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Shopping for a TV? A new list names the best

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chances are a TV might have been on your Christmas wish list. But if you didn't get one, you are in luck because TV prices usually plummet right after the holidays.

So if you are in the market for a big-screen TV, you will be happy to know Consumer Reports just tested hundreds of TVs. And guess what? Paying top dollar doesn't necessarily mean top performance.

Catching the big game at your local sports bar or restaurant is one way to see the Super Bowl. But if you want to pick up a new TV before your Super Bowl party, Consumer Reports can help. Testers size up hundreds of TVs every year to find ones to recommend.

"One of the tests we perform on our TVs is a motion blur test. This test is designed to expose how well a TV can reproduce fast movement, such as you might find in sports or action movies," said Claudio Ciacci with Consumer Reports.

Some LCDs tend to have trouble.

Then there's the black-level test.

"So on better performing sets like this one, you have a nice deep black level that gives you a nice dynamic contrast in bright scenes as well as in dark scenes. Whereas worse performing sets like this one, you have a brighter black level that doesn't give you that deep contrast, so images will look flatter, especially in dark scenes," said Christopher Andrade with Consumer Reports.

Testers also evaluate how well each television displays color. This device takes a color temperature measurement from a solid grey screen to see how balanced the tones are.

"A high price tag doesn't guarantee you a great TV. We found plenty of TVs that were higher priced but actually came in lower in the ratings than many less expensive sets," Consumer Reports' Jim Wilcox said.

But testers did find several TVs to recommend, including this 55-inch plasma Panasonic Viera for $1,200. It has an excellent picture and nice extras like 3D and Internet access.

If you want to spend less, Consumer Reports recommends the 60-inch LG 60PA6500 for $900. While it lacks some bells and whistles, it's got an excellent picture.

(Copyright ©2014 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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