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Consumer Reports: Latest TV Sets Are Bigger, Better, Smarter, And Cheaper



  Consumer Reports: Latest TV Sets Are Bigger, Better, Smarter, And Cheaper

PR Newswire

YONKERS, N.Y., Jan. 24, 2013

Super-low-priced Sets from Lesser-known Brands May Offer Questionable Value;
LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony are Among Best Performers in CR's TV Ratings

YONKERS, N.Y., Jan. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Americans who are in
the market for a new TV – perhaps in time for Super Bowl Sunday – will find
models that are bigger, better, smarter, and cheaper, according to the latest
Consumer Reports TV tests. The full report, which features Ratings of 140-plus
LCD and plasma TVs, can be found in the March issue of Consumer Reports, on
newsstands January 31, and online at ConsumerReports.org.

"If you're thinking about upgrading your TV, or if you're one of the holdouts
planning to buy your first flat-panel TV, you'll find plenty of great models
in our latest Ratings – many at prices that will put a smile on your face,"
said Jim Willcox, Senior Editor for Electronics, Consumer Reports.

Consumers should be heartened to know that TV prices are usually lowest in
February and March, when manufacturers start shipping new models and retailers
cut prices to sell off the old ones. Compelling new features on mainstream
2013 models aren't expected, so consumers shouldn't pass up great deals on
top-rated 2012 sets. However, some TV bargains can be risky. Super-low priced
sets, especially from lesser-known brands, aren't always the best deals. Some
of the lowest-scoring sets in CR's Ratings – with below-average marks for
picture, sound, or both – include TVs from Coby, Element, Haier, TCL, and
Westinghouse.

LCD TVs from LG, Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony have consistently been among the
best performers in the Consumer Reports Ratings. Plasmas sets from Panasonic
have been at the top, followed closely by Samsung and LG.

Internet-capable TVs proliferate
The Consumer Reports Ratings include more Smart TVs, or TVs that can connect
to the Internet to stream video from various online services, putting
on-demand movies and TV shows at viewers' fingertips. All tested TVs with this
capability offer Netflix, but the availability of other services like Hulu
Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and Vudu varies by brand. A growing number have
full browsers for surfing the Web, built-in Wi-Fi, and access to an apps
market. In addition to streaming video services, most Internet-capable TVs let
you connect to a music service such as Pandora, social networking sites such
as Facebook and Twitter, and even eBay.

Four basic questions to consider when you buy a TV
Buying a new TV is a big investment for many consumers. Here are four basic
questions to consider when shopping for that new set:

  o What screen size?  Don't think small and regret it for the life of the TV.
    If you sit 6 to 8 feet from the TV, get at least a 40-inch set, but
    consider a 46- to 50-incher to get a more immersive experience. If the
    screen is too small for your viewing distance, it's difficult to
    appreciate the clarity that makes 1080p high definition so compelling.
  o Plasma or LCD? Many of the highest-scoring models in our Ratings are
    plasma TVs, which have several advantages over LCD TVs. Plasmas, which
    come in 42-inch and larger sizes, tend to cost a bit less than comparably
    sized LCDs, especially those using LED backlights. The best plasmas can
    provide rich, movielike images with deep blacks that add depth and
    dimension. Unlike most LCD models, they have blur-free motion and
    unlimited viewing angles.
  o 1080p or 720p resolution? Most new TVs have 1080p (full HD) resolution,
    but some smaller sets and low-priced 42- and 50-inch plasmas still have
    720p. A full HD model can display finer detail than a 720p TV, but more
    detail doesn't always result in better picture quality. Some 720p TVs CR
    has tested had very good picture quality. In general, CR recommends a
    1080p set if price isn't a top concern, but consider 720p for top value.
  o 3D or not? 3D capability is simply a feature on a regular HDTV, not a new
    kind of TV. Even if you don't plan to watch 3D in the near future, don't
    rule out a TV that has that feature. Many are among the best HD sets CR
    has tested. And if you get a 3D-capable set, you'll be good to go if 3D
    becomes appealing to you in the future.

More tips on getting the right TV for the big game can be found at
ConsumerReports.org.

Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing
organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey
research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services
annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to
its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers
Union, works for health reform, product safety, financial reform, and other
consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

JANUARY 2013
The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not
be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports^® is an
expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a
fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to
protect themselves. We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we
test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived
from the sale of Consumer Reports^®, ConsumerReports.org^® and our other
publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial
contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the
use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in
advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission.
Consumer Reports will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of
its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports^®.

SOURCE Consumer Reports

Website: http://www.consumerreports.org
Contact: James McQueen +1-914-378-2839, jmcqueen@consumer.org
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