My sony buying expereinces are very limited. But when I bought my one and only sony tv, I don't know, 10 years ago now? I don't think there was a better looking tv on the market, the TAO(Does that sound right?) had just come out I believe and looked pretty great too, but I still preferred the sony.
I did pay almost twice as much as all my other friends did at the time, but I'm still using mine and they aren't. I think I paid about $3200 all in with a stand.
I bought a 32" XBR at the time, it actually does HD(1080i only, no 720p) on two inputs. To this day I still think the picture on that tv is better then any Plasma or LCD I've ever scene... I'm serious, this thing still puts out a FANTASTIC picture and I actually even noticed the sound on it the other day when I was watching the Dropkick Murphys open the hockey game up, it still sounds great too!