With the US economic slump continuing, TV shoppers are more price conscious than ever. In  the third quarter of 2010, a whopping 85 percent of all plasma TVs and 61 percent of LCD TVs 40-inch and larger sold at prices below $1000, according to TV industry marketing research firm Quixel.

Fortunately for holiday shoppers, HDTV prices aren’t going up. If anything, they’re dropping further. Prospective buyers get bigger screens, more features and better HDTV performance than ever before, and for less money.

We scoured the Internet and major retailers for the five best TVs in the land for under $1000.

(Once you’ve picked out the set you like below, learn how to get the best deal from your local brick-and-mortar store in HD Guru’s guide to getting the best HDTV price.)

Panasonic G20/G25 series 1080p 50- and 54-inch plasma TVs

Price: $999.99 for 54-inch at Costco; $995.48 + Free Shipping for 50-inch  6 Ave. via Amazon

The G20 and G25 deliver top-notch picture quality and perfect motion resolution, with  THX-certified picture presets for ideal settings without fiddling, and without pro calibration. The sets include Internet services and support Skype video (optional camera required).

Samsung PN50C490 50-Inch 720p Plasma 3D HDTV

Price: $899.99 Amazon

Simply put, it’s the only 3-D TV for under $1000. It has great plasma image quality, perfect for PlayStation 3 3-D gaming as well as watching the latest 3-D Blu-ray movies. Bonus Alert: Samsung just began a dealer promotion where they’ll throw in two pairs of 3-D glasses, a $300 retail value.

To learn more about 3-D check out HD Guru’s 3-D website

Toshiba 55HT1U 55-inch 120Hz 1080p LCD HDTV

$999 at Best Buy

It’s the biggest LCD bang for the buck, size wise. And you’re not sacrificing picture quality: Since it has 120 Hz refresh rate, it’s great for sports, as well as movies and everyday viewing.

LG 42LE5400 42-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LED HDTV

$888.44 at Amazon; $1065.00 for the 47-incher

The LG 42LE5400 with a thickness of 1.2 inches, it’s possibly this LG model is the thinnest TV under $1000. Better yet, it has LED backlighting, for high efficiency, strong brightness and good contrast. It has good motion resolution, Internet-connected streaming service and wireless 1080p compatibility (accessory required).

Sony KDL-46EX500 46-inch 120Hz LCD

Price: $899 at Amazon

This highly rated Sony model performs well with both standard definition and high definition content. It provides good motion resolution, and, for homes with a lot of ambient light or shifting light conditions, it has a smart sensor to adjust the picture accordingly.

More stories from HD Guru

How to pick the right HDTV

Learn the ideal screen size with our Viewing Distance Chart

How to get the best HDTV prices

Have a question for the HD Guru?

Copyright ©2010 HD Guru Inc.  All rights reserved.  HDGURU is a registered trademark.