's where the manufacturers put their best features and performance now. Here's some quotes:
"TV makers build 3D into their higher-end TVs, and higher-end TVs usually have better picture quality."
"Also, if you are considering waiting for a "2D-only" 2011 TV, it'll probably be a worse performer than 2010 versions below (for example, no 2D-only full-array local-dimming LEDs will ship in 2011). With the addition of 3D to even lower price/features points in manufacturers' lineups, non-3D TVs will be pushed down further toward the entry-level."
"That's not a big deal if you just want a lower-end TV, but if you're willing to pay a bit more for a better 2D picture in 2011, it's likely you'll be getting 3D, too--along with the video streaming, a nonmatte screen, etc. For better or for worse, TV makers don't put their best picture quality into stripped-down models."
It's interesting to note that nonmatte screens are mentioned as coming with these "higher end" 3d sets. The nonmatte screens on the Vizio 3D sets have been mentioned as being faster and necessary for the 3D. Those who have bemoaned the nonmatte screen on the 554 should take heart! As I have mentioned before, it's reasonable to think that here had to be a reason for the switch away from the matte 553 screen, and that reason must have to do with an improved picture. All in all, although I paid more for it, I'm happy I got the 554 rather than the 553. Although the 553 is a great set, I'm convinced that there were some improvements made in the 554. The comment made above by another poster regarding improved performance on the 554 with respect to blooming was very interesting. I have no way to confirm that myself, but of course I hope this is correct. Given the higher refresh rate, different screen, etc. - there have to be some performance differences with the 554.
Also, it appears there are fewer problems with the 554, doesn't it? Granted the 554 is a newer model, but still, looking at the huge 553 thread and its comments, compared to this 554 thread, it would seem there are far fewer problems mentioned with the 554.