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Plasma and LCD TV reviews

We put TVs of all types through their paces in our laboratories.
 
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01 .Introduction

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We review 81 of the latest plasma and LCD TVs, priced from $383 to $5999.

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, and
  • use the least energy.

On this page:

For more information about plasma and LCD TVs, see our Visual entertainment section.

Video: led-vs-lcd-tvs

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

Brands and models tested

• 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 models on test in our specialised TV lab and adjusted their controls to get the best picture quality possible. They keep the lighting in the room low and the sound muted, and three experts watch a variety of footage (from HD broadcast TV, DVD movies, and Blu-ray, as well as some still photos and a computer game) simultaneously on all the screens. 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 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 was cut off at the edges. 
  • They play movies and other footage to check the screen’s ability to produce images without colour banding, jerkiness, blurring or vibration. 
  • 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, as well as making a judgment on how well the high and low sounds were 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, 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 or more than 6 stars, our testers use a calibrated power supply and power meter to measure the power consumed by the TV when in use and on standby. This is done using 'out-of-the-box' settings as required by the new 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.

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 assesses how easy it is to set up a recording and manage the recordings once on the media.

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.

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, of the following features:
• Capacity to connect you to the internet via either cable, Wi-Fi or both
• 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
• A specialised remote or other device to make entering text easier
• Record to and playback from a USB device
• Content access from a smartphone or tablet
• Capacity to identify upcoming programs based on your viewing preferences

The testers 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.
 
 

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