What TV tech is best? Which is the best LCD TV? Which is best out of LCD and plasma? Which screen size is best for my living room? What’s the difference between LCD and LED TVs?These are the kind of questions that thousands of us have to ask every year.Buying a new TV can be a stressful experience even for the tech-savvy, see – there are so many brands, so many features, so many screen sizes, colours, technologies and flavours to choose from.So which one is right for you, your family and your living space?
Read our top picks including Panasonic, Sony, Samsung and LG sets. Not sure which HDTV is right for you? We’ve got something for everyone here, from feature-packed LED sets to picture-perfect plasmas. Our always up-to-date list will help you make the right choice.But there is no ‘best tv’. There is only the best TV for you…
Available sizes 42in (TX-P42ST50), 50in (TX-P50ST50), 55in (TX-P55ST50) and 65in (TX-P65ST50B)
If you’re looking for the best possible image quality then a plasma TV is still the best bet thanks to their incredible blacks and contrast. The ST50 isn’t the top-end range in Panasonic’s line-up but it uses the same Infinite Black Pro panel as more expensive sets. You get 3D support, flicker-free thanks to the super-fast plasma panel – look out for deals that include 3D glasses.
Its noise reduction technology deals well with standard definition content, while HD content – received via the built-in Freeview HD tuner or say a Blu-ray player – looks superb. There’s a good range of online content (such as Netflix and iPlayer) and you can play files directly from a USB drive or record TV to one. It’s a great all-round TV and one now available at a very reasonable price.
Available sizes 46in (KDL-46HX853) and 55in (KDL-55HX853)
Sony’s ‘Monolithic’ TV design concept sets the TV apart from everything else on the market. The TV – with a full glass front – sits in an included stand, actually a small sound bar with built-in speakers – which produce far better sound than most TV efforts. The upper part is thin, and the whole things looks fantastic.
Image quality is also impressive, probably the best example we’ve seen from an edge-lit LED/LCD TV. It handles motion brilliantly, and has lot of smoothing options so you can set things up the way you like. There’s plenty of inputs and outputs too, plus a good range of online content. It’s a fantastic choice if you want something with better than average audio.
Available sizes 32in (UE32ES6540), 40in (UE40ES6540), 46in (UE46ES6540) and 55in (UE55ES6540)
Samsung’s current mid-range TV has the stunning looks of last year’s top-end models, with a slender bezel and that elegant four-pronged stand. It’s packed full of features too, with built-in Wi-Fi for online TV services without need for a network cable. Freeview HD and FreeSat tuners are included, plus there’s three USB ports for connecting other devices.
It looks good onscreen too with capable handling of SD content, and great-looking HD content. This is an edge-lit LED set, so it can’t manage the same deep blacks as plasma or backlit sets with micro-dimming. 3D content was largely flicker-free. It’s a great TV, but it’s pipped by Panasonic’s plasma sets, but if you want something smaller than a 42in set then it’s well worth buying.
Available sizes 42in (42LM760T), 47in (47LM760T) and 55in (55LM760T)
Our Expert Opinion While most TVs use active 3D systems, with expenisve glasses, this LG uses a passive 3D panel that uses the same glasses as you get in the cinema. Now active 3D has improved a lot since its flicker early days, but passive 3D is still the better choice if you plan on watching a lot of 3D content or want to watch it with many people.
3D aside this a capable LCD/LED has a razor-thin frame, with all the usual features, such as internet services, networked media playback, USB recording and a host of image-enhancing technologies. It comes with a second remote, much like a wii controller, for simple onscreen navigation of web content. Image quality is good for an LCD set, and you’re unlikely to be disappointed, but there are better examples here. For 3D though, a passive set is still our top choice.