I have a rule - assuming an item of some cost consequence (i.e. not an easy write off) if an item is hard for me to return and/or potentially prone to issues for reason to return, I try to go local. The harder an item is to return and the more prone to potential issues the more the discount needs to be for me to risk online/shipped.
For an item like a large screen plasma it would need to be a substantial savings i.e. $350+ on a $2K display to even make me think about it. I went with amazon for my VT60, that had the last real stock depth and the price was $500+ less than supposed local (couldn't even really find one). My preference would be Sears as their terms have been very good in the past with respect to deliver and demoing a unit in the home. Pansasonic shipping boxes were monsters too so I was really glad I went with them.
My 2 cents but I think this works.
Panasonic 65" VT60 (calibrated by Jeff Meier), Marantz 6005, Kef Q towers/rears Kef Reference center, Win 7 Pro with XBMC, Harmony Ultimate One
Xbox Live: Arbitrage XXL