The pan DOES make a difference a well seasoned cast iron pan will give a great crust while the inside falls apart with a touch of the fork. A good heavy stainless pan will work but you need to add more oil/butter/bacon grease.
I like to shred my potatos leaving the skin on and like DMC said, soak in cold salted water, rinse and wring dry. mix in chopped green peppers and onions (sometimes jalapeno peppers) while the pan is heating. Drop in a big pat of butter and a dollop of bacon grease, let it melt then dump in the potato mix, spread it out and WALK AWAY! 5-7 minutes it should form a crust, slide it out on a plate, add more grease and butter then flip the plate and cook the other side. add cheese to the top if you want