Top 10 TVs – November 2012

11/21/2012 2:44:33 PM

Description: Description: Description: Samsung UE55ES8000

Defending your title is never easy, so it’s to Samsung’s credit that its ES8000-series TV goes straight into the No.1 slot as a replacement for its previous model, the D8000. Available (so far) in 40in, 46in and 55in versions, it’s fully loaded with HD tuner and 3D support, and its smart TV features are bolstered by a dual-core processor plus built-in Wi-Fi. More than all that, it thrills with both gesture and voice-based control. The fact that picture quality is brilliant is almost a bonus. The set has recently been upgraded with the BBS Sport app, and it’s about to gain access to the ITV Player too.

Killer feature

Gesture and voice-based interaction: weird, but hugely effective

Our Ratings: 5/5 stars

A huge leap forward for smart TVs, the ES8000 is gorgeous to look at and revolutionary to use

Sony KDL-46HX853 $1946 5/5 stars

Description: Description: Description: Sony KDL-46HX853 $1946 5/5 stars

Smart to look at and thoroughly clever to live with, this brilliant new LED TV is by a long way the best of Sony’s 2012 sets. Its picture is excellent, with amazing deep blacks and great motion handling, its specification is comprehensive and it’s even sensibly priced

Panasonic TX-P50GT50 $2108 5/5 stars

Description: Description: Description: Panasonic TX-P50GT50 $2108 5/5 stars

A close rival to the Sony at No.2 – and if size matters to you, its larger 50in panel may help seal the deal in its favor. Exceptional picture performance and a strong spec are assets too, although the Sony’s online features and styling are a shade slicker

LG 47LM960V $3081 5/5 stars

Description: Description: Description: LG 47LM960V $3081 5/5 stars

With seven pairs of 3D specs in the box – two of which allow for full-screen 3D gaming – this passive 3D telly is great for social occasion. A wealth of streaming services and 3D content come in a clean interface, and the picture is brilliantly cinematic, too.

Toshiba 46YL863 $1378.5 5/5 stars

Description: Description: Description: Toshiba 46YL863 $1378.5 5/5 stars

With its innovative backlighting tech and considerable picture-processing ability, Toshiba’s new telly is a performance powerhouse, it’s also stylish, well equipped – 3D, DLNA and decent smart TV services are all included – and terrific value for money

LG42LM660T $1297 5/5 stars

Description: Description: Description: LG42LM660T

Although not the most spectacular of 2012’s TV debutantes, the LG’s comprehensive spec and consistent performance make it great value. Its family-friendly passive 3D tech helps on that front too, while its smart TV options rival the very best

Toshiba 40TL868 $891.9 5/5 stars

Description: Description: Description: Toshiba 40TL868 $891.9 5/5 stars

Another quality Toshiba set, the TL868 is cheap, well-specified and largely very capable. Its Freeview HD picture is good, its streaming service competitive and it’s even alright with 3D, although you don’t get any glasses supplied in the box

Tishiba 55ZL2 $11351.9 4/5 stars

Description: Description: Description: Tishiba 55ZL2 $11351.9 4/5 stars

The price is a considerable obstacle, but it’s hard not to be impressed by Tosh’s 55-inch specs-free 3D TV. Its 3840 x 2160 screen looks spectacular with both upscaled Blue-ray and native-res images – if you can find any. 3D works… so long as you don’t move

Panasonic TX-L47DT50 $2270 4/5 stars

Description: Description: Description: Panasonic TX-L47DT50 $2270 4/5 stars

Panasonic is best known for its plasma sets, but this LED set is worth a gander. You get fairly basic menus, but Viera Connect is excellent and Freeview HD and Freesat HD both deliver stunning 3D – but specs cost $. It just lacks a smidgeon of detail and depth

Philips 46PFL9706 $3567.5 4/5 stars

Description: Description: Description: Philips 46PFL9706 $3567.5 4/5 stars

Thanks to its new reflection-rejecting ‘Month Eye Filter’, this 3D set has spectacular contrast levels. It’s beautifully made, but 3D looks a little unnatural and it’s let down by the lack of a decent movie streaming service – given the price, that’s a shame

Instant expert

Simon Osborne-Walker Visionary

Back in 1991, the average British TV screen size was 21in, rising to 25in by 1995. Fast-forward to 2012 and, according to a recent Ofcom report, more than a third of the televisions sold in the first quarter of this year were either ‘super-large’ (33-42in) or ‘jumbo-sized’ (43in or bigger). Flat-panel TV tech has transformed our living-room expectations – but all the same, we’d bet that the market for LG’s new 84LM9600 is going to be pretty small. Not that we don’t approve of its new 84in tech-laden leviathan, oh no: an LED-backlit smart TV featuring LG’s passive 3Dtech, it’s a 3840 x 2160 panel that can accept 4K content, should you find any. No, the only downside here is that this giant costs around $. Ah, well, looks like we’re stuck with 42-inchers for a while yet…

“We’d imagine the market for LG’s new 84in TV will be pretty small”

What to look for

1.    LCD or plasma?

LCD is edging closer to victory simply because it’s so much cheaper to implement. Plasma-based TVs are pricier but technically superior, though you won’t find full HD ones under 40 inches

2.    Full HD

Screens described as ‘full HD’ support a 1080p signal, the highest resolution video commercially available. They also come with an HDMI port, allowing you to pipe full HD content from a Blu-ray player or games console. Aim for HDMI 1.4s, which supports auto switching to 3D modes

3.    3D

There are two types: active shutter and passive (or polarizing). Both require glasses; the former offers superior resolution

4.    Extras

The scrabble for remote controls can be resolved with a classy universal wand – and don’t skimp on cables, especially analogue ones. A decent HDMI is a necessity at over 2m


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