I've ruled out the panny commercial models as I would need to throw down an extra 500 for a table stand and hdmi or dvi board (and for that price one could probably find a 50inch 60u).
Ok, so now I'm down to:
42px60u or 42px6u (consumer panny's) - very good picture, very bad clayface on vivid, still some noticeable clayface in normal and with all settings turned down. Moreover, the bezel makes me want to cry. Who designs these things?
Samsung 4253 - good picture, good bezel - people have said blacks aren't as deep, but in my local hi-fi store (with a dark viewing room) the blacks were completely indistinguishable from the panasonic next to it. Colors are a little more punchy, a little less realistic - which I suppose is a matter of taste. Couldn't see clayface with settings turned down, but I keep reading that it's been a problem w/ these sets. But on the plus side, the bezel isn't gag-inducing.
and a dark-horse candidate: the new costco 50-inch maxent 50hpm20. Same pricepoint as those above on their best days, and the box claims Japanese made glass (which unless I'm mistaken narrows it down to Panasonic or Toshiba-made). I am, however, a little worried about everything else (processor, longevity, etc). I know "nobody ever regrets going bigger" - but what about this case?
Someone push me into one of these camps. I want to pull the trigger today :)