It really does depend on exactly how you want to use it, and where.
If you have a “theater” room that can be made dark, there are some really good projection models that hang from the ceiling and project across against a white wall. They have really gone WAY up in quality recently, but you have to have a room that does not have a lot of light filtering in. I am not sure if these can be used for a computer monitor, but the thought of some computer images 8 feet high on the wall…hmmm.
I would avoid the big, boxy rear projection tv’s. You pretty much have to sit dead center, and also in a dark room.
There are also some smaller LCD’s and plasma’s out there, but I think you are about 1-3 thousand dollars shy. The prices on these are coming down pretty fast. I hate to tell you to wait, but to be honest, in about 2 years tops, my guess is that you will get a decent sized LCD or plasma tv for $2000.
There is also a new invention by the Dutch/Germans that is a variation on the LCD/Plasma but it is so thin, you can roll the screen. They are now starting production and these will be far cheaper than the current plasma televisions because they do not need backlighting. Again, that doesn’t help you in your purchase now.
Lastly, HDTV and digitial television is coming, whether we like it or not (and we will like it). SO, you might as well prepare for the inevitable and get a monitor that is compatible, or ready for both.
Be forewarned…tv’s are either HDTV “compatible” (meaning you still have to get a converter) or they are HDTV “ready” (meaning plug it in and watch HDTV on your digital cable box).
However, my usual advice is - get the biggest tube screen (36") for the cheapest price (you can get them on sale for about $600) and plug them into a stereo, surround sound receiver. Do not get an extended warranty (for suckers only) as they are under normal warranty and if it is a lemon, you will know sooner than later. By the time this tv dies (if ever) you should then be able to get a good plasma for a good price.