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I would recommend going to an enthusiast forum for this type of hardware questions. You can try the avs forums (

Furthermore, if you are waiting until end of the year, you shouldn't be checking this out now, as a) prices are going to drop for the holidays, b) new models will come on the scene, making the ones you are looking at now outdated, and c) there apparently are new technologies (read: neither LCD nor plasma) that should drop prices for the "old" technology.

As for your "is LCD better than plasma", there are two main considerations:

LCD are not "known" to have a half-life (they haven't been around 10+ years to really know if pixels will die over time); plasmas, although having improved their longevity, still are susceptible to dimming. LCDs have a bulb that dims over time, but these can be replaced, unlike plasma.

The other consideration is: what are your viewing habits? If you normally do your channel surfing in a brightly-lit room, consider an LCD; conversely, consider a plasma. Having said that, the new technology on the horizon supposedly resolves these issues.

Whenever people talk about recommending flat panels by dropping names such as Sony, Samsung, and so on, take it with a grain (a spoonful, even) of salt: 90% of flatscreen TVs made today have panels provided by one of three major manufacturers, so in most cases, it's not who makes the TV, but what panels (and their quality) they are using. Software (what drives the image processing) is very important as well, but in terms of the screen itself, you should aim for a zero-pixel-defect warranty for your TV. By this alone, you are guaranteed to have one of the very best panels out there. Basically, companies like Samsung and Sony don't offer this type of warranty (at least not where I live) because they are not using the best grade screens on their TVs; obviously, offering such a warranty implies the panel has to be perfect, and perfection has its price.

To give you an example, my panel offers zero-pixel defect warranty for the first year, then 3 pixels defect tolerance for years 2-3. Other panels may arrive at your doorstep with, say, 2 dead pixels and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, because it is "within tolerance". It will also drive you nuts looking at those dead pixels every day!

If you are a image quality nut, you should definitely get a TV that allows you to adjust RGB values independently so you can fine-tune the picture to perfection with color-calibration DVDs (which can be bought for around 20 quid). Avoid gimmicky stuff like DNIe because they artifically adjust the color and are features that cannot be turned off.

Again, this is probably the wrong place to discuss, not that it doesn't belong, but because you will find much, much more relevant information at the aforementioned website, not to mention extremely knowledable forum members willing to help.