In the market for a plasma.........suggestions?

I've been researching plasma tv's for quite some time now and would like to hear any suggestions which brands to check out. My sitting distance is around 12.5' from couch to wall where I'd like to wall mount the plasma. The screen size would either be a 42 or 50 inch. Been reading over on avs forum and it seems many people are happy with the Panasonic and Hitachi displays. I've looked at the Panasonic th50px60u and Hitachi 42HDS69 and really liked them. Apparently though with the Hitachi, many people were having macroblocking issues in dark scenes. Do all plasma's have problems such as the Hitachi? I'd like to keep the purchase under 3k. Thanks for your help.

Unless you need your TV to hang on the Wall in a tough spot I would follow Jab's advice. The new LCD's are very good and the DLP's are superb.

Man Plasma scares me with burn in issues, I hate to muddy the waters but I would only look into LCD, sorry if I wasnt any help.
If you can stretch the budget? look at the Pioneer Elite plasma
I got mine on sale for $4900.00 @ Tweeters Electronics
50" job to boot. GREAT product, no regrets. And the HD quality is amazing
after years of waiting, i finally went with a Mitsubishi 57" DLP and have been loving every minute of it. A signal upconverted to 1080p through my processor via an HDMI cable is quite beautiful and to this point is without an equal. No buyers remorse here.
I broke down and bought a 50" Toshiba plasma this year. Yeah, the Pioneer plasma's are the best that I've seen, but they were out of my price range. For my eyes, LCD and DLP don't compare visually to plasma. Yeah, the gas burn out does scare me, but all these formats have their potential risks.
So I just went with the best picture under $3K.

I've had it for 7 months and no far... :-)