Frankly, I do not see much of an issue with almost any latest sets. They are all great. Differences are really miniscule and if you up to watching and enjoying the movies, not watching how the set performs they all do the job, at least the top tier. I also stopped and choosing between Pr 5020 and Pan 800U. Samsungs are great but I think they are still catching up with big guys - they excel in one feature and screw up in another, too uneven.
And I think I am starting to lean toward Pan. That is why:
Some testers give Pan a little bit of an edge over Pioneer (particularly with color accuracy, evennes of an image, etc.). Some (mostly none-professsional viewers) prefer Pioneer. Well, I watched one day HD translation over the Sharp LCD. It was absoulitely great. Next day I went to the store and watched side by side Pioneer and Panasonic, the same transmission. Long time. No frigging difference! If somebody put a gun to my head and demanded to tell a difference I would be forced to say that er.. sort of.. hmm.. maybe Pioneer had a little darker darks. Did it make the picture better? No. They were both razor sharp, popping colors, beautiful. And I can not tell they were better than Sharp I was watching yesterday. And if not then what the f do I care what some tester with $40K equipment was able to discern? Pioneer had an inaccurate basic colors (per CNET review)? What colors? They looked perfectly accurate to me. Flicker on Pan? OK, my concern is to enjoy movies with minimum troubles, I am not going to nug butons every time I watch the movie trying to perfect the image so it is going to be set once and for all on one single setting that is the best. Period. Whatever it is that does not produce any flikkers. ANd I dare anybody to watch one set and then another set, both properly calibrated and tell me one has better picture than another overall.
Now, one thing is important to me too - aesthetics. And to me Pioneer looks more balanced and upscaled, true minimalist design. Panasonic got this flowing front panel that destroys rectangular shape and the materials look a little simpler. But not on $800 difference. I would probably pay $200 for teh better Pioneer design but to save $800... Panasonic will work for me I think. Also, Pioneer is engineering and innovation oriented company who gets most of the money by selling patents to others, its not consumer oriented company. So, you need customer service? Good luck. Part of it also is a very short warranty.
But as to picture quality - do not watch for differences, black levels, invisible flickers, etc, if you are not going to work as a home made tester. Better just watch the movie and you wont see any.