My mom in the span of one week had both her old 36" CRTs die. As a result I am looking to buy a TV today. Originally she was getting my old unused CRTs, but of course her last TV died the weekend no one is around to help move them. As a result I am trying to help pick out a TV for her bedroom. The living room has to wait because of a built in entertainment center that at max can hold a 36" CRT. This is going to be addressed at which point I plan on putting a 55-58" Plasma out there.
The largest she can go is 50" since the space is only 50" wide at most. Also anything larger is overkill for her bedroom since most of her viewing is done in the living room.
It looks like the Panny 50ST50 isn't available locally from Best Buy, and HHGregg looks like they no longer carry Panasonic. Sears says they have one in stock, but their inventory tracker is usually unreliable. I tend to prefer dealing with Best Buy over Sears also.
Best Buy does have the U50 and UT50 in stock. It looks like the main difference is the U50 doesn't have 3D which would be fine since she will never use it. I just don't know picture wise if there is a big difference. I don't know that she would notice coming from a CRT anyway.
I haven't shopped TVs since I bought my 58V10 so I don't know what Samsung offers. It looks like they mainly have 51" sets which with bezel look to be around 47-48" so it would be a tight fit.
She will probably watch a mix of HD and SD unless I upgrade her TV package. She has my old HD TiVos and at least gets the local channels in HD via FiOS. I think she could renew her contract and get all HD channels with their new bottom package though.
If it was your mother, what would you do?