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CHOICE Awards 2011: Best Television Brand

Samsung awarded Best Television Brand in the 2011 CHOICE Awards.
 
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01 .And the winner is...

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CHOICE has tested over 70 TVs over the last 12 months and used the results to help determine the Best Television Brand for our 2011 CHOICE Awards.
However, this award is based on other factors including:

  • Average score of all TVs we tested for each brand.
  • Percentage of models that made our What to Buy list.
  • Each brand’s appliance reliability score based on a survey carried out among members.

The strongest performers in TVs across all screen sizes and price points are Panasonic, Sony and Samsung. All three brands consistently appeared at the top of the table for overall performance in the labs and satisfaction among CHOICE members.

 In 2010, the Samsung has been the standout, releasing a series of quality models catering for the buyer wanting a small TV in the study, right up to 150cm-plus panels providing the full home cinema experience.

Samsung has not been making TVs for as long as established Japanese manufacturers Sony and Panasonic, but the South Korean brand’s range of TVs have performed well and been regulars in our What to Buy lists.

 
 

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TVs

Choosing the right TV depends on a number of factors, however the size of your room is arguably the biggest factor. If you get a TV that is too small, you won't enjoy the HD quality on offer, whereas if you have a giant TV in a small room, you may be too close to the TV and be distracted by seeing individual pixels.

Small TVs (up to 94cm)

While many of us lust after a 150cm 3D monster, a small TV is often all we need for the spare bedroom, study, or in a small apartment. This size is ideal for areas where you’re no more than a couple of metres away from the screen.
Important things to consider include viewing angle and sound quality. If the TV is in a room where you’ll be moving around a lot, such as a kitchen, viewing angle is particularly important.
Smaller TVs are less likely to be hooked up to a sound system, so the sound in a small TV is important. Most smaller models are not particularly thin, leaving room for a set of speakers that would never fit into the latest large-screen, super-skinny models.
Screen sizes of about 94cm are ideal for a studio apartment or casual viewers who don’t want the TV to dominate the room. Features such as LED backlighting are sometimes available at this size, but are not yet common.

Medium TVs (102cm-107cm)

More than 2,000,000 TVs were sold in Australia last year, and one out of every three was in the 102-107cm screen range. These are often collectively referred to as 42-inch TVs, and this screen size is large enough to enjoy HD TV and movies without dominating an average-sized room. Manufacturers often see this size as the entry point for introducing features such as LED backlighting, home networking and IPTV as well as USB and removable card support so you can enjoy movies and photos taken on your camcorder or digital camera. Plasma TVs also start to appear at this size, although LCD is by far the most common type available.
To add other devices such as a game console or DVD player, make sure the TV has multiple connections so you aren’t constantly plugging in and unplugging devices.

Large TVs (117cm and over)

If you want to get serious about creating a home cinema experience, this is the size for you. But bear in mind, choosing a larger TV will change the look and feel of your room. Included in the large TV category are the relatively new 117cm and 119cm screens – ideal if you want a large TV but can’t justify losing your lounge room to a 50 inch-plus monster panel.
All the latest technologies such as LED backlighting, 3D Blu-ray support and networking features such as wireless are common for this size.
Large TVs are ideal for a room where you sit at least three metres away from the screen, so they’re good for a fairly substantial living space. While all the TVs tested can be wall mounted, some larger-screen models may be unsuitable for this as they can weigh more than 30kg. Our two-part video explains how to set up a home cinema system.

See all our TV reviews.

Buying a TV can be a confusing process, with buzzwords such as HD3D, IPTV (internet TV) and LED all fighting for your attention.
Here, we explain the latest terms and technology, and give you the information you need to decide not just which TV will give you the best picture and sound, but also which is best for your home.

3D TV

After a few false starts, 3D TV is starting to deliver on its potential, with movies such as Avatar and the latest Pixar offerings such as Toy Story 3 showing how good 3D can get. We comment on the quality of the 3D experience in tests, but it is not part of the overall score as people are still watching most TV and movies in 2D. However, some of the best-performing models in the past couple of tests have been 3D-capable, so they’re just as good at showing regular 2D TV as a 3D Blu-ray disc.

Size matters

Don’t be fooled into thinking bigger is always better when choosing a TV. The important things to consider are the distance you’re sitting from the TV when watching it, and the resolution capabilities of the TV.
Measure the screen’s diagonal size (for example, a 42-inch or 106cm TV has a diagonal measurement of 106cm). Multiply this number by about three and you have a good distance from seat to screen.
You can sit closer when watching a high resolution screen, but remember that a TV has to suit your home and lifestyle, so make sure it doesn’t dominate the room.

Making a sound choice

While picture quality has improved over the past couple of years, the latest craze for thin-panel TVs is affecting sound quality. They might look great, but the trade-off is usually poorer sound.
This will probably not be an issue for people with home theatre sound systems. However, if you want to just turn on the TV to catch the news in the morning, you’ll quickly come to hate the horrible tinny speakers wedged into your super-thin screen. If you don’t have additional speakers for your TV, check our tables to find a model with good sound.

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