Once you settle on a TV size, you can narrow your choice further by choosing a display type. Most flat-panel TVs sold today are LCD-based, mainly because the cheaper, smaller screen sizes are all LCD TVs. And if you want a TV smaller than about 42 inches, LCD is your only choice. Midsize HDTV models--42 inches and up--are either LCD- or plasma-based, and the largest size--starting at 60 inches--can also include the now rare rear-projection TV.
What about LED? The first thing to know is that LED TVs are just expensive LCD-based TVs with fancy backlights. Of course, it gets a lot more complicated than that; see LED TVs: 10 things you need to know for more information.
Here you'll find our quick-and-dirty evaluations of each display type; however, these are generalizations only and variations among different models are quite common. For more information about this, check out our Four styles of HDTV article.
Size: 19 inches to 65 inches
Pros: Consumes a lot less power than plasma; models with matte screens work well in bright rooms.
Cons: Dark-room performance generally worse than plasma; worse viewing angle and uniformity.
Best for: General use in brighter rooms where potential flaws won't be as visible as they are in dark rooms.
Size: 32 inches and larger
Pros: Uses slightly less power than LCD; thin panels; some models have improved picture quality.
Cons: Expensive; most models offer little to no picture quality benefit compared with LCD.
Best for: Big spenders who want thin panels or videophiles who understand the differences between LED technologies and don't want plasma.
Size: 42 inches and larger
Manufacturers: Panasonic, Samsung, LG
Pros: Black-level performance in dark rooms; uniformity and viewing angle.
Cons: High power consumption; glass screen can reflect light in bright rooms.
Best for: General use in all but the brightest rooms; videophiles who place a premium on dark-room picture quality.
Size: 60 inches and larger
Best for: Those who want the biggest screen for the buck, period.
- Panasonic TC-P60ST60
- Panasonic TC-P65ST60
- Panasonic TC-P50ST60
- Panasonic TC-P55ST60
- Panasonic TC-P50ST50