Glare is definitely an issue, depending on your viewing situation. Without it, the picture was amazing, to me, on the 81. In the BB stores, they have them positioned in such a way that I haven't seen the glare. Granted, this is in a darkened Magnolia viewing area (but not in their Studios, which they keep very dark).
I was thinking just yesterday -- all those decades of watching a CRT TV, and nobody EVER mentioned glare from those glass-covered sets. I guess people only notice it once we increase to a flat 37" or larger screen? Fortunately, to some extent, glare can be defeated. Greyish White cannot -- Plasmas hurt me there and I'm trying to figure out how to beat that.
But a huge winner, for me, was the viewing angle. One BB store had the 81 on a revolving mount (which I noticed carefully avoided any position that reflected anything) -- and the viewing angle as it rotated was incredible. That eliminates one of the big pitfalls of LCD -- guests sitting off to the side don't see as crisp a picture.
I have yet to see a Plasma that does not have glare -- or, worse yet, a greyish white. That dull white really bothers me more. I do read all the arguments between the Plasma fans vs LCD, but then I try to close my eyes in the stores and avoid looking at the brand names. When I open my eyes I scan across the wall to see which images look best. The past two weeks, I'm surprised to say that two stand out almost every time -- the 81 and the Toshiba Regza. Both are LCDs. The greyish cast on Plasmas affects every color tone for my eyes. I know I'm not testing these units scientifically -- I'm just reacting to what I see. I don't understand the descriptions that Plasma creates a more natural picture. How so? Does everyone live in haze-filled inner-cities? I would certainly love to see an ISF-adjusted set to see if that eliminates the grey haze from any Plasma. I have yet to read anything that explains just why Plasmas have this grey character to them. It just seems to be an accepted thing.
Having said that, there are quite a few nice sets out there. It is getting increasingly harder to state, emphatically, that this-or-that set blows away the competition. They have to REALLY stand out, now, to see the differences. One clear point, with me, is that the Samsung 81 is the very first HDTV showing a Blu-Ray image that has me actually considering buying a $500 Blu-Ray player (or any HD DVD unit) just to go along with it. That really surprised me! Heck, I'm searching for Lord of the Rings on Blu-Ray, now, in the hopes of settling down Christmas Eve with a big bowl of popcorn and watching it on a new 81 -- but it isn't out in Blu-Ray, as far as I can tell.
Maybe I'm addicted to a clean white, now. But even text on the LCD screens of the Toshiba and 81 looks better. I'm starting to follow the thinking of a few of the Members here that the deepest black is not the end-all it's cracked up to be. A set can have incredible blacks, but if the white looks grey -- what's the point? The clips they were playing made the women look like they had on grey pantaloons when viewed on the Plasmas. Plasmas -- and I'm trying really hard to like them -- look like they have a layer of grey film over them.
I still agree with Consumer Reports that the Panasonic plasmas offer a great value, but, possibly, only because I cannot find the Pioneer 5010FD on display. As a Purchasing Agent for a large graphics house, I have to do a lot of research into High-Def display units and get a lot of requests from associates on what HDTV to buy. I've usually recommended the Panasonic plasmas -- and those that have bought them still tell me two years later that they are very pleased.
After looking for two solid weeks, I still cannot find a Pioneer 5010FD actually on a wall and running. BB says they have them on display, but they can't find a store in the Washington, DC area that actually does. One Sales Rep said they have too many 720p sets remaining to display these. It won't happen, supposedly, until the beginning of November, although they have 150 in their warehouse. Makes no sense. Put the 5010FD on the wall -- then discount the 720p sets if you feel they'll suddenly stop selling.
Getting back to the original question -- Sony vs the Samsung -- the Sony had one of the most-natural images I had seen on LCD when you place it next to other LCDs in the store. The subtlety of color rendition, I think, is quite good. Flesh tones, in particular. But I gravitate to the Samsung 81 every time I see it. If I was concerned about glare, I'd choose the Sony between these two sets. If I wanted the best resolution and viewing angle, I'd choose the Samsung. If I plan on watching Blu-Ray or HD DVD -- Samsung.