Picking the right HDTV is always a challenge, but prices have never been better. This year's under-$1,000 list is full of top name brands and screen sizes ranging from 47 to 55 inches. All three major TV technologies are included: LED-lit LCD, fluorescent-lit LCD and plasma.
Each set has its particular advantages: Best overall picture quality for the plasma, largest-screen-size-for-the-money LCD and slimmest form factor and highest energy efficiency for the LED LCD sets. All of our picks are 1080p resolution. And 3-D capability can be found in four out of the five sets, with the plasmas using active Full HD 3-D and the LEDs employing passive 3-D technology. All the 3-D sets also include Internet connectivity for movie streaming and other apps.
Note: TV pricing is extra volatile around the holidays, so these prices are subject to change — they might even get better. Always perform a search on the model number at other retailers, to compare pricing.
Panasonic TC-P50ST30 plasma (top photo) provides top price and performance, the widest viewing angle, excellent picture uniformity, good color, Full HD active 3-D, Internet streaming, apps and more. The ST30 series also includes screen sizes of 46, 55, 60 and 65 inches. (Check out HD Guru's review here.)
The 50-inch is currently priced on Amazon direct for $829.98, 45 percent off of its $1500 retail price.
Samsung PN51D6500 plasma adds an inch of screen over the Panasonic 50-inch. The D6500 features excellent picture uniformity, widest viewing angle, slim 1.5-inch depth, Full HD active 3-D, Internet streaming with apps and more.
The D6500 series also includes a 59-inch model.
The PN51D6500 sells for $999.84 + $73.26 shipping at nextdaypc or $1,055.00 including shipping Video Audio Center via Amazon.
LG 47LW5600 LED-backlit LCD uses LG's IPS panel for wider viewing angle than many other LED LCDs. The 47-inch 5600 features include 120Hz refresh, 1.75-inch depth, passive 3-D, edge-lit LED with regional dimming, Internet streaming/apps, Wi-Fi and more.
The 5600 series is also available in the 55-inch screen size. (Check out HD Guru's review here.)
The 47-inch sells for $958.77 including shipping from Video & Audio Center via Amazon, 44 percent off of its retail price.
Toshiba 47TL515U LED-backlit HDTV boasts a wide-viewing-angle IPS panel with matte finish for low room light reflections, extra slim 1.1-inch depth, 120 Hz refresh plus scanning backlight, Internet streaming, passive 3-D, Wi-Fi and more. The 515 series is also available in the 32, 42 and 55-inch screen sizes.
The 47-inch sells for $899.99 from Paul's TV via Amazon with free shipping, 47 percent off of its $1,700 retail price.
LG 55LK520 is the largest HDTV in our group with a 55-inch screen. It's a CCFL-backlit LCD panel with 120Hz refresh rate. Its features are pretty basic, though this LG does include a wide-viewing-angle IPS panel with a matte finish for low-room light reflections. The 520 series is also available in the 42- and 47-inch screen sizes.
The 55-inch sells for $918.39 plus shipping from Electronics Expo via Amazon.
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