Contrast ratio is the most important aspect of a TV's performance. More than any other single metric, a set's contrast ratio will be the most noticeable difference between two TVs.
That is, if you could juxtapose them. Which you can't. Or if you could compare their claimed specs. Which you can't.
Understanding what contrast ratio is and how to judge it will help you determine the best TV for your dollar. But it's a lot harder than it sounds.
In its simplest form, contrast ratio is the difference between the brightest image a TV can create and the darkest. In another way: white/black=contrast ratio. If a TV can output 45 foot-lamberts with a white screen and 0.010 ft-L with a black screen, it's said to have a contrast ratio of 4,500:1.
Unfortunately, it gets more complex from there. … Read more