Hey man, I'm looking to buy a Plasma for that same reason as you, as well as for watching sports.
Anyways, Paul's TVs has like 15 or so Panasonic 42" UT50's left in stock. I already put an order for mine. The UT50 I heard is a real winner this year, and it's around $700 so it certainly satisfies your budget. I'd definitely look into those if you haven't.