Thanks Randy. The reviews I've read so far on the Panasonics are very encouraging. I had dropped by Best Buy this afternoon (before seeing your reply), and the only guy back there was the Sony rep. Guess what he was pushing? Yup, the Sony's with the new "Bravia" technology. Anyway, the problem with viewing displays at the store is they're never set up properly. They send a single movie or tv station split between multiple televisions, so you don't get a clear idea of how good the image is. Plus, I've heard they will calibrate the more expensive sets to look better so they can sell them (makes sense).
But back to the sets you mentioned. I told my bro about them, and he wasn't sure he wanted a plasma because he thinks they use a lot more power than the LCDs. I'm not sure on that, further research will be needed. But when you start getting about a certain screen size, the LCDs become more expensive than the plasmas. With the LCDs you need to be aware of judder (or jutter) and the higher end models can take care of that but again cost more (I have the Samsung A650, which has been great but wasn't cheap).
The 720p set is about $100 less than the 1080p at Amazon. I'd be inclined to the 1080p, but I'm not sure my brother and his people would notice the difference. But they do watch a lot of DVDs, and I'd prefer they have the best resolution they can get. And if they do switch to HD programming, I want the best resolution for that too.