Sony Bravia KDL-40V3000 40″ 1080p LCD HDTV
Sony HDTVs are best rated in CNET and Consumer Reports reviews. Here is this TV that had a steep price drop from $1800 to $1200. The dynamic contrast ratio is 13000: 1 as compared to Samsung ones which usually beat Sony in dynamic contrast ratio.
Always check in person at your local BestBuy or Circuit city to get the feel of TV before making big investment in HDTVs.
CNET HDTV ratings that gives some idea of ratings from popular brands.