Although it costs a tad more than bargain-basement models, the Sony KDL-L5000 series makes up for it with above-basement-level design and picture quality.
Sony KDL-L5000 series (overview)
When you compare among the various entry-level LCDs in the price range of the Sony KDL-L5000 series, you'll notice a few that cost a bit less. But for a Sony this set is remarkably affordable, and its design, anchored by a sleek exterior and Sony's typical remote and menu prowess, stands at least a cut or two a cut above that of most HDTVs in its class. Its picture quality also hits most of the right notes, despite a uniformity hiccup and imperfect color accuracy. Finally, the feature set has a few extras not often found in this price range, including a smattering of power saving modes and that third HDMI input. If you don't mind spending a couple bucks more than you absolutely need, the Sony KDL-L5000 series deserves consideration.
Sony's clicker is one of the best of the entry-level breed. The central cursor is plenty prominent and surrounded by four buttons that are difficult to confuse--one of which is the important "wide" key for aspect ratio control. A cluster of keys at the top of the remote can command other gear that's compatible with the HDMI-CEC control-over-HDMI scheme, but the remote can't control other devices via infrared.
The Sony's picture quality can't quite match the best we've tested in this class, but it does come close. Its strengths include relatively deep blacks with good shadow detail, while some areas of color reproduction and uniformity could definitely stand for improvement.