I. 1080p (I would consider 720p TV's , but they all seem to be non-native res ; real 720p is 1280x720 ; the LCDs that claim to be "720p" all seem to be 1366x768, which means they do some awful scaling; OTOH the 1080p TV's seem to actually be true 1920x1080 , and 720p scales into that pretty neatly (it's exactly 1.5X)
II. 120hz (I can't see any point to 240hz , 120 can show 24 fps without pulldown/judder).
III. No fucking "touch of color" ; WTF are you thinking Samsung. Also I'd really like the bezel to be thin and matte black like a monitor, not fucking glossy (this seems impossible to find. fuckers).
IV. LED backlight ; I'm not sure about this one, but LED backlighting on laptops is the Mother Fucking Win, so I assume it would also be awesome on TV's.
V. 32 or 37 inches. I'm tempted to get a 32 since I feel like the Dell 30 inch monitors are fucking huge and I can't imagine wanting anything bigger, but 37's are the same price and I wonder if I would regret getting the 32 somewhere down the road.
There appear to be only two TV's that fit this spec : Sharp AQUOS LC32LE700UN (gets some bad reviews for image quality)
Samsung UN32B6000 (has touch of color so I guess that's out)
If I relax the LED requirement I get a lot more, such as : Sony Bravia XBR9
LG LH40 (bad black level?)
TV's seem to be in an arms race towards fucking suckitude. They're adding shit like "virtual surround sound" and RSS feed streaming and built in Netflix playing and garbage like that. I'm tempted to just get a monitor to avoid all that shit, but so far as I know there's no monitor that does 1920 x 1080 x 120hz native. (1080 -> 1200 scaling is balls). I'd like no fucking speakers at all, no network pork, no USB, no fucking automatic media readers, just show damn pictures well.
Many of the manufacturers are now not providing their top of the line models in small formats; that's annoying. The last time I looked at LCD monitors in detail they were pretty much all the same panels anyway (LG or Samsung) so it didn't much matter what brand you bought; not sure if this is still true.
BTW : Against Big TV's :
I hate big TV's, always have, always will. Sure, if you have a real theater room, go for a giant TV or a projector, but in a living room I hate them. Why?
A. The TV should be off 80% of the time. That means its behavior when its off is just as important as its behavior when it's on. A huge TV is a crass eye sore when it's off. Unless you have a brown plaid couch and wood panelling on your walls, then by all means, accessorize with a giant TV.
B. Huge TV's might look great with very good input signals, but so often we still drive them with shitty signals (eg. DVD's) , and then they look really awful. Even from good HDTV or Blu-ray sources you still get tons of compression artifacts, and blowing those up big is painful. I'd rather have a smaller image that looks really good than a huge one where I can see all the flaws.
C. They're too powerful. It lords over you. It demands that you watch it. It eats up your whole brain. It's so big you can't see anything else. I like to watch TV while I'm on the computer or reading a magazine or stretching or something; I don't want the TV to dominate my eye-scape. I want it to sit in the corner and let me look at it if I choose to. A huge TV is sort of like having a stereo that can only play at jet engine volume levels - it's always dominating, it can never be subtle and inobtrusive, it can never just be background.