Hi PTMD ,
Here is what I would do , if you can wait until the price drops on the Sony XBR`s.
4th of July and Labor Day there are always sales , and that is when football season starts , so there will be sales.
Also black friday to think about , I know this does not help you now , but given your budget , if you can wait , it might work to your advantage
I have always liked Sony , and when the PS4 and there catalog of Blue-Rays goes Ultra Hi-Def , I do believe you will see the current XBR`s have a drop in price.
If you need one now , I would look to Panasonic , but stay away from Toshiba and LG as well.
It is really a tuff year to buy a tv , not a whole lot of really good stuff out there , except for the XBR`s , and you really can`t go wrong with an XBR.
Like I said , if I would have had the room , I would have bought the 55" Sony XBR in a heart beat !
Take care and best of luck