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2009 saw the introduction of Internet-capable HDTVs and also Internet-capable Blu-ray Players with Wi-Fi.

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Best HDTVs for under $1,000 for 2012

Samsung UN40EH6000 40-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LED HDTV

1080p video and 120Hz refresh rate with LED backlight and large 40 inch screen. This TV weighs only 20 lbs. and uses less power than a Plasma TV. For around $700, this TV does not have all the features of top-of-the-line LED HDTVs but the basics are there. The two HDMI ports are less than desirable. Most TVs today have four HDMI inputs. No 3-D and no Wi-Fi built-in but to some this may not be a drawback. Great picture and super thin screen makes this TV highly recommended.

Samsung UN40ES6100 40-Inch 1080p 120 Hz Slim LED HDTV

Built-in Wi-Fi (web browser) and 120Hz refresh rate plus 40 inch super thin screen and 1080p all for less than $1,000 makes this Samsung TV a best buy.
Three HDMI, three USB and DLNA makes this TV capable of multiple inputs, video, audio, music from your external sources. Highly recommended.

LG 42LS5700 42-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LED-LCD HDTV with Smart TV

42 inch 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV with DLNA, Wi-Fi built-in for $799.00.


What are today's HDTV trends and What's ahead for HDTV.

Faster Refresh Rates:

LCD HDTVs problem of motion blur during fast action - Many manufacturers introduced systems that upped frame refresh rates from 60Hz to 120Hz in 2008, and in 2009 many manufacturers are doubling those rates again to 240Hz (at least for top-tier models). Only the lower tier manufacturers, like RCA and Polaroid, said they were still looking at 120Hz as a step up. Of Sharp's models, for example, all new TV's introduced at 40-inches and up now use 120Hz technology. Only one line in Sony's Bravia HDTVs lacks 120Hz technology--the Bravia S5100-series. The use of higher refresh rates only helps to close the performance gap between LCD and plasma televisions, but there are diminishing returns at higher refresh rates.

LED Backlit Displays:

LED backlighting systems with local dimming are the hottest 2009 trend. To help give LCD sets the kind of black and deep gray performance that today’s best plasma sets already enjoy, LCD TV makers are turning to LED backlighting with local zone dimming. Yes, LED backlit displays can consume less energy. Yes, the images can look brilliant, with better dynamic contrast. But not all manufacturers are pushing LED. Samsung certainly is with its new series dedicated strictly to LED displays. But Sharp continues to limit LED technology. Sony has not added any new LED LCD HDTVs of late. This technology still carries a price premium over traditional CCFL-based LCDs. Meanwhile, manufacturers are forging ahead to improve traditional CCFL technology.


2009 was the breakout year of the Internet-connected TV. Vizio, Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, LG all touted Internet-TVs, with many of those using the Yahoo Connected TV widgets system. But connectivity isn't just about widgets; nor is it just about connecting your TV to your home network to stream content to your PC. It's about accessing Internet-based services, too, such as Netflix for video streaming, or Pandora for audio streaming.

Internet connectivity.

More and more sets (both LCD and plasma) are coming with built-in wired, and sometimes wireless, Internet connectivity. The reason: almost all manufacturers offer internet content access services and plainly expect us to start using our TVs as “media access hubs.”

IP TV access services and DLNA compliance are becoming the norms.

Most manufacturers have announced IP TV content access services, most of which incorporate Yahoo! TV Widgets (stock quotes, weather, news, Flickr, etc.), some access to free content (e.g., YouTube, etc.), and—in many though not all cases—access to paid online movie download content partners (e.g., NetFlix, Amazon HD-On-Demand, etc.). Another element in the content delivery/access puzzle is DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compliance, which enables TV to access video (or audio) content stored on PCs in the home or other DLNA-compliant servers.


Connectivity will be the critical first step in bringing content to HDTVs. Devices, such as DVRs, Blu-ray players, and media servers, will need to connect to HDTVs faster and in more convenient robust way. Numerous standards and companies are working on this, like the Wireless HD consortium (WiHD). The wireless HD standard has the backing of top TV brands. LG claims it has the first TVs in the U.S. that support wireless HDMI. LG's LHX LCD, is a 55-inch HDTV that sports a separate "media box" where you plug your cable boxes and Blu-ray player into. Right now Internet or networked TV's are very limited in the breadth of content they can display precisely because there isn't an easy way to stream bandwidth intensive content to the TV. Consumers have a lot of pent-up desire for a wire-free home entertainment center, never mind HDTV.

Wireless HD connections are increasingly common.

More than a few manufacturers are offering wireless HD connectivity for their LCD sets, meaning the TVs can function (and connect to home theater systems) with no signal cables at all. Given the inherent simplicity of wired HDMI connections, some might question whether wireless HD is really necessary, but it appears the technology has struck a chord with consumers. Another reason for going to wireless HD connections, though, is that we may soon see the advent two-piece TVs, where the TV consists of a hyper-thin display panel wirelessly connected to an outboard tuner-I/O-video processor box.


Aesthetically-minded consumers love the “ultra thin” look.

For LCD TV makers, the ongoing push for slender—in some cases mind-bendingly thin—TV sets, which if taken to its logical conclusion, may well lead to a scenario where two-piece TV’s become commonplace. Essentially, there would be an ultra-thin display panel (or monitor) that wirelessly connects to an outboard box that incorporates tuner functions, powerful video processing functions, A/V inputs and outputs, and network connectivity features. OLED TVs are an example of ultra-thin displays.

Aesthetically-minded consumers appreciate TV bezels with a touch of color.

The second styling motif is a trend toward adding touches of color and/or shading to spice up the look of TV bezels, which have traditionally been black, silver, or gray. Sharp's BD-series LCD HDTVs sport a hint of blue. Toshiba Regza's "Deep Lagoon" design gives a 3D feel. One good example would be the color scheme of Sharp’s BD-series TVs, where the lower edges of the TVs’ black bezels morph into deep metallic blue. Other Sharp models use the same visual technique, and have color shifts from black to champagne gold, or even from black to a deep metallic copper.

Going Green:

Everybody’s going “Green.” Every manufacturer, it seems, has a “green” story to tell, with initiatives taking three forms.
• First, almost all manufacturers are working to build TVs that consume less power.
• Second, some manufacturers are looking to reduce the amount of power consumed in manufacturing TV in the first place.
• Third, manufacturers are focusing on recycling, both in terms of using recyclable material in new products and setting up recycling centers/systems to process older TVs (and other electronics components) that are being take out of service.
The bottom line: heightened concern for the environment is on everyone’s mind. Plasma makers continue to find ways to reduce energy consumption.

Sony's Bravia VE5-series goes the furthest with its environmentally friendly features. This line--Bravia KDL-52VE5, the Bravia KDL-46VE5, and the Bravia KDL-40VE5-- features high-efficiency HCFL backlighting, which uses reduced-size cathode tubes in order to improve power efficiency by 40 percent compared with other Sony LCDs. These models also feature a zero-watt standby power switch, a light sensor with dynamic backlight control to adjust the screen's brightness down for use in dim environments, and a presence sensor that turns off the TV if it doesn't detect motion for a specified period of time. These models all feature Motionflow 120Hz technology, too.

HDTV Prices:

Clearly, prices will generally continue to push downward--a good thing given the current economy.

Built-in USB Ports, and Blu-ray:

Once an unusual find, USB ports are now near-ubiquitous on HDTVs. Model after model sport this connector allowing you to easily jack-in a USB flash drive and access images and other multimedia content. SD Card slots are also popping up more frequently than before (previously, just Panasonic had SD Card). Sharp has televisions with integrated Blu-ray players, too.

720p Fades:

This not-quite-Full-HD high-def resolution will always hit a super-low, entry-level price for the manufacturers aiming to provide ultra-affordable 42-inch displays. But many manufacturers are dropping 720p entirely, or limiting them to specific models in the below 30-inch category. Sony, for example, has just two 720p models left. The 32-inch Bravia KDL-32L5000, and the 26-inch KDL-26L5000. Of its new models, Sharp only has 720p in 19-inch and 26-inch televisions.

1080p becomes standard at 32-Inches and Up:

Why down-scale video. Blu-ray movies have 1080p resolution so even a bedroom HDTV should be compatible.

Video Resolution 3840 x 2160:

The “Next Big Thing” may be upscaling to 3840 x 2160 resolution levels. Just when you thought “High Definition” couldn’t get much higher, manufacturers are beginning to show proof-of-concept technology demos and even prototype products geared toward upscaling HD content to even higher, 3840 x 2160, resolution levels. 1080p, the current top dog, is 1920 x 1080 resolution.

HDTVs under $500
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