Member-only content

TV reviews

We put TVs of all types through their paces in our laboratories. You could even say we screen them thoroughly.
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
 

01 .Introduction

TVs-lead

We take the guesswork out of buying the major television brands by putting them through their paces in our specialised laboratories.

Through our rigorous testing we reveal which TVs:

  • have the best picture quality
  • have the best sound quality
  • are the easiest to use
  • use the least energy.

On this page:

Video: led-vs-lcd-tvs

CHOICE investigates the ins and outs of LED vs LCD TVs.

Viewing sports footage on TV

Since the World Cup fever spread out of Brazil, this year we've been looking a little closer at how well the TVs we test handle sports footage in both standard and broadcast high definition (1080i).

teac-les5572f3d

Our previous tests also compared these formats for movies, but sport is an important part of our culture and we think it deserves special attention.

The footage we've been using is taken directly from broadcast TV and is of football games played in Australia. We focus on how easy it is to pick out individual players either by their features or jersey numbers, object motion problems such as blurring or pixelation and loss of detail when panning.

This is in addition to our current viewing of standard definition (DVD) and Blu-ray movies. Our technical tests remain unchanged.

Brands and models tested

2014 models:

  • Hisense 40K390PA
  • Hisense 0K390PAD
  • Kogan KALED55UHDZA
  • LG 32LB5820
  • LG 32LB6500
  • LG 42LB5610
  • LG 42LB6500
  • LG 50LB5610
  • LG 50LB5820
  • LG 50LB6500
  • LG 55EC930T
  • LG 55LB7500
  • LG 55UB820T
  • LG 55UB850T
  • LG 55UB950T
  • LG 60LB5610
  • Palsonic TFTV4227FL
  • Panasonic TH-32A400A
  • Panasonic TH-32AS610A
  • Panasonic TH-42A400A
  • Panasonic TH-42AS640A
  • Panasonic TH-42AS700A
  • Panasonic TH-50A430A
  • Panasonic TH-50AS640A
  • Panasonic TH-50AS700A
  • Panasonic TH-55AS740A
  • Panasonic TH-55AS800A
  • Panasonic TH-58AX800A
  • Samsung UA32H4000
  • Samsung UA32H5000
  • Samsung UA32H6400
  • Samsung UA40H5500
  • Samsung UA40H6300
  • Samsung UA48H5000AW
  • Samsung UA48H6400AW
  • Samsung UA48HU8500W
  • Samsung UA50HU7000
  • Samsung UA55H6400AW
  • Samsung UA55H8000AW
  • Samsung UA55HU8500W
  • Samsung UA55HU9000W
  • Samsung UA60H6400AW
  • Sony K55X8500B
  • Sony KD55X9000B
  • Sony KDL32W700B
  • Sony KDL40W600B
  • Sony KDL42W800B
  • Sony KDL48W600B
  • Sony KDL50W800B
  • Sony KDL-60W850B
  • TCL L32S4690S
  • TCL U40E5691FDS
  • TEAC LES5572F3D
  • TEAC LES6572F3D
  • TEAC LET3996FHD
  • TEAC LET5096FHD

2013 models:

  • Blaupunkt BP3914FHD
  • Hisense HL32K160L
  • Hisense HL39K360PL
  • Hisense HL40K160PL
  • Hisense HL50K610PZLN3D
  • JVC LT-40N530
  • Kogan KALED423DSMTZA
  • LG 32LA6230
  • LG 32LN5400
  • LG 32LN541B
  • LG 42LA6230
  • LG 42LA6620
  • LG 42LN5400
  • LG 42LN5710
  • LG 47LA6620
  • LG 50LA6230
  • LG 50LA6620
  • LG 50LN5400
  • LG 50PN4500
  • LG 50PN6500
  • LG 55LA6620
  • LG 55LA8600
  • LG 60LA8600
  • Palsonic TFTV3920MW
  • Panasonic TH-L32B6A
  • Panasonic TH-L32XM6A
  • Panasonic TH-L32XV6A
  • Panasonic TH-L42E6A
  • Panasonic TH-L42ET60A
  • Panasonic TH-L47WT60A
  • Panasonic TH-L50B6A
  • Panasonic TH-L50DT60A
  • Panasonic TH-L50E6A
  • Panasonic TH-L50ET60A
  • Panasonic TH-L55DT60A
  • Panasonic TH-L55ET60A
  • Panasonic TH-L55WT60A
  • Panasonic TH-P50ST60A
  • Panasonic TH-P55VT60A
  • Panasonic TH-P60ST60A
  • Samsung PS51F5000
  • Samsung PS60F8500
  • Samsung UA32F4000
  • Samsung UA32F5000
  • Samsung UA32F5500
  • Samsung UA32F6400
  • Samsung UA40F5000
  • Samsung UA40F5500
  • Samsung UA40F6400
  • Samsung UA40F6800
  • Samsung UA46F7100
  • Samsung UA50F6400
  • Samsung UA50F6700
  • Samsung UA50F6800
  • Samsung UA55F6700
  • Samsung UA55F6800
  • Samsung UA55F7100
  • Samsung UA55F8000
  • Sharp L-32LE355X
  • Sharp LC40LE355X
  • Sharp LC60LE940X
  • Sony KD-55X9004A
  • Sony KDL32R400A
  • Sony KDL32W670A
  • Sony KDL40R450A
  • Sony KDL42W670A
  • Sony KDL42W800A
  • Sony KDL46W900A
  • Sony KDL47W800A
  • Sony KDL50R550A
  • Sony KDL50W700A
  • Sony KDL55W800A
  • Sony KDL55W900A
  • Sony KDL60R550A
  • TCL L32E5390E
  • TCL L46E5510FDS
  • TCL L55F3300FS
  • TEAC LEV3294HD
  • TEAC LEV3994FHD
  • Toshib 32W2300A
  • Toshiba 50L7300A

How we test

Picture quality

Our testers set up all the models we test in our specialised TV lab and adjust their controls to get the best picture quality possible. The lighting in the room is low but not dark and the sound is muted. Three experts watch a variety of footage including movies, sport and programs made specifically for TV simultaneously on all the screens. Sources for these are from standard (576i) and high definition (1080i) broadcast TV, DVD and Blu-ray, as well as some still photos. They evaluate the picture quality and rate it out of 10 for each input. A special reference test Blu-ray disc and two reference DVDs are used to provide test patterns and some movie scenes.

  • Testers check how well each TV produces accurate colour, solid blacks and whites without a colour shift.
  • They display a number of test patterns from a high-quality Blu-ray/DVD player to measure if any of the picture is cut off at the edges.
  • They play movies and other test footage to check the screen's ability to produce images without colour banding, jerkiness, blurring, pixelation or vibration.
  • And they also check for colours bleeding in high-contrast or very intensely saturated parts of the image, and that there are no trails behind fast-moving objects on the screen.

Sound quality

Our testers listen to movies and music to check for rattles, hums, hisses or distortion, and make a judgement on how well the voices and high and low sounds are produced.

Ease of use

Testers use the remote control, front panel controls and onscreen display to perform a number of common tasks, such as channel and volume changing, setting up favourites and re-scanning channels.

They look for logical menus and clear labelling, as well as buttons and controls that are easily identified and can be used without interfering with other controls.

Energy score

If the star rating on the label is less than 1.5 stars or more than 9, our testers use a calibrated power supply and power meter to measure the power consumed by the TV when in use. This is done using "out-of-the-box" settings, as required by the mandatory power rating standard.

The actual energy used is calculated based on 10 hours' use per day over 365 days. This includes energy used when the TV is on standby during the other 14 hours of the day.

EPG

Our testers assess the ease of access to the EPG information, its update speed and the ease of setting up a recording where appropriate. This score is included as part of overall ease of use.

DVR*

Our testers record to both a USB hard drive and solid state media (USB stick) where appropriate and check to see if the recording is compatible with other TVs of the same brand, or other TVs of a different brand. They assess how easy it is to set up a recording and manage the recordings once on the media.

3D*

3D vision is assessed and a score recorded.

Smart TV

Our definition of a smart TV is one that has most, if not all, the following features:

  • Capacity to connect you to the internet via either cable, Wi-Fi or bot.
  • Web browser.
  • Built-in apps to connect you to services like catch-up TV supplied online by the major television networks, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
  • DLNA functionality to allow you to easily connect to your home network and stream media from a computer.
  • In-built games, apps and other applications that might be useful (such as weather updates or a world clock).
  • Software upgrade via the internet.
  • Some form of speech or motion control.
  • Specialised remote or other device to make entering text easier.
  • Record to and playback from a USB device.
  • Sontent access from a smartphone or tablet.
  • Capacity to identify upcoming programs based on your viewing preferences.

The tester assesses how easy it is to find and use any of the above-mentioned features, where they exist. This is reflected in the smart TV score.

*Scores for DVR, EPG and 3D are recorded, but not used in the overall assessment at this stage.

CHOICE independence is guaranteed

These independent ratings are only available through membership with CHOICE Online – because no-one tests products like we do. Arm yourself with our unique and exclusive information and make your next purchase with confidence.

 
 
 
Your say - Choice voice

Make a Comment

Members – Sign in on the top right to contribute to comments