Many people recommend the Panasonic plasma tvs, unless the room where you will be watching is very bright. One I'd look for in the 50" range is the Panasonic TC-P50ST30, but you might have to do some digging to find it just under $1000 from a reputable dealer. Right now it is about $1000 even from Sears, before tax.
Here is Cnet's review: http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/panasonic-tc-p50st30/4505-6482_7-34468791.html?tag=contentMain;compare
Once you find a model you'd like to know more about, I'd suggest going to avsforum and do a search for that specific tv. www.avsforum.com