The biggest diffeence for me was how much signal quality matters with an increase in screen size. I went from a 42" 720p plasma to 58" 1080p LED, and flipped on a football game first thing. I was pretty underwhelmed by the picture. It was HD, but apparently the broadast still wasn't high quality. Then I brought up a 1080p movie on VUDU and was blown away by the picture quality. As screen sizes get bigger lower quality braodcasts really start to look bad. Standard def is practically unwatchable on this thing.
My parents have an old console tv in their basement that worked last I knew that we might be able to work a deal on. PM me for details.
You can definitely turn that off. It isn't the refresh rate, its the extra "mode" that they put on the TV. "TruMotion" or "Auto Motion Plus" or something equivalent that causes the soap opera effect. Just turn that off and you'll be a lot happier with the picture.
Also, FWIW, you can usually google the model number of your TV and find the optimal display calibration settings somewhere online (avsforum is usually where I've found them). Every time I've ever used those, they've always recommended turning that mode off.
I have only purchased Plasma's, and this is one of the reasons why. I don't like that effect on there and it doesn't appear to be coming through on Plasma. But as others have said, I am sure there is a way to turn it off.
I had the same problem when we got our new Samsung LED tv. I got used to it and now enjoy how awesome the picture is.
It's the artificial refresh rate processing by your TV. I CRINGE whenever I see 120hz or 240hz still advertised so heavily. It makes watching anything but Live TV unbearable. Go into your settings and turn it off. Takes the refresh rate to standard LCD levels of 60hz, bringing your TV back to normal.
As others have noted above, Plasmas do not have this issue as it "processes" video differently (probably a better technical term I could have used there). I love Plasmas, btw.