i'm still enjoying my ptl500 also. with only ~900 hours on it in 6 years (july 8, '04) it's still bright enough to hurt my eyes on bright scenes.
re new pjs in ~$2500 range (or any other price range), i haven't kept track of very many new pjs.
altho, mitsubishi pjs seem to be pretty popular and reliable. i may go with one of their 1080p jobs eventually.
in the meantime, i'm quite happy with the 500.
i also watch some movies on my LCD flat panel so it helps keep pj lamp hours down.