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I have a Pace Master Platinum Pro. I bought it in 2005. It has saved me from the Freezing winters in Md to the Blistering summers in AZ and it is still going strong. I do use the Heart monitor once in a while, but as a general guide. I use it to help me train for races, and those early morning UGH!-get out of bed 30 minute walks before work. (because it is still dark out). I have a TV I can watch while I am working out.
I would check out Runner's World treadmill guide to get an idea of what is out there now. I am sure there are other sites.
Go to the store and RUN or WALK on it. Wear your workout clothes...USE IT! Don't be afraid of looking strange. A treadmill is an investment, if your feet/knees begin to hurt immediately, then it probably isn't for you. Play with the buttons. Play with the incline!!! GO all the way UP!! and all the way down...play with the pre-programable workouts. I was in the Fitness store for about an hour and half...Tinkering with ALL the machines. I did get an excellent workout!
Good luck to you and may 2012 be a very healthful year for you!