Hi Bill, My wife and I just bought a 26" Westinghouse LCD at Best Buy about 3 months ago for a little over $500 with tax. Our 25" Toshiba that was a demo at the company I worked for gave out on us. I bought it for $150 in 1986 and it just gave up the ghost after only 21 years. Piece of junk!
I'm real happy with the Westinghouse set. I also was limited as to how big the set could be in width. One thing you need to remember is that when you are in a showroom, anything under 42" looks small. In your home, however, a really large set can swallow your room unless the room is very large. I have installed sets in the past that were way to big for the room they were to be used in. BTW, as one of the elders here I also remember some of those things you mentioned. Does any one else remember sign off of the tv stations at about 11 p.m. ? Harry D