Originally Posted by innocentfreak
I figured I would bump this since I am in a similar situation. As of now this will be for SD Tivo on Directv. I will eventually be upgrading to HD once the new Directivos come out or around the same time switching to Fios so the end of this year or beginning of next. I will also be using my 360 and Wii on the set. The majority of viewing will be done direct but some will be off to the side depending on how many people are over since I have limited seating in the room. The seating is 8-10 feet from the set and the room is fairly bright due to sliding glass doors. Also the room is open with no real way to black it out since the kitchen and dining room are connected.
I would be replacing a JVC D-series 36 CRT so my primary goal is just to have a wider version without losing any screen height. If I should wait so I can raise my budget it is an option since I don't have any immediate plans to jump to HD and my sets work fine since the 36" will be replacing my 32" CRT JVC in my bedroom.
You seem to be right in the middle with most of those circumstances.
Lower end plasmas tend to handle SD sources better than lower end LCD's.
LCD's typically handle high ambient light/glare situations better than plasmas.
Plasmas generally have better viewing angles for off axis seating.
Conventional wisdom was that LCD's were better for the static images that gaming leaves on the screen for extended periods, but that seems to be less true with each generation of plasma. For serious gaming I would still look closely at the model of plasma you were considering, and it's potential for IR.
For casual gaming I think either technology would work for you.
At 8-10 feet the larger the screen size the better, within your budget.
Personally, I think at those screen sizes 720P is acceptable, unless you are getting 1080P at the same price, and not sacrificing other features or PQ.
Of the above suggestions the Samsung Plasma PN42B450 is brand new, and seems promising, once more is known about it. Of the new Samsung LCD's the LN40B530 I believe is close to the budget above, too. LG is wheeling out their 2009 plasma's and LCD's. The 42PQ30 plasma is worth a look. Panny TC- 42X1 plasma also. Hope that's of some help.