Well, I made a decision. A good deal of the reason just comes from being tired of doing research. I started just running in circles. I ordered Direct TV awhile ago (weeks), and the rep thought it was weird I was scheduling installation so far in advance. But I wanted ample time to find a TV I loved. It really came down to a few sets. I never considered any of the beautiful plasmas I saw because I fear burn in/image retention like i do bees. Here are the few I considered.
Sony KDL - W - 802 A - Out of the few sets that I looked at in person, this was the most impressive. The model was a 55" in store, but the one I'd buy was 47". The blacks looked great on the trailers they were running (Star Trek), and the during the HD nature demos, I was extremely impressed by the textures. It looked a helluva lot better than the Samsung LNT or LNA I had at home from several years back. The cnet review really limited my enthusiasm for this one despite how great it looked.
Sony BRAVIA KDL55HX750 - Overall, this is the best TV that I read about online. I was not able to see this in person, as the numerous stores I went too said Sony stopped shipping these out, and the only way would be to order it off amazon, etc.. I probably would have ordered this if I could have found one that didn't take a week to deliver (third party sellers). Impatience got the best of me here, as well as being a little uncomfortable buying something I haven't seen in person.
The one I went with:
Samsung UN55F6400 - This set was near the Sony 802A, but I opted to go with the bigger screen size. I was impressed by how thin the actual TV was, and when they popped in a blu-ray, and later put on an NHL game, I felt like I was sold. It will be interesting to see how it looks in my room (only 1 window), and was as how games play on it (PS3). It looked crystal clear, but again, I still don't know what to look for. Like if someone were to smell the cork after a bottle of wine is presented to them at a restaurant (ultimately, a pointless but popular habit), they don't know they ways of wine like I don't know what ways of HDTV's.
I will say for anyone that is looking for an HDTV, it really, really helps to play around with the set at a store (kudos to the poster who suggested that). Spending 3-4 hours a day researching, watching video reviews, surfing forums & youtube will start to feel counterproductive. It is a necessary part of the process though.
Hopefully I like it, and it will be delivered on Thursday. Now comes the question on whether to wall mount it, but I am leaning towards not doing that.