If your one of the millions of folks throwing a Super Bowl party and are ready for a new big screen TV this guide will choosing the right one for the big game.
When it comes to viewing the big game our rule is the bigger the better. Considering the average screen to viewer distance is 9-feet we recommend a minimum screen size of 55-inches with no maximum. HDTV screens are available up to 90-inches. The rest of the details are after the break.
The kickoff time of Super Bowl XLVII is next Sunday at 6:30 pm ET. For those in the eastern and central time zones this is after sundown, so sunlight should have no effect on viewing at those locations. West coasters could need a very bright picture if they have no window treatment a window opposite the TV. We always recommend window shades or curtains to prevent any screen reflections.
If you are going to have more than three people (what kind of party would it be with less), you’ll want a big screen with a wide viewing angle that gives viewers the same great picture no matter where they sit or stand. Plasma blows away LED LCD and LCD in this department.
All plasma HDTVs have excellent motion resolution. LED LCDs require a higher refresh rate to limit motion blur. Our list includes 120 Hz and higher refresh rate models. LED LCD use a circuit called motion estimation/motion compensation, which produces artifacts on film based content. For more read our article here.
All our top recommendations are for plasma TVs. We found the 2012 Panasonic VT50 series models, (winner of our 2012 Best HDTV award) to have the best picture quality of any HDTV available today. For slightly less performance at a lower cost are the GT50 models with prices from $1349.98 for the TC-P55GT50 55-Inch model; $1899.98 for 60-inch TC-P60GT50 to $2448.00 for the 65-inch TC-P65GT50
The Samsung PN8000 and PN7000 plasma series have near the performance of the Panasonics with a number of models at lower cost. The PN60E8000 60-inch top of the line model is selling for $1897.99 while the 64-inch version is selling for $2597.99. The 7000 model has similar performance but lacks a few features including the built-in HD Skype camera/microphones and voice/gesture control. It is available as the PN64E7000 64-Inch for $2297.99
The best LED LCDs are the ones with rear backlights and local dimming. They have the best contrast ratios for LCD technology, but are priced far higher than our recommended plasmas. The only series available today with local dimming are the Sharp Elite 60″ Pro-60x5fd for $4443.00 ( 70″ Pro-70x5fd for $6495.99) or the 55-inch Sony XBR55HX950 for $3198.00, and 65-inch XBR65HX950 for $5198.00
A word of caution regarding VIzio. According to our investigation and numerous consumer complaints to HD Guru and other websites, Vizio has some of the worst warranty policies in the industry. If a Vizio TV has a major problem, its warranty does not require Vizio repair the TV, but instead consumers often must accept a refurbished (as in used, repaired and tested) replacement TV.
In addition, Vizio often tells consumers their sets are “unrepairable” which they define as the parts/labor charges exceeds TV replacement cost once it goes past the one-year warranty. If you decide on buying one of these sets, we highly recommend the purchase of an extended warranty from Square Trade. You can buy up to a 5-Year TV Protection Plan through Amazon at the time of TV purchase for $164.98 for the Vizio 60-incher or a total of 5-Year TV Protection Plan (4+1 factory) for $289.24 for the 70-inch model . 3 and 4 year plans are also available at lower cost.
All listed HDTVs (except the Sharp Elite) are sold by Amazon direct and include free shipping.
HDTVs sold by Amazon direct offer a 14 day low price guarantee and 30 Day returns with free return freight on TVs. They stand behind their sales. Note: prices are correct as of posting and may change at any time, please verify with our links; Most states do not collect sales tax on Amazon orders with the exceptions of CA, TX, KS, KY, NY, ND, PA & WA. You always must pay sales tax (in states that collect it) when buying at a brick and mortar store. Should you buy an HDTV from on-line or from a retail store? Learn all the pros and cons in our article here.
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