Best TV of 2011

Whether you want a humble TV to watch Corrie or a top-of-the-range 55-inch 3D monster, we've got it covered in our top tellies of 2011.

With the end of the year fast approaching, it's time to look back at the best tellies of the last 12 months and pick our 10 favourite sets.

To sort the wheat from the chaff, we've plumped for TVs that offer the best combination of stunning picture quality, strong features and value for money

So without further ado, in reverse order, behold the definitive list of 2011's top TVs...

Samsung UE32D5000

10. Samsung UE32D5000 (£400)

Samsung's UE32D5000 is a slim and stylish 32-inch TV that won't break the bank at £400 . The set produces bright and punchy pictures, thanks to the LED backlighting . It does a good job of upscaling standard-definition feeds and its 100Hz processing keeps motion looking smooth and clean.

You can use it to stream DivX and MKV files across a network, or alternatively play them locally from a USB port. However, the lack of a Freeview HD tuner and the absence of Samsung's smart TV platform for connecting to the Internet hold it back from creeping further up the list.

LG 32LV550T

9. LG 32LV550T (£410)

This 32-inch LED set has a tasteful and stylish design, thanks to its glossy black bezel that blends seamlessly with the transparent lip on the outer edge. As LG's smart TV system is built in, you can use it to access services such as the BBC's iPlayer. It'll happily play HD DivX and MKV files, either locally from a USB port or by streaming them across a network.

Add in impressive picture quality due to its deep black levels and warm colours and you've got a great choice for those with modestly-sized lounges. The price has come down from £600 since we reviewed it in April and you can now pick one up for £410.

Samsung UE40D5520

8. Samsung UE40D5520 (£500)

The UE40D5520 shows that features from high-end TVs are gradually making their way into much more affordable sets. Despite this 40-inch model's modest price tag, it boasts 100Hz processing, LED backlighting and Samsung's excellent smart TV Internet features. The slim design looks decidedly delicious.

For £500 , its picture quality gives many pricier TVs a run for their money, with inky black levels, rich colour hues and sharp-as-a-tack HD images. Sonic performance isn't quite as good, but this is still a first-class option for those not interested in a TV with 3D support .

Panasonic TX-L37DT30B

7. Panasonic TX-L37DT30B (£720)

Most of the early LCD and LED models that supported 3D suffered from cross-talk problems, where you can see a ghost image on the edges of objects in 3D movies. However, Panasonic managed to pretty much eliminate the issue on its 37-inch Panasonic TX-P42S30B by using a panel with a much faster response time. This breakthrough also helped it deliver stunning 2D picture performance.

The set boasts a range of other great features including LED dimming and a stellar line-up of Internet services. It's not the cheapest at £720 , considering the smaller screen size. But if you want the best 3D picture quality from an LED display, then this is where you'll find it.

Panasonic TX-P42S30B

6. Panasonic TX-P42S30 (£500)

Panasonic put all of its promotional weight behind the 3D models in its plasma line-up this year, which is understandable as it includes some cracking TVs. However, as a result, some 2D models got overlooked, including the TX-P42S30. This is a shame, as this 42-inch set produces crisp images with lush colours and bags of contrast, yet costs less than £500.

What's more, it can play DivX and MKV files via a USB port and includes the company's Viera Connect Internet TV platform so you get support for the BBC's iPlayer, as well as video rentals from Acetrax. All in all, it represents cracking value for money.

LG 42LW550T

5. LG 42LW550T (£700)

If you've got a larger family or just want to be able to watch the footy in 3D with a bunch of mates, then the 42LW550T is a top-notch option. It uses passive 3D technology and it comes with seven pairs of glasses; extra ones will only cost you a couple of quid each.

The 42-inch set's 3D pictures are very impressive too. They're bright and punchy and pretty much completely free of cross-talk, where the left and right channels aren't complely isolated, resulting in ghosting. Standard 2D pictures look stunning, with rich levels of contrast, deep blacks and bright and vivid colours. Its Internet features can't be faulted either, making it a great family TV that could be yours for £700 .

Sony Bravia KDL-32CX523

4. Sony Bravia KDL-32CX523 (£350)

You wouldn't necessarily associate Sony with budget TVs, but the 32-inch Bravia KDL-32CX523 certainly proves that the Japanese giant can create great quality tellies for a modest price . This one keeps a lid on costs by using traditional CCFL rather than LED technology for its backlighting. As a result, the chassis is quite chubby, but this TV makes up for that with wonderful picture quality for the price.

Sony's X-Reality Picture Engine deftly upscales standard-definition sources, while high-definition material is razor sharp. Great Internet features and media playback support only add to this set's budget charm.

Samsung PS51D8000

3. Samsung PS51D8000 (£1,260)

Like Spinal Tap turning the volume up to 11, Samsung has gone one inch better than the competition's usual 50-inch screen size on this plasma . Thankfully there's more to this model than just an odd screen size. Its brushed aluminium finish looks the business, but picture quality is just as attractive, both in terms of 2D and 3D performance.

Motion handling is smooth, colours are warm and natural and pictures have bags of contrast. Its active 3D support is also excellent, as are the Internet and media streaming features. All in all, this is a quality TV from Samsung that will set you back £1,260.

LG 55LW980

2. LG 55LW980 (£2,800)

With a chassis that's just 28mm deep, the 55LW980 is supremely slim for a model that uses direct LED backlighting. Its lush metallic finish looks a million dollars, which is ironic as the set doesn't cost much less. However, it's packed to the gills with the latest technology, including local dimming backlighting, passive 3D support and class-leading Internet features.

Picture quality is first-rate across both standard and high-definition sources. The panel's brightness levels have to be seen to be believed. The £2,800 price tag will put it out of most people's reach, but this is still an impressive showcase TV for LG.

Panasonic TX-P55VT30B

1. Panasonic TX-P55VT30B (£2,450)

At 55 inches, the TX-P55VT30B is the Big Daddy of Panasonic's hugely impressive plasma range and a worthy winner of our best TV award. It certainly doesn't have the prettiest design, but there's no doubting its supreme performance in the picture department.

There's just no other TV on the market at the moment that can rival its cavernously deep black levels and superb contrast performance, which help it to deliver images with a real cinematic feel. Add in excellent, cross-talk free 3D pictures, sterling sound quality and good support for Internet content and you've got a set that really stands out from the pack. It will set you back £2,450 .

 

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