written by: Daniel Barros•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/31/2010
We've got everything inside that you need to know about LCDs and which brands you can count on as well as those that you can't.
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Making it Special
It's a big day, especially if there's a deal going on because you're about to buy your brand new HDTV. This is an important, high-price decision that you're about to make, and as such, it deserves a good deal of research, which is undoubtedly why you came to Bright Hub today looking for good information. Rather than give you a rundown of the best HDTVs currently on the market, I thought time would be better spent analyzing the brands that are most reliable when it comes to working with HDTVs.
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Sony, LG, Panasonic, and Samsung are in a league all their own. As top-tier manufacturers, these LCD TVs are going to be the sort of TVs that you keep for years and years. Their better build quality ensures that no matter which one of the four you buy, they won't be breaking down on you in a matter of months, nor will their screen colors fluctuate over time. In particular, these TVs have the absolute best black levels of any TV on the market, the best color tweaking software built-in, and fantastic troubleshooting services should anything go wrong.
Overall, in terms of reliability, Sony and Samsung definitely round out the top of the list. Their TVs are phenomenal products that are the epitome of great engineering work. Everything from the liquid crystals used all the way to the glass in the panel reflects a certain level of quality. However, as with all things of higher quality, you can expect to pay a tax in order to join the exclusive club of owners. That tax will be a substantial amount more than some of the mid-tier winners in the case of the larger TVs.
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Mid Level Winners
Considering that the economy still isn't back on its feet, perhaps you just don't have the money to spend on a Sony Bravia, but want something with great build quality that comes at a more affordable price. For that, you'll have to turn to either Sharp, Vizio, Phillips, or Magnavox.
These four mid-range competitors provide a different sort of product, one that isn't aimed at the high-end tech-savvy user, but rather one that's aimed at working families and people who want more bang for their HDTV buck. As such, be prepared to take a minor hit to the build quality and relative friendliness of the various user interfaces on the TVs. Instead of 6 HDMI connectors, there might only be one or two, and instead of a bevy of audio options, you might be limited to HDMI-integrated and regular RCA.
Remember that build quality isn't everything though. After all, who doesn't want a sub-$900 TV that can last for at least a half a decade and still blow the competition out of the water in a few years?
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I won't go into jarring detail, but suffice it to say that Toshiba, Mitsubishi and Hitachi are at the very bottom of our lists. Sure, you often see these TVs going on sale at your local Walmart, but believe me, there's a reason for that. They're just not selling a good product and it shows. These are TVs that when you take them home have either immediate issues or issues that appear quickly over time. The build quality is next to nonexistent and the reliability comes into question with the issues of dead pixels and the like. Overall, I urge you to stay far, far, away from these low-end manufacturers.
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Here are some other interesting articles for a first-time TV buyer