Price: $2,800 At A Glance: 3D ready • Effective 2D-to-3D conversion mode • Fine contrast with solid blacks • Outstanding setup adjustments
The LEDing Edge
Samsung appears to be producing so many LED-backlit LCD sets these days that it risks a “been there, done that” reaction from the flat-panel peanut gallery. But with the coming of 3D, plus some twisty new technology that produces an outstanding picture, the company is challenging other set makers to a game of catch-up.
It’s been a long road from 1952’s Bwana Devil to 2009’s Avatar, but 3D in your local cineplex is now a big-time, going concern. But as we discussed in "3D: The Next Big Thing?", HDTV manufacturers are determined to bring the experience home. 3D was the star of the show at January’s CES, and 3D-capable sets are beginning to show up at your local big-box retailer. By year’s end, you’ll see 3D HDTVs from virtually all major manufacturers.
Price: $2,900 At A Glance: Unique 20-step calibration option • Crisp image with vivid color • Mediocre black level • THX certified
The drop in the prices of flat-panel HDTVs during the past few years has been dizzying. While the news about this may be noisiest on the LCD side, the footsteps you hear are plasma racing back to stake its claim to the booty.
Price: $2,400 At A Glance: Excellent resolution and color • Full adjustability • Blacks could be better • Ultra-thin 1.2-inch profile
Plasma Soldiers On
LCD televisions are everywhere these days. They fill the back walls of Best Buys, are lined up like hedgerows near the entrance of Costco, and fly out the door at Walmart. Even at this moment, they’re undoubtedly being flogged out of the back of a fleet of white vans in parking lots across the land.
Price: $1,700 At A Glance: Good performance out of the box • Excellent resolution
• Impressive black level and shadow detail • Accurate color
It Keeps Getting Better
When I visited Panasonic in Japan in the fall of 2004, with a gaggle of other journalists, plasma was the dominant flat-panel technology. But it was still pricey. On that visit, Panasonic told us that its goal was to get plasma prices down to $100 per diagonal inch.