Originally Posted by ctviggen
Why not a 720p? Do they make 1080p plasma TVs in the 42 inch size? (I don't want to go bigger than about 42 inches.)
Nobody makes a 1080p Plasma under 50 inches anymore. Panasonic made one earlier this year (TC-P42UT50) but they discontinued it early due to lack of interest from all but a few retailers. Sears recently bought up the remaining inventory but those may all be gone by now.
Also, I've been reading that plasmas tend to be more reflective than LCD/LED tvs.
Not quite true - some Plasmas have excellent Anti-Reflective Filters while others (the low end models) do not have an AR Filter and are much more reflective. Alternately, up till a few years ago pretty much all of the LCD TVs had non-reflective matte screens but the recent trend with LCD TVs and especially the LED LCD TVs is that they now have glossy non-matte screens to add Plasma-like depth, but that results in them being even more reflective than most of the Plasmas are. There are very few current LCD or LED LCD TVs with matte screens this year.
All of the 2012 Samsung and Panasonic Plasmas in the 42" size have glossy reflective screens. If you need it to have an AR Filter, you'll have to bump it up to a 50" Panny ST50/GT50 or 51" Sammy E6500/E7000/E8000 Plasma.
In real terms, how much does this make a difference? I'll be using this TV in a living room that gets afternoon sun.
Afternoon sun has always been challenging for any TV (even Plasmas with AR Filters and even matte-screen LCD TVs) but obviously it's worse with tube TVs, and those Plasma and LED/LCD models that do not have AR Filters or matte screens. Current Plasmas are bright enough to punch through the light in a bright room if you're watching sports, but during dark scenes of a movie etc a glossy screened TV will be reflective like a dark mirror.
Reflectivity is a mixed bag these days - it's hard to tell from websites and forums if a particular TV will be too reflective for a particular room or environment so it's important to go to stores and look at the screen of any TV you're considering and see if it has a glossy screen or not, and examine how it handles bright overhead lighting, banks of storefront windows or other TV screens behind you both during bright and dark scenes. But in the end, if a room is excessively bright then any TV will look poor to some extent or another.