Sound & Vision's Best
Flat PanelsPioneer Elite PRO-FHD1 1080p 50-inch Plasma $8,000, October 2006 Pioneer conquered significant engineering challenges to deliver its classic plasma perfection in a 50-inch package with 1080p resolution. pioneerelectronics.com Olevia 747i 47-inch 1080p LCD HDTV $3,500, April 2007 Olevia, better known for its budget LCDs in the smaller sizes, pulled out the stops on this premium HDTV featuring the Silicon Optix Realta video processing chip. www.olevia.com Toshiba 47LZ196 47-inch 1080p LCD $3,500, January 2007 Good picture quality coupled with one of the most extensive feature sets you'll find on a TV, including a helpful color palatte control that allows you to pick-up any color from program material for fine-tuning. tacp.toshiba.com JVC LT-46FN97 46-inch 1080p LCD HDTV $2,800, December 2006 This JVC earns its recommendation with unusually good rendition of colors and a highly accurate TheaterPro mode that delivers near-perfect grayscale without professional calibration. www.jvc.com Sony Bravia KDL-40XBR2 40-inch 1080p LCD $2,800, November 2006 Sony's XBR series LCDs remain pricey for their class at any given size, but LCD picture quality doesn't get much better. sonystyle.com Vizio P50HDTV 50-inch Plasma $1,900, December 2006 Not the pinnacle of performance, features, or build quality, but through the magic of big volume sales Vizio continues to deliver huge bang for the buck in this miracle of price erosion. For flat-panel on a budget, this is one to check out. vizioce.com Vizio P42HDTV 42-inch Plasma $1,800, May 2006 With its crisp picture, natural color, and a street price closer to $1,500, this plasma bargain is hard to beat. vizioce.com Based on Sound & Vision's experience with the following brands and model lines, also consider these untested models: Pioneer Elite PRO-1140HD 50-in plasma, $4,500, see related review of PRO-1130HD Pioneer Elite PRO-930HD 43-inch plasma, $3,700, www.pioneerelectronics.com Sony KDL46XBR2 46-in LCD, $3,500; Sony KDL52XBR2 52-in LCD, $5,000, sonystyle.com Olevia 742i 42-in LCD, $2,999, olevia.com.
Rear-ProjectorsSony KDS-60A2000 60-inch SXRD $2,600, October 2006 Sony delivers stunning 1080p bigscreen picture quality and an extensive and sophisticated menu for fine-tuning the image in this LCoS-based rear projector, all at a bargain price compared with flat panel plasmas or LCDs of similar size. Though still available, this model was replaced last fall by the KDS-60A2020, essentially the same TV with a cosmetic upgrade. www.sony.com Based on Sound & Vision's experience with the following brands and model lines, also consider these untested models: Sony KDS-60A2020 60-in SXRD rear projector, $2,900; Sony KDS-50A2020 50-in SXRD rear projector, $2,200; Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70-in SXRD rear projector, $4,500, sonystyle.com.
Front ProjectorsSim2 HT3000 1080p DLP $15,995, October 2006 This superlative single-chip 1080p DLP projector remains a viable option for cost-no-object installs, but shoppers would be wise to also check out Sim2's D80 at $9,995. sim2usa.com Sharp XV-Z20000 1080p DLP Front Projector $10,000, June 2007 It's not cheap, but Sharp's top-of-the-line front projector earns its premium price tag with its rich, natural color, solid blacks, and, especially, it's amazingly crisp detail. sharpusa.com JVC DLA-HD1 1080p D-ILA Front Projector $6,300, May 2007 Great picture quality with virtually no compromises at a good price makes this 1080p front pro the one to beat. jvc.com Sony VPL-VW50 1080p SXRD Front Projector $5,000, January 2007 We ran into a bit of trouble with picture uniformity that required professional calibration to solve (see review), but this superb 1080p front pro (nicknamed "Pearl") still comes recommended by virtue of its amazing picture quality for the price. sonystyle.com Panasonic PT-AE1000U 1080p LCD Front Projector $4,000, June 2007 Thanks to its 1080p resolution and dynamic iris that delivers good contrast and black levels, this LCD model is a great choice among value-priced front pros. panasonic.com InFocus Play Big IN76 720p DLP Front Projector $2,500, May 2006 This HD projector boasts powerful light output, excellent grayscale and color reproduction, sharp detail, and a slick, sci-fi design. www.infocus.com Optoma HD72 DLP Front Projector $2,000, May 2006 Its low price and great performance make the Optoma HD72 one of the great bargains in HDTV front projectors. www.optomausa.com Panasonic AE900U LCD Front Projector $1,800, May 2006 The ability to deliver deep blacks and great shadow detail make this high-def LCD projector a tremendous value. panasonic.com Based on Sound & Vision's experience with the following brands and model lines, also consider these untested models: Sim2 D80 1080p DLP front projector, $9,995, sim2usa.com.