I have had a 42" Panasonic for a couple of years, and it is great, and was not too expensive. At the moment it appears that Panasonic leads the pack.
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I own a Samsung sp-p4251 plasma and a Samsung hlp5685 dlp. I know the plasma is a enhanced version. Our family tends to watch the dlp more I personaly like the piture on the dlp better we are hooked up to HD cable on both. In my quest for a plasma to me the one that was the referance to all plasma`s is the Pionier Elite if you can swing the price of that one you will have the best David
I think the typical PQ hierarchy puts Fujitsu at the top, Pioneer Elite next, with Panasonic and commercial Pio's as PQ for $ leaders. The Fuji and Pio Elites are in the cost-no-object camp. I had an 42" ED Panny plasma and liked it a lot. I'd second Mainiac's rec to visit http://www.avsforum.com's plasma forum--lots of good tech info and their sponsors typically provide some additional discounting if you go non-brick and mortar.
Plasma over DLP. AS far as brands, Fujitsu uses the same glass as panasonic( meaning the embedded pixel structure as well) but uses a better de-interlacing chipset for instance. However, if you have a great DVD player, this is a moot point. AS far as comparing Pio Elite to a Panny, the "best choice" depends on your viewing environment. In rooms with Ambient light, the Pio Elite is an excellent choice. If you watch TV/Movies in the dark, then the black levels on the Panny make it the better choice as more detail is resolved in darker scenes, assuming correctly adjusted settings.