I know nothing will compare with the Pioneer. I have the 50 inch plasma, that I bought in October of 2006. I purchased a 4 year warranty with it. I used to have the 12 blinking lights with shut down a couple times a week. I never called service, as it was only an inconvenience. I would turn the set back on, and all was OK for another half of week.
As stated, since the digital switchover (I have on over the air antenna as a backup to cable) I have not had the issue.
As far as a new set, I think if I had to start all over today, I would be looking at the Sony LCD sets. Pricy, but to date these are the only sets I have seen that I thought "wow, this is even better than my Pioneer". At the time it was the XBR series. That was a while ago though, and I am sure the models have changed since then. When I got the Pioneer, plasma was still the way to go. LCD has come a long way since then.
Good Luck, and check back and let me know how it goes!!