So I was really set on buying the Samsung XX71 or XX69 last month, but have been traveling for 3-4 weeks so I didn't look into biting till after since I couldnt enjoy it anyways, also the tail end of my travels end at CES this week.
Anyways, I figured Id see how I felt after CES and hope that the 69/71 would drop in price after CES if nothing wowed me
Well the Toshibas wowed me. The 540's and 550s were both fantastic looking televisions and may have swayed my purchase towards them. Talking to the representative he said the only differences between the 540 and 550 is the thinner bezel and the 550 doesn't have the 4th HDMI port on the side. Also the 550 has better speakers according to him. Not sure if all that necessarily warrants the 300 dollar premium on the 50s over the 40s, but time will tell I suppose.
Overall the display quality was great, the 120Hz implementation looked quite nice though no sports were playing to see TBE, the colors with the wide gamut were very vibrant and the contrast ratio and 14 bit processing/10 bit panels left quite nice black levels IMO. The 6/7 Series Samsungs honestly looked equally good, but their bezels were massive, especially compared to the 550, and the quality was quite comparable. I personally liked the look of the 42" 540 alot more than the 40" 550, though the 40"550 fits into a 37in LCD's spot, and the 42 is only slightly smaller than typical 42. When it comes to the 46" and 52" though the panels were pretty much impossible to differentiate aside from the bezels.
The only thing still missing from the Toshiba's still for me is taking 1080p component, as the floor person said they still are limited to 1080i on it (though that is the max the true spec calls for). Still 3/4 HDMI ports is nice, and it might be worth selling my old 360 and grabbing an HDMI one if I had to.