December is an excellent month to take advantage of sales on toys, electronics such as TVs, kitchen cookware and more.
LCD TV Reviews
LCD TV Color and Picture Quality
Some frugal consumers simply look at the price tag when picking out a budget LCD TV, often because they want a serviceable set to fill up space in a bedroom or other small area. But some low-cost LCD TVs are better buys than others when it comes to picture quality.
The LCD TVs on our list of top picks are budget models that garner positive appraisals in LCD TV reviews -- marginally more so from home viewers than from experts. Experts look for spot-on color accuracy as well as deep, rich black levels and sharp contrast between darks and lights. A model may exhibit some weakness in one area or another -- and black levels is the most common -- but still earn enthusiastic praise from experts for picture quality as a whole. Consumer reviews for the models we focus on rarely parse these technical performance attributes and often express delight with the image before their eyes.
LCD TV Color.Most of the models we researched do a commendable job creating accurate colors. The Vizio E320i-A0 (starting at $258) provides very good color detail, according to expert reviews at Gadget Review and CNET, although the latter notes that the LCD TV color is a little too bluish in very dark scenes. Consumers who posted LCD TV reviews at Amazon applaud the color accuracy and clarity of the LG 32LM6200 (starting at $550), as well.
A reviewer from Digital Trends is impressed with the vibrant colors the Toshiba 40L5200U (starting at $490) conjures up, and a reviewer at PC Mag says this model faithfully produces accurate skin tones. Ditto for the Samsung UN40EH6000 (starting at $563), according to an expert from Home Theater. Another LCD TV review by CNET says the Samsung UN40EH6000's color accuracy is good but not quite as rich as competing models.
The budget LG 32CS560 (starting at $329) produces accurate, bright color, states an LCD TV review at PC Mag, and CNET is particularly partial to the skin tones. Two other budget models we researched also showcase passable LCD TV color. The Vizio E422VLE (starting at $478) earns a check mark for good color accuracy but a demerit for richness, according to an expert from CNET. And reviewers from CNET and Digital Trends note that colors on the Sony Bravia KDL-32BX330 (starting at $278) are slightly off, especially with respect to reds, but both agree that the overall LCD picture quality is respectable.
LCD TV Black Levels.Black levels are important because they affect the contrast ratio and the quality of detail in shadows. Parts of an image that are supposed to be completely dark simply won't look right (they appear dark gray) if black levels are too light. Black levels are traditionally the Achilles heel of LCD TVs, but the technology is improving.
For example, the VizioE320i-A0 produces very good black levels for a budget set, experts say. Black levels on the LG 32LM6200 earn mild applause from Television Info, although the overall contrast ratio is about average. The reviewer at CNET chides the Samsung UN40EH6000 for its lighter black levels even as it acknowledges decent shadow detail.
Assessments of the Toshiba 40L5200U and Sony Bravia KDL-32BX330 are divided. The Digital Trends expert praises the black levels and contrast ratio on the Toshiba model while the PC Mag expert considers the contrast ratio just about average. The Digital Trends review of the Sony Bravia says black levels are a bit too light while a CNET expert regards them as quite acceptable.
Black levels on two other models we researched pale by comparison. LCD TV reviews at CNET pan the black levels on both the LG 32CS560 and Vizio E423VLE, and some consumers' posts at Walmart note that images lack detail in darker scenes on this Vizio.
LCD TV Motion Blur.Motion blur is becoming less of an issue in entry-level LCD TVs as more and more models incorporate a 120Hz refresh rate, which is certainly good news for viewers. By way of example, LCD TV Buying Guide points out that the LG 32LM6200's 120Hz refresh rate significantly reduces motion blur and an LCD TV review at Digital Trends asserts the Toshiba 40L5200U shows occasional but barely noticeable motion judder in video playback. The LG 32CS560, a 60Hz model, displays considerable juddering, according to a CNET expert.
Vizio E422VLE Review
LG 32CS560 Review
Toshiba 40L5200U Review
Samsung UN40EH6000 Review
Vizio E320i-A0 Review
LG 32LM6200 Review
Sony Bravia EX400
Sony Bravia XBR-55HX929
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