Similar thing's just happened to me actually.
Had a 7 year old Samsung plasma (non-HD, cost me £1500 in 2005) that gave up on me last month. I'd been looking with jealousy at Sky's HD F1 channel this year, but couldn't really justify buying another TV just for that - until my plasma went pop - wahey, justification at last!
Had a look around the net, read some forums and reviews, and phoned 'Richer Sounds' - the guy I spoke to knew his stuff. Told him I would like a good HD TV with smart technology, i.e the capability to connect to the net to watch BBC iplayer, downloads etc.
Second buying criteria was a price under £500.
Third criteria was a lower power consumption would be nice.
So, they pointed me in the direction of an LG HD / Smart TV using LED technology. Came in at £489. Got about half the power consumption of my old plasma, the HD is, to me, stunning, and it connects to my internet router and does the online stuff I wanted.
Apparrently, these days, most of the TV set panels are made by a very small group of manufacturers in the far east anyhow, so a lot of the different brands share the same guts inside. He also said that because of that, it's difficult to buy a 'bum' set now - and most of them are much of a muchness with regard to reliability and longevity now.