Six top TV values: Best screens for the buck

When it comes to buying a TV, you like to know you're getting a good deal. The following models represent the best value available today.

In 2012, we made some changes to the way we rate televisions , with the biggest one being the new Value score. CNET now apportions 40 percent of the total TV score to value. Whether it's worth $300 or $3,000, you want to know that the TV you're buying represents the best you can get for the price, and that's where Value comes in.

The following models scored superbly on Value, garnering either a 9 or a 10 on the scale. We've spoken at length about how good the Panasonic ST50 is for the money, and so it's only natural that it gets a 10. But it's not the only awesome value out there. Below you'll find five others, too, starting at a mere $250 and arranged in order of Value and overall CNET score.


Panasonic TC-PST50 series (50, 55, 60, and 65 inches)
While it's not the cheapest TV on the market, the ST50 gives you the most for your money of any TV we have yet seen. Superb image quality, a modest price given what you get, and an understated design make this Panasonic our favorite big-screen TV of the year. Read the full review.


Vizio E320i-A0 (32 inches)
The ST50 can be considered a mid- to high-end TV, but this $300 Vizio is decidedly lower. Its picture quality is decent, although not quite as good as that from the Toshiba below, but its real ace in the hole is features. Namely, integrated Smart TV for as low a price as we've ever seen. Read the full review .


Toshiba 32C120U (32 inches)
At $250, this 32-inch Toshiba is the least expensive TV we've reviewed this year. Its image quality outdoes that of every other same-size TV we've tested. If you don't care about Smart TV, it's a no-brainer choice; if you do, grab the aforementioned Vizio. Read the full review .


Samsung PNE6500 series (51 and 60 inches)
With picture quality on par with the best TVs of 2012, the Samsung PND6500 plasma represents an excellent value for videophiles who don't demand to own the top of the line. Read the full review.


Panasonic TC-PUT50 series (50, 55, and 60 inches)
Its image quality is as good as the ST50's in a dark room, and choosing the step-down Panasonic UT50 can save you about $300 at the 50-inch size. Unfortunately, the 42-inch size has been discontinued by Panasonic so it's tough to find (click here for 42/43-inch alternatives). Read the full review.


Vizio M3D0KD series (47 and 55 inches)
This Vizio is one of the best midsize value-for-money LEDs available, with a packed feature set and image quality that surpasses many other high-end LED TVs. Read the full review.


Click through to the reviews for additional screen sizes.

Bonus for reading this far: There are four other TV series we've reviewed this year that score a 9 or higher in Value, but didn't make the cut for inclusion above. Here they are.

Editors' note: This article originally appeared in August and was updated October 17, 2012, with new TVs.

 

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