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LCD TV Features Comparison

written by: Debasis Das•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/26/2010

There are so many different LCD TVs out there! It can get so confusing if you were to make sense of the marketing hype of the brands! Making sense of all those features, functionalities and the related specs is tough. Then you have prices to consider! How do you make comparisons then? Read on.

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    Introduction

    What one tries to look for is the apples to apples kind of comparison. But there are several different features to consider when comparing LCD TVs. Whether it has HD capability or not? Is it full 1080p or not? Then there is the question of size, what is the right one?Assuming you know what size and resolution you are looking for in a TV, there are still comparisons to be made in a number of areas. Price is a key metric, and so is performance. There is a such a wide variety of features offered by manufacturers these days that these need to be taken into consideration. Some of these features are how many A/V inputs are supported, are these HDMI inputs, does it have additional ports such as USB, Ethernet, etc. and even something as simple as whether or not a TV has a headphone jack. Warranty is an issue to be considered too, most LCD TVs these days come with a pretty standard 1-year warranty, which may or may not be extendable through a store warranty. Here is a comparison of some of the best LCD TVs on the market today.

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    LCD TV Comparisons - Smaller sets

    In the 32-inch and smaller variety is hard to find a TV with full 1080p. The most likely configuration is a 720p. Also, because these LCD TVs are cheaper, there are fewer inputs – HDMI, S-video, and composite video. Similarly, they don’t often carry features like picture-in-picture, Ethernet inputs or DLNA-compliance. Some top sets in this category are the following:

    Vizio’s 19-inch variant, Vizio VA19L is a great value for money, coming in at $175 with 720p, 2 HDMI inputs, 2 composite video inputs, and 1 S-video input. It has a decent viewing angle of 170 degrees. The 32 inch set from the same manufacturer, the Vizio VA320M is full 1080p, however. That comes at a price tag of $449. Like the VA19L it has 2 HDMI, 2 composite video and 1 S-video inputs. But this is further supplemented by a RF Connector and a USB port. A 6500:1 contrast ratio is probably one of the best in class, and it has a fairly wide viewing angle. However, unlike the VA19L it does not have a headphone jack.

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    Medium-sized LCD TVs

    Between 32 and 45 inches the feature set begins to improve. You start to see picture-in-picture, enhanced refresh rate capability, and a greater number of inputs. However, contrast ratios still may not be comparable to CRTs and plasma TVs and the deepest blacks could be deeper. The top honors in this category are taken by LG and Samsung respectively. The LG 37LH30 is a 37 inch box and comes with full 1080p, supporting 3 HDMI inputs, and 2 composite video inputs, as well as input from a PC (there is no S-video input however). The sound system is a wonderful 5.1 channel system and the dynamic contrast ratio is a whopping 50000:1. A reasonable buy at $669.

    Compare the LG with this nice 40-inch offering from Samsung, the Samsung LN40B650 (ok, it has a nice price tag too at just under $1100). It has full 1080p, takes 4 HDMI inputs, 2 composite video along with an S-video input. It also takes 4 analog audio inputs, compared to the LG’s 3. In addition to the PC input there are 2 USB ports and an Ethernet port. The TV is being sold on Amazon with a high performance HDTV hook-up and maintenance kit. A superior 100000:1 contrast ratio!

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    46 inches and larger screen sizes are grouped in this category. The screen sizes can be as large as even 108 inches! This article looks at some top sets in the larger category and recommends couple off sets that are good in LCD TV feature comparisons. We look at a 46 inch and a 55 inch sets to come up with recommendations. Winnners are a Samsung set and a LG set.
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    Larger LCD Televisions

    46-inch and over (say up to 108 inches) are considered in the larger screen category. Of course, price goes up proportionally with size. But remember that the feature set does not necessarily scale proportionally (because after all, how many HDMI ports does one need? Beyond 4 is overkill). We just look at a 46-inch and a 55-inch LCD TV, which are pretty good value for money. When you get into this class, an enhanced refresh rate of 240-Hz becomes standard, as well as 4 HDMI, 2 composite and at least 1 S-video inputs. Similarly, picture-in-picture, PC input, and USB ports can be expected. The differences may arise in internet connectivity (and/or Ethernet port), and an ambient light sensor. Unfortunately, most of the high end TVs don’t seem to sport a headphone port.

    Samsung LN40B750 is a good buy at $1399. It has most of what we have just mentioned above, except that there is no ambient light sensor. At 150000:1, an expected improvement in contrast ratio. LG's contender of top levels in the larger category is LG 55LH90. This 55-inch variant is a nice deal at just under $1950. It even features an ambient light sensor and boasts a contrast ratio of 2 million to 1 (wow!). However, it does not have picture-in-picture and lacks internet connectivity. This is a little strange!

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    Conclusion

    The larger sets seem to be slow in catching up with the small and medium sets in one area, provisions for Ethernet and or Internet connections is not as prevalent with small and medium sized LCD TVs as with larger screens. So, while the larger screens with a matched home theater will augment your cinema viewing experience, you are left behind on the ability of viewing the streaming video from increasing number of sources. If the Netflix kind of service is any kind of indication, even for viewing cinemas you will need the Internet connection and the streaming facilities in your set.