I haven't posted on this thread in years. I've had this TV for Many Years of Trouble Free Entertainment! Purchased mine brand new from Costco. Even Though I Now have the Latest Top of the Samsung E8000 64" Plasma Also Amazing Display. I cant bring myself to get rid of this thing its that good with the Right Lamp.
So to answer our question it Makes A Huge Difference what lamp you use I have tried the So Called Better made German Lamps. The difference is Night & Day Pun Intended.
My hand was forced because the DLP chip died in my Sammy. If you want to stick with DLP (which is still the best size / $$ ratio) your only option is Mitsubishi as far as I know. I think it's sad that all the other vendors have dropped their DLP lines.
I have the Mitsubishi WD-73740 73-Inch 1080p (2011 model) and I have no complaints. Feature-wise it beats the Sammy... but picture quality wise I think the Sammy had a slight edge.
If you are looking to change technology and go with a flat panel, I think Samsung makes some of the best, but don't go overboard on getting their highest tier. From what I have read you are paying for how thin it is, and not how great it is. So you can step down a couple of notches and come out cheaper with even better PQ. But nothing LCD/LED is going to come close to the value of a DLP. 73" is now considered the "small" size for DLP. The other two sizes are 82" and 92": http://mitsubishi-tv.com/
I have narrowed it down between the Panasonic TC-65PS64. 65 inch plasma for $1300 is almost to hard to pass up. However I will be losing 2 inches. My other option in the new 70 inch Vizio M series. I want a 70 inch. However it is $1000 more and doesn't have as good of picture quality as the Panasonic Plasma.
Just curious why you are not considering a 73" Mitsubishi? It will be as cheap as the Panasonic (or maybe even less... I paid $999 for mine which was a referb) and still have the benefits of a huge 1080p screen, 3D support, and all the bells and whistles.