So my local Fry's is having a heck of a sale, I'm seriously considering finally diving in, with my wife's somewhat reluctant blessing (she hates to spend the money, but REALLY wants a flat panel).
Of course, what I REALLY want is either the 65VT30 or the Sharp Elite, but both are out of my price range (sub $2k).
I have a Mitsubishi 65" CRT-based HDTV now, and video quality has always been very important to me, particularly blacks.
I REALLY want to upgrade in size, especially since the screen will be farther from the sitting position. (my 65" Mits is over 2' deep, so a a 65" flat panel on the wall will look smaller) Since Panasonic has yet to come out with anything over 65" (ignoring that absurd 80" plasma that's like $16k), my only viable option for bigger is the Sharp 70" sets (and not the Elite, sadly, since I can't afford $8k either). I've been seeing some pretty good reports on them... blacks aren't as good as Plasma, but there are a lot of advantages. I worry most about motion quality, however. I believe Plasma has an edge over LCD there, and is closest to my beloved CRT for both motion and blacks.
I don't game. Or very rarely, anyway. I do listen to music, however, with an onscreen display, from various streaming sources (AppleTV, Denon AVR's built-in Pandora, etc.), so I worry a bit about burn-in/image retention with a Plasma. So the lower power consumption of LCD is attractive to me, along with being 100% burn-in-proof, for all practical purposes.
Should I stick with Panny plasmas, and just swallow the bitter pill of potential burn-in, higher energy consumption, and smaller screen size? Or go for the Sharp 70" (632), with worse (but probably still tolerable) black levels, worse motion, but larger screen, tiny power consumption, and no-worries about IR?
There's also 3D to consider... the Sharp doesn't offer 3D. The Panny does. I hate getting a set with no 3D, even though, honestly, I doubt I'll watch much 3D content. I suppose I could pick up two pairs of glasses at some point, but it's crazy to have to supply them to everyone for a viewing party, which is where it would be the most fun anyway.
There is about a $300 between the price of the two sets, with the Sharp being more expensive.
Both will be professionally calibrated, which is part of why I'm considering them. While out of the box differences (even after home calibration via DVE, WOW, etc) probably favor the plasma, I think that, once calibrated, the two screens will be a lot closer in quality. The plasma would still have the edge in VQ, but lose out in the other areas.
Posting this in the Plasma forum, I can almost predict the responses, but I thought it still might be worth seeking some opinions...