The list below only considers picture quality and ignores value. It represents the best TVs regardless of cost, and incidentally, regardless of design and features, that we've reviewed this year. I already listed the best TV series for picture quality, but the list below goes through the field at key size points, too.
TV makers are reluctant to put the best quality into their smallest, cheapest TVs, but the field really opens up once you hit 46 inches or so. I also threw in a runner-up -- the second-best-performing TV available in each size range -- for people who don't like door No. 1.
I omitted TVs larger than 65 inches this time because the 70-inch-plus 2012 models we have reviewed aren't quite worthy. If you're unsatisfied with 65 inches, however, the 70-inch Sharp Elite is my price-no-object, mammoth-screen pick.
32 inches: Toshiba 32C120U
I haven't reviewed many of the higher-end 32-inch TVs, but if expensive models like Samsung's UN32ES6500 are any indication, they won't perform much better than this little low-buck champ. Read the full review.
Runner-up: Samsung UN32EH4000
40 to 43 inches: Samsung PN43E450
The Samsung E450 series plasma may not be perfect, but now that the Panasonic TC-P42UT50 is discontinued, you won't find another TV at this size that performs this well. Read the full review.
Runner-up: Philips 40PFL5907
46 to 47 inches: Sony KDL-46HX850
We picked the HX850 series as the best-performing LED TV of 2012, and since its step-up brother, the XBR-HX950 series, starts at 55 inches, its place on this list is assured. Read the full review.
Runner-up: Vizio M3D470KD
50, 51 inches: Panasonic TC-P50ST50
The 50-inch ST50 is our favorite big-screen TV of the year when you factor in value, and since the step-up VT50 isn't available this small, it also scores a place on this list. Read the full review.
Runner-up: Panasonic TC-P50GT50
Runner-up (and 60-inch pick): Panasonic TC-PST50 series
Click through to the reviews for additional screen sizes and pricing. If none of these TVs floats your boat, head on over to the Best TVs lists for other alternatives.