written by: KennethSleight•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 10/26/2011
Here, we cover the best of the best in LCD, LED, Plasma, 3D and giant screen TVs. Whether you are looking for a set to put in your kitchen or the centerpiece for a new home theater we'll give you the inside scoop on what's out there and whether it is worth the money.
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The transition to digital television in the United States, coupled with the decreased price point of high definition televisions, ushered in a new era in home media. Now that analog televisions have been eliminated from the marketplace, and affordable HD models have taken their place, HDTV is available to the masses. So, which of these televisions is the right one for you? Do you prefer the slim footprint of the LED, or the dynamic contrast and deep blacks of a plasma screen? Is energy efficiency important, or are you looking to have the largest screen imaginable? Whatever your preference, we have your needs covered in our comprehensive TV buying guide.
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The undisputed champion in the first round of the HDTV wars is the LCD TV. These sets combine high picture quality with affordable prices, and ready availability. While the first LCDs suffered from a lack of reliability, the newest generation has overcome the initial design flaws to produce a highly reliable media display. There are sets in the 26- and 32-inch range, however, there is far more interest in the 40-inch and large models. The smaller sets are really only suitable for children's rooms and kitchens.
If you're looking to upgrade your living room set this year, we've compiled a list of the LCD televisions that you should be looking into this holiday season. While the prices that are quoted are current, there is a good chance that you'll be able to find a few deals the closer we get to Christmas.
While LCDs enjoy their glory as the king of the hill, it won't last long. The newest generation of LED televisions have upped their specs to match the dynamic picture quality found in the LCDs, and managed to keep their ultra thin form factor. Some of these sets are thinner than pictures you hang on the wall. With prices coming down, and efficiency ratings going up, expect to see them gracing mantles throughout the country in the next few years.
Our staff has compiled a comprehensive list of over twenty models which are more than worth your time. With the life expectancy of these sets estimated between 30 and 35 years, it's likely that technology will be the driving force behind your next TV purchase - not the failure of your LED set.
While plasma TVs were the darlings of the HD world when they were first introduced, their high price point and large form factor have relegated them to a small niche in the marketplace. They still offer some of the most amazing video that is available in commercial televisions, and the true movie fan won't find deeper blacks or better contrast than a plasma offers. For a true movie theater experience, a large screen plasma television can't be beat.
While there are several companies still marketing plasma screens, the quality is inconsistent. You would be doing yourself a disservice by not checking out these reviews. We've weeded out the pretenders, and those sets which have had consistent reliability issues. This leaves you with only the sets worth dropping several thousand dollars on.
The second phase of the HD revolution is clearly 3D. If you want to bring that total immersive experience into your home theater, you'll want to find out a bit more your options. All of the major manufacturers have released 3D compatible HD TVs, but were they too quick to rush them to the market? Find out when you read our staff's take on each of the big four (Mitsubishi, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic), and then close out your 3D TV tour with our top 5 recommendations.
No TV buying guide would be complete without the inclusion of a big screen TV section. We've scoured the net, the big box retailers, the specialty stores, and even our friends' living rooms to bring you the most awesome home cinema experience possible. These are the sets that will make you the envy of the neighborhood, starting with the relatively humble 65-inch models and building up to the far more auspicious 92-inch Mitsubishi DLP HDTV. If you can't find a big enough set here, you might just be out of luck.