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I finally took a late and long lunch today to make the rounds at my local A/V shops to see the best and brightest of what is out there. This is my first trip since purchasing the Tosh LCoS last March, but I have been thrown back into the hunt (tentatively) given problems with the set and the potential that the 2003 line won't be coming any time soon.

So, first I went to my favorite Tweeter and took a gander at the latest Sammy DLPs, plus got a bonus view of the Phillips LCoS.

The 56" Sammy DLP is *much* better than anything I have seen out of the Sammys so far. It was a bright and crisp picture. The only thing I saw was HD, and forgot to ask to see some SD, so I don't know if some of the reported SD quality problems are still in place; however, I didn't see the kind of "dithering" that I had seen before on Sammys when viewing moving scenes over grass, etc. I also love the thin bezel design.

The Phillips LCoS was rather sucky. The set in the store at least had a purple tint to the coloring. I don't know whether this was inherent in the set, a setting problem, or a problem with the bulb. I did notice that the set seemed to be having trouble keeping up with the image changes -- perhaps due to the slower switch rate of LCoS and the need to render three colors in fast succession.

Bad news: I felt the familiar "dizzy head" feeling when getting in my car that I get whenever I watch DLP-based sets. Sucks! Someone claimed that this will go away over time....

Okay, my final destination was the StarPower store, which happens to be the sole location of the mystical rumored Optoma DLP set. They had both the 50" and the 65" on display. I spent most of my time looking at the 65". The first thing I liked is that it is a floor-standing model and has a mostly-black decor. Just a personal thing. The image itself was very good on HD. I would say that it was brighter than the Sammy and somewhat "deeper" as well. On SD material (ESPN-SD) the set was okay. My primary comparison point here is with the Tosh LCoS, which has an excellent SD picture. On the Optoma there was noticable graininess and things like scores in the top corner of the screen were slightly blurred. Of course this was a component signal split a dozen ways, so my set at home with a dedicated S-Video connection for the same content might have a slight edge.

So, IF I had to jump off the Tosh LCoS today what would I choose? The Sammy DLP was very nice and would save me $3K off the LCoS and $1K off the Optoma. Of course I would have to buy a stand which would cut somewhat into that. The Sammy also would be free of concerned for long term maintainability, given its broad market presence. The Optoma DLP fits the form factor I am looking for better, had a better picture, was 9" bigger, and has the coolness factor of being a set that almost no one will have. The downside to the last item is that it could potentially be hard to maintain over time. The downside of both sets is that they make me dizzy.

So, my best answer still would be for Toshiba to fix their LCoS problems and supply me with a new set. We shall see....
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