Kevin Hunt - The Electronic Jungle
The Electronic Jungle
10:19 AM EDT, June 17, 2013
Welcome to the HDTV New Year. It started in March, but the last of the 2013 models won't arrive in stores until sometime this month.
So which one to buy?
That's a question we've left for Gary Merson, resident watchdog at HDguru.com, a consumer site devoted to testing HDTVs, explaining HD technology and, sometimes, challenging the HD industry.
Plasmas are the year's best values (again), Merson says, with models from three Panasonic series and one Samsung series worth buying. The models within each series differ by screen size.
"These four series are the best the companies offer," he says, "and will outperform any 2013 LED LCD (an LCD television that uses LED backlighting) or LCD. Plasma TV provide superb motion resolution for viewing sports and action, the widest viewing angles, dark detail and deeper blacks."
Those who still believe plasma HDTVs are inferior should know that Merson also recommends some LED LCD sets from Samsung and LG.
Series: TC-P(screen size)ST60
Models: TC-P50ST60 ($1,150), TC-P55ST60 ($1,500), TC-P60ST60 ($1,700), TC-P65ST60 ($2,600).
Merson: "Panasonic's TC-PxxST60 is the best performance-for-the-money of any 2013 HDTV. … Top rated by HD Guru. … Features include Smart TV with Internet movie streaming, games and browser, 3-D and just a 2-inch depth."
Series: TC-P(screen size)T60
Models: TC-P55VT60 ($2,600), TC-P60VT60 ($3,000), TC-P65VT60 ($3,600).
Merson: "Adds HD video camera for Skype and face recognition for custom Internet functions, voice/track pad remote control, better built-in speakers and better anti-reflective filter."
Series: TC-P(screen size)ZT60
Models: TC-P60ZT60 ($3,500), TC-P65ZT60 ($4,100).
Merson: "The top of Panasonic's line, with the most advanced performance, best filter and darkest, deepest blacks of any HDTV available. … The filter glass is bonded to the plasma panel to eliminate internal reflections and acts like an ambient-light roach motel — the room light goes in but doesn't come back out, making deep, inky blacks even with moderate to high room lighting. … Includes voice/track pad remote, Smart TV functions (but no built-in camera or face recognition), 3-D, thinnest bezel of any Panasonic plasma and 1.9-inch depth. … Earns top HD Guru rating."
Series: PN(screen size)F8500
Models: PN51F8500 ($2,200), PN60F8500, PN64F8500 ($3,700).
Merson: "This top-of-the-line series has every function Samsung offers, with HD camera for gesture control, face recognition, Skype video calls, voice-control track pad remote, Web browser and 1.9-inch depth. … Best performance of any Samsung HDTV, with deep, inky blacks and advanced filter. … Also has infrared blaster for cable/satellite box control. … Earns top HD Guru HDTV rating."
Samsung LED LCD
Series: UN(screen size)F8000
Models: UN46F8000 ($2,200), UN55F8000 ($2,700), UN60F8000 ($3,000), UN65F8000 ($3,500), UN75F8000 ($8,000).
Merson: "The top-of-the-line Samsung LED LCD. … Quasi-local dimming for deeper blacks, Smart TV Internet streaming with Web browser, smart touchpad remote with voice control, 240-hertz refresh rate for best LED motion clarity, HD video camera, 3-D, gesture control, face recognition, program recommendation for each registered viewer, IR blaster cable box control. … Just 1.2 inches deep."
Series: UN(screen size)F7500
Models: UN 46F7500 ($1,900), UN 55F7500 ($2,400), UN 60F7500 ($2,700).
Merson: This series "retains the same features as the 8000 series but no quasi-local dimming."
Series: UN(screen size)F7100
Models: UN46F7100 ($1,600), UN55F7100 ($2,100), UN60F7100 ($2,400), UN65F7100 ($2,900), UN75F7100 ($6,000).
Merson: This series has "240-hertz refresh rates but no local dimming and no built-in HD video camera. … Includes other high-end features such as voice remote, program recommendations, infrared blaster for cable/satellite box control, 3-D."
Series: UN(screen size)F6400
Models: UN40F6400 ($1,150), UN44F6400 ($1,200), UN46F6400 ($1,200).
Merson: Highlights: "120-hertz refresh rate, voice remote, 3-D Smart TV."
Series: UN(screen size)F6300
Models: UN32F6300 ($700), UN40F6300 ($850), UN46F6300 ($1,100), UN50F6300 ($1,300), UN55F6300 ($1,600), UN65F6300 ($2,300).
Merson: "Basic model with Smart Internet streaming. … For those who are not interested in 3-D or voice control. … 120-hertz refresh rate."
LG LED LCD
Series: (screen size)LA7400
Models: 47LA7400 ($1,800), 55LA7400 ($2,100), 60LA7400 ($2,900).
Merson: "This series has LG's in-plane-switching (IPS) LCD panel for widest LED viewing angle. … Features 120-hertz refresh rate, motion and voice remote, passive 3-D glasses and Smart TV functions for cable/satellite."
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