This may have been posted already, I have not read this whole thread, but I was speaking to the Sony guy over by all of the LCD TVs. He said that the Z series is not the top of the line set and that XBR is and always will be. I asked a lot of questions about how Sony has exited the rear projection market and there is nothing there to fill that void. I asked if they are worried about those customers going to Samsung or any of the other television manaufacturers that still offer moderately priced sets in the 50-65" range. He said that was one of the things sony considered when making that decision. He also eluded to the fact that there might be a larger XBR set with reasonable pricing announced later this year to fill that void, but on many of his answeres he just smiled and said said " I can not comment on that". This was also in response to if the new XBR sets would have LCD back lighting.
Another interesting player in this could be the new Panasonic plasma sets. They looked really good at the CES show, are getting much thinner, power consumption is dropping, but are still Plasma sets. They also said the price will be dropping a lot this year. I am not a fan of plasma at all, but they looked REALLY good and had some very nice specifications. There were also a lot of sets at the the show that also looked great, and every one had some sort of auto motion control for a smoother picture when the picture moves.
I hope Sony announces something soon to fill the void or customers will be going somewhere else to find what they need.