By Gary Merson
Edited By Michael Fremer
(11/22/2009) Just in time for the holiday buying season, HD Guru lists, in no particular order, ten of the best performing HDTVs currently available.
Prices listed are the lowest we could find on-line at the time of publication and they are linked to HDGuruÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Pricegrabber website.Ã‚Â Last week, our friends at Gizmodo published 5 of the HD GuruÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Top 10 HDTV Picks (they are below as picks 6-10).
The V10 plasma series pack deep black levels, wide viewing angles, fine signal processing, a 96 Hz judder-free film mode for 24Hz sources (Blu-ray and limited satellite HD channels), along with nearly ideal color and gray scale set to THX mode. Throw in user adjustable Custom mode and VieraCast internet connectivity and you have a top HDTV. The V10 series is available in 50Ã¢â‚¬Â³, 54Ã¢â‚¬Â³ 58Ã¢â‚¬Â³ and 65Ã¢â‚¬Â³ screen sizes. The 50Ã¢â‚¬Â³ TC-P50V10 sells for under $1896 on our Pricegrabber website. Check out our full review of the 54″ here.
The G10 series uses the same high contrast Neo PDP plasma panel as the V10s in addition to providing top quality signal processing, a THX certified mode and PanasonicÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s VieraCast internet widgets. The G10s provide very high brightness for daytime viewing in well lit rooms and an accurate THX certified mode for evening viewing. The G10s are the value leader plasma in our Top 10 lineup and are available in the 42Ã¢â‚¬Â³ 46Ã¢â‚¬Â³ 50Ã¢â‚¬Â³ and 54Ã¢â‚¬Â³ screen sizes. The 42Ã¢â‚¬Â³ TC-P42G10 is available on our Pricegrabber website starting at just $868. Check out our review here.
PanasonicÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s exclusive Alpha-IPS LCD panel provides the widest viewing angle of any LCD display weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve evaluated to date. This means you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to sit perfectly on-center to have the best seat in the house. Ã‚Â Both L S1 models are HD 1080p (though you need to sit really close with any 1080p display below 42Ã¢â‚¬Â³ to notice the difference). The L S1s also features PanasonicÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“motion focusÃ¢â‚¬Â technology for improved motion resolution. Both models include 3 HDMI and 1 component video input as well as a PC input for use as a monitor. The L S1 models are the 32Ã¢â‚¬Â³ TC-L32S1 priced from $528 and the 37Ã¢â‚¬Â³ TC-L37S1 priced from $649 at the HD Guru Pricegrabber website.
The 8000 series is our top pick edge-lit LED LCD. Samsung packs every feature it offers within this series including 240 Hz refresh rate, internet connectivity with Yahoo widgets and YouTube, as well as 4 HDMI inputs, user controlled white balance and Ã‚Â custom frame interpolation. The 1.2 inch deep design features a two tone (black and clear edge) bezel. The 46Ã¢â‚¬Â³Ã‚Â version, one of the most energy efficient HDTVs weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve ever tested, uses only 123 watts in Ã¢â‚¬Å“StandardÃ¢â‚¬Â mode. Ã‚Â The 8000 is available in 46Ã¢â‚¬Â³ and 55Ã¢â‚¬Â³ screen sizes priced respectively from $1875 and $2537Ã‚Â at our HD Guru Pricegrabber website.
Mitsubishi Diamond 249
Hands down, these Mitsubishi HDTVs have the best sound quality of any flat panel weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve reviewed, thanks to its exclusive Unisen 18 driver surround sound projection technology, which provides real Dolby 5 channel surround sound without any external speakers. Add a subwoofer for deep bass and you have a complete 5.1 channel home theater.Ã‚Â The 249 series features 18-bit video signal processing, a Ã¢â‚¬Å“super contrastÃ¢â‚¬Â LCD panel, ISFccc calibration (for accurate HDTV color and gray scale) and internet connectivity featuring built-in VUDU 1080p movie streaming. Ã‚Â Mitsubishi wraps up the entire package with one of the thinnest bezels in the industry. The 249 series models are available in 46Ã¢â‚¬Â³ and 52Ã¢â‚¬Â³ screen sizes. The 46Ã¢â‚¬Â Diamond LT-46249 sells for $2199. The LT-52249 is $2699
Panasonic’s flagship HDTV is its thinnest 54-inch plasma HDTV ever, with only 1-inch depth. They did it by eliminating a third sheet of glass found in all other plasmas except Pioneer’s Kuro, and bonding the anti-reflective coating directly top glass. The Z1 employs SiBEAM’s 60GHz 1080p for wireless glitch-free images sent via the included transmitter/media box from up to 30 feet away. The Z1 has THX picture mode and a custom calibration mode, plus nice bonus features including VieraCast Internet connectivity for YouTube and Amazon VOD and an SD card reader for photos. The Z1 delivers amazing performance with full 1080 line motion resolution, accurate HD color, deep black levels and 96Hz for judder free movie viewing.
The sexiest HDTV of 2009, the TC-P54Z1 will set you back $4000.
You know it’s been a weird year for TVs when not one but two of our top picks are no longer being manufactured, but are still being sold. Pioneer’s sweetest (and last) Kuro line is technically a monitor: There’s no tuner or audio. But the Signature models offer the deepest black of any high definition display on the marketÃ¢â‚¬â€without any white-letter-on-black-background halos occasionally seen on LED-based LCD TVs. The Signature models features hand selected parts, 2.5-in. depth, Custom Calibration, 72Hz refresh and control over the internet via its Ethernet connection. The Pioneer uses a single top sheet of glass to minimize internal reflections, with the anti-reflection coating bonded directly to the surface.
The Signature models are available at scattered retailers around the country in the 50-inch size (PRO-101FD) for about $3000 to $3500, and 60-inch size (PRO-141FD) for $4000 to $4800.
The 8500 series is Samsung flagship LED LCD TV. It feature packed with thin 1.6-inch depth, white LED local dimming backlights for improved uniformity, dual-chip 240 Hz plus a scanning backlight for excellent motion resolution and the best black level of any LED LCD observed to date. The 8500 features four HDMI inputs plus internet connectivity with Flickr, YouTube, weather, news and other widgets. It also has a PV+C input for connection to your computer or HTPC. This is a benchmark LED LCD to judge against every other make and model.
All this performance comes at a price. The LNB8500 series comes in 46-inch (UN46B8500) and 55-inch (UN55B8500) screen sizes, currently on Amazon for $2620 and $4020, respectively.
This LG has all the hot LCD performance features video freaks crave, including white LED dimming backlights for excellent black levels, wide viewing angle LCD IPS panel, accurate color, and 240Hz (120 refresh + scanning backlight) for excellent motion resolution. This LG also has all the tweaks anyone could ask for including ISF CCC mode for calibration, THX certification and LG’s “picture wizard” for user set-up without calibration discs or external test signals. The LG LH90 isn’t the thinnest LED LCD, but it more than makes up for it with its price.
The LG LH90 series is available in 42-, 47- and 55-inch screen sizes at street prices that are considerably lower than many competitors’ edge lit 120 Hz LED edge lit models. The 42LH90 is online for $1200 to $1500; the 47LH90 sells in the $1700 range; and the 55LH90 goes for $2200 to $2800. In case you couldn’t tell, the LG LH90 series is the value/performance leader of the pack.
A comparable model never replaced Sony’s 2008 flagship model in 2009. It is the only HDTV available with separate red, green and blue LED backlights (rather than all white), with local dimming for deep black levels. Though slightly thicker than other TVs in its class, the XBR8 has accurate HDTV color, enough brightness for a beach house, a non-glossy anti-glare screen coating (rare for 2009), 120Hz refresh rate and Sony’s Bravia Engine 2 signal processing.
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