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Al Griffin  |  Jan 30, 2012  |  0 comments

I won’t assume that everyone will know what I’m talking about when I drop the word “Kuro,” but longtime Sound+Vision readers may recall a line of high-end, and accordingly high-priced, Pioneer Elite plasma TVs that we heaped praise upon back in the day.

Al Griffin  |  Dec 28, 2011  |  0 comments

Much of the R&D effort for Panasonic’s TVs gets funneled into plasma technology — with excellent results. (Check out the TC-P55VT30 in our Editors’ Choice Awards here.) But as we found out this time last year upon reviewing the company’s TC-L42D2, it also makes sets of the LCD persuasion. Quite a few of them, in fact.

Michael Berk  |  Dec 14, 2011  |  0 comments

Cable cutting. You've probably begun the process already, even if you haven't gone all the way - think about how often you turn to Netflix, or Amazon, or Hulu Plus. And despite the panicked efforts of networks and providers nationwide, when are you watching live TV, exactly, aside from sports?

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 09, 2011  |  35 comments
Editor's Note: Home Theater is pleased to bring you this exclusive first look at Sharp's groundbreaking Elite LCD HDTV. As you'll read in Tom Norton's superb and thorough review, it is the first LCD that can truly go head-to-head with the now-discontinued Pioneer Elite Kuro plasmas for the title of Best TV Ever. Enjoy, and please post your comments.—Rob Sabin

2D Performance
3D Performance
Price: $6,000 At A Glance: Class-leading blacks and shadow detail • Superb resolution • Bright, vivid 3D

When Pioneer announced it was dropping out of the HDTV business in 2009 (its remaining sets were available on a limited basis until early 2010), the video world shuddered. While there were sets at the time that could at least match Pioneer’s Elite-branded Kuro models with respect to color, resolution, and video processing, most independent observers—and most A/V reviewers—agreed that no other sets could equal the Pioneers’ black level. But in an era of dropping flat-panel prices, Pioneer couldn’t hope to match the competition’s stickers while retaining the quality it was known for, and they succumbed to market forces.

Al Griffin  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments

When they first arrived a few years back, LED-driven LCD TVs with a full array backlight made a big splash. Why? Because the backlight, a grid of LED lamp modules spanning the rear of the display panel, can be modulated via local dimming — a process that enables the set to track specific areas in the image, turning select modules on, off, or somewhere in between.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 28, 2011  |  11 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Price: $3,800 At A Glance: Exceptional black levels • Outstanding detail and color • Head-tilt 3D ghosting

With the growing popularity of LED backlighting for LCD HDTVs, it’s easy to forget that not all such backlighting is created equal. LEDs can be configured to provide either backlighting or edge lighting. In either case, the lighting can be steady, with image brightness dependent only on the pixels of the LCD imaging panel, which darkens the picture as the source requires. Or the lighting can be dynamic, in which the set can dim the backlighting or edge lighting from instant to instant, as needed, assisting the LCD pixels in adjusting for the optimum light output.

Al Griffin  |  Aug 29, 2011  |  0 comments

While 3D movies haven’t totally taken over the multiplex, the format remains a force to be reckoned with. Michael Bay just released a new Transformers installment in 3D (Transformers: Dark of the Moon), James Cameron is at work on Avatar sequels, and the entire Star Wars saga is being formatted for 3D release.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Aug 08, 2011  |  9 comments

Price: $1300 At A Glance: Exceptional color and detail • Deep blacks • Non-uniformity clearly visible in letterbox bars and dark scenes • Smart TV functions well implemented

The Samsung UN46D6000 LED-edgelit LCD TV is among the best-selling flat panels from several retailers, and for good reason—it's a superb performer in almost every respect. Out of the box, it turned in the most accurate measurements of any TV I've ever reviewed (that is, after I selected the Movie picture mode), its color and detail are exquisite, its blacks are very deep, and the Smart TV online content looked better than I've seen from most displays. The only real fly in the ointment is the non-uniformity of illumination in dark scenes and letterbox bars, which is endemic of just about all LED-edgelit LCDs. But if you can get past that, the UN46D6000 is an exceptional value I would recommend to anyone looking for a flat panel on a budget.

Michael Berk  |  Aug 04, 2011  |  0 comments

There's little question that Pioneer's Elite-branded Kuro plasmas were among the best - if not the best - televisions ever produced, with black levels still unmatched, in the opinion of most.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 03, 2011  |  0 comments
Price: $1,100 At A Glance: Bright, pleasing picture • Crisp detail • Poor contrast • Highly reflective screen

We’re reasonably certain that most folks looking for a budget HDTV probably aren’t poring through the pages of enthusiast publications like Home Theater for advice. If they’re researching at all, they’re studying the easy-to-digest bubble ratings in Consumer Reports or Which Video, or Googling generic consumer-help Websites.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 22, 2011  |  0 comments
Price: $3,600 At A Glance: Superb resolution • Precise color • Bright, ghost-free 3D • Non-uniform screen lighting

Thin, Dark, and Handsome

Thin was in last year, and the trend continues without an end in sight. Manufacturers aren’t likely to quit the race until they have HDTVs you can use for wallpaper.

Al Griffin  |  Jul 13, 2011  |  0 comments

At 3D theaters, you’re handed lightweight passive glasses that work in tandem with a polarizing filter positioned over the projector’s lens. When viewing at home with a 3D TV, you use bulky, battery-powered glasses with active shutter liquid-crystal lenses. Passive glasses in theaters are cheap and easily replaced. But at an average cost of $100 per pair, glasses used at home represent a sizable investment. Better to put them in a safe place — and keep ’em away from kids!

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 23, 2011  |  0 comments
Price: $2,400 At A Glance: Solid 2D performance • 2D-to-3D conversion • Visible ghosting in 3D • Extensive Internet features

Order of LEDs on the Side

The movement to replace the traditional fluorescent (CCFL) backlighting for LCD displays with LEDs has become a flood. Sony’s 2011 lineup is dominated by LED-lit LCDs. While the line-topping XBR-HX929 sets have full-array LED backlighting with local dimming, the remainder position their LEDs just beyond the edges of the screen. Aside from lower power consumption compared with CCFL blacklights, LED backlights of either type offer another benefit: They can adjust rapidly in accordance with the changing signal. Edge-lit LED backlights have two primary advantages to manufacturers over the full-array approach that has made them the more widely used. One is lower cost; the other is the ability, at least in some HDTVs, to shrink the depth of the panel to something that seems to approach that of a credit card.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 23, 2011  |  2 comments
Price: $2,400 At A Glance: Crisp resolution and accurate color • 2-step and 10-step calibration controls • Bright, vivid 3D

Living on the Edge

So far, three manufacturers have released 3D HDTVs that use passive polarized glasses rather than active shutter glasses: VIZIO, Toshiba, and LG. All three use technology developed by LG. In our June issue, we took a close look at VIZIO’s 65-inch entry, so this month, it’s perhaps appropriate that we go straight to the source and dive into LG’s first passive-glasses 3D HDTV.

Timothy J. Seppala  |  Jun 09, 2011  |  0 comments

One of the key directives brought up during Sony's media conference at the Electronics Entertainment Expo this year was the company's desire to drive home their commitment to 3D gaming. They've focused on dismantling one of the biggest roadblocks in the way of mass consumer adoption: the price of the TVs themselves.