Recommend LCD / plasma TV ?

I've been looking at 26" LCD TV's. Can anyone recommend a reliable brand with a good quality picture?
The salesman recommended Samsung or Phillips. They also carry Polaroid, Sony, Panasonic, and Magnavox. All seen to have the same 1,300 x 780 resolution, even the 32" have the same resolution.
Personally, I'd put the Panasonic and Sony as first and second, with Samsung a close third. I wouldn't even bother with the others.
i have been very satisfied with a samsung 32 inch lcd tv. you may need to experiment with line cords and a power conditioner to get the most of your tv. it is also important to provide a quality interface between cable or satellite receiver and tv. hdmi is best. otherwise consider component interface.
You gotta LOOK at the picture!
Insist on getting a good DVD player connected to the panel you are interested in.. bring a great, detailed movie or two. Watch them.
I waffled between several panels until I watched the Sony 42" Plasma (now discontinued) I bought. The color and clarity sold that plasma to me.
The places with 500 cable connections that all suck should be pased by for a dealer that can really let you SEE what the panel can offer.
And try to see the 'over the air' signal in digital tuner models. The mass market stores can't!!!!!!
elizabeth makes a great point - I bought a pioneer elite partly because it had the best non high def picture - some of the others were really horrible. Also I mostly watch sports and when it gets busy the elite had less of the distortion. If you are spending good money make sure you get what you want even if it costs alittle more
After researching 40" LCD's, I'd say stick with the Sony. Don't get too caught up in looking at the picture in the store....unless they have been calibrated correctly. That will make or break a TV.
Many of my friends who work in the TV business use the Panasonic Professional Series plasma displays. I'd stick with these or the Sony products.

However, the smallest Panasaonic Pro is 37".
There are many good models out there when compared to just a few years ago. Sony's highest quality LCD was made by samsung which will now offer it under there own name this coming year and probably for less money. As for plasma displays, the new panasonics and pioneers look great and so do some of the LG models. I was told that it pays to get the plasma panels etc. professionally calibrated to see just how good they are. I believe only 2 or 3 companies produce the plasma panels for all the different brands. I believe they just rebadge and tune them with different quality scalers and electronics.
Thanks. Elizbeth, I compared the 1,300 brightness (Polaroid?) with the 4,000 brightness rato Samsung and couldn't really tell a difference with HD-DVD.
The smaller 26 and 32" all seem to be LCD. I've only heard of plasma in the bigger sizes.

Heres the Panasonic;
This has become a mind boggling experience in going from store to store and trying to get the best tv for the money. I too am looking for a 42 inch with the best HD. The best warranty and the best price. Take me to the leader
I just bought a 50" Panasonic plasma, and can share some relevant experience.

If you watch DVDs you will not be disappointed with this plama. But - SD is pretty messy with lots of noise and ugly stuff, and HD cable even is quite variable in quality. Some channels will look great (though with some noise if you look for it) and others are still quite fuzzy.

Movies are great.
SD is pretty messy with lots of noise and ugly stuff, and HD cable even is quite variable in quality. Some channels will look great (though with some noise if you look for it) and others are still quite fuzzy.
Isn't it interesting how this mirrors audiophile systems insofar as faults of the source become more apparent as the playback system becomes more resolving?

It's a primary reason why I have not made the change from my standard def Sony XBR CRT.
One aspect I have noticed in looking in stores:
All the bigger LCD panels get blurry in motion events. Far more than the Plasma screens.
Anyone else notice this?
Sharp and Sony lead the way in LCDs.
Their new High Def TVs are being released.
Better contrast, viewing angles, faster response.
LCDs have less glare and are catching up or surpassing Plasmas.
If you go with Plasma, the Pannasonic and Pioneer are tops.
A lot depends on the actual signal being supplied. Some hd channels have a fair amount of up-converted SD material. not a pretty picture (pun intended). But on my 42" Fujitsu, native HD is stunning. SD is only fair, mostly because the picture has to be stretched. HD content expanding on Comcast cable pretty much every month. If you like sports or premium cable channels its just amazing. lots of times we sit and gawk at the picture. But of course "faults of the source become more apparent as the playback system becomes more resolving" is of course true. But most of us just go back and upgrade the source. If you live in an area where you can get OTA HD, you've got it made. if not, then you have to evaluate what cable or satelitte can provide.
hitachi 37HLX99, its 37" though but well worth the cost
You may want to wait a bit until LCD's and Plasmas with 1080p native resolution are more prevelant to take advantage of the new higher resolution disc formats, well at least the Blu-Ray format. These sets are beginning to trickle in. I think Pioneer is the first to offer a plasma with true 1080p res, but it's 10K. I know Samsung is offering LCD's with 1080p (saw them in Crutchfield catalog) but they're also very $$$$.

I just went down this road and bought a 30" Sony XBR HD tube, which is amazing coming from a conventional set. I picked it up used, in anticipation of getting a plasma with 1080p eventually when the prices come down to Earth.
i'm with sammie-- the 1080p sets are just around the corner ,and word is that after x-mas, prices will come down as well, significantly.

but if you must have one today, the samsungs grabbed my attention at january's ces. very vivid colors.
I just bought a Samsung LNS4692D (46" LCD) and really like it. I decided against the 1080p version, which is indeed already available, since I was under the impression that it will be a couple of years down the road before media with this resolution is available. This might have been a bad decision... (Does Blu-Ray have 1080p resoulution?)

Anyway, this Samsung LCD seems to be great for HD content, good for SD and excellent for DVDs so I am happy.

Enjoy your research!