Rick, I really don't know where to start, this was like reading forum post from a Steam Train fan club....
Okay, lets start with the TV:
If you aren't going to pay too much for a Panasonic TV then buy Korean, they are the only ones really doing "value for money" these days and the quality of LG and Samsung is good. Most of 'the rest' are actually outsourcing to other companies anyway, so brands aren't what they used to be.
Keep your existing speakers, assuming they are in good condition and you paid good money for them, then just buy an AV amplifier or Home Cinema system, they don't cost alot these days. Take a look at the Onkyo TX-NR 515 or 525, they won't break the bank and are quite good (and they include an FM radio).
Get a slim Bluray player for less than $100, wouldn't hurt for it to match the brand of the TV you buy because HDMI-CEC will probably work (terrible interop) and will possibly allow you to control the player with your TV remote via the HDMI connection.
3D? Waste of money hype increasingly being abandoned. UltraHD? Too early, buy now and regret it forever. Expensive gold HDMI cables? Won't do anything for the digits. "Smart TV", TV manufacturers tend to abandon their products after they launch them so I prefer to think about external devices (like Roku or Apple TV) when thinking about adding internet functionality to the package.
The Other Tesla David Blaza5 comments I find myself going to Kickstarter and Indiegogo on a regular basis these days because they have become real innovation marketplaces. As far as I'm concerned, this is where a lot of cool ...