Out with the old, in with the OLED.
In 2014, I called the Samsung F8500 before it disappeared. Both are 1080p TVs that share one important characteristic: they're not .the best picture I'd ever seen, but the much more affordable
But LED LCD rules the roost, and every other TV I reviewed this year shares that near-ubiquitous technology. It's the only way to getaffordable, and the TV industry is headed, .
With all that in mind, here are seven TVs that defined 2014, and the seven trends they represent.
The king is dead, long live the king:
Plasma was the undisputed king of picture quality for years, and Samsung's PNF8500 was the Best list throughout 2014. , it was nice knowing you.. Now it's nearly sold out. Despite being a holdover from 2013, the F8500 delivered such good picture quality that only one TV, LG's OLED, stood above it on our
Local dimming on the cheap:
Because, and weighs it heavily in the overall score -- think "best bang for the buck" -- the E series is our highest-rated TV of 2014. It's dirt-cheap, especially this time of year, yet its well-implemented from a real ensures deeper black levels, and better picture quality, than many TVs that cost a lot more. Here's hoping other TV makers follow Vizio's lead in making local dimming more affordable.
Bigger sound, better vision:
This huge, expensive set has not only the best picture of any 4K TV we've reviewed this year, it also happens to be the best-sounding TV we've ever reviewed, period. Sony paired its picture quality chops -- superb edge-lit local dimming, great processing and accurate color -- with some of the biggest, baddest speakers you'll ever see on a TV. Add a purpose-built wireless sub for the complete package.
Curved TV is indeed a gimmick:
Samsungit actually sent me a sample of this TV to try out at home. My kids but my wife and I wished for our old plasma back. After living with it for a few weeks, and testing it against other TVs in CNET's lab, my main is that it adds to expense but not in any way to picture quality.
Smart TV gets simpler, cheaper, better:
I've been complaining for years about how I'dpaired with a than use the clunky, over-engineered, rarely updated "smart TV" suites found in today's TVs. Roku's interface is relatively "dumb" -- no Web browser or gestures for example -- but refreshingly simple to use, with the focus squarely where it should be. It's the apps, stupid. It helps that TCL built it for a bargain price.
4K gets affordable:
There's no doubt 4K TVs areprices, but the P series was ahead of its time. When first introduced at CES 2014 it promised groundbreaking specs and picture quality in a 4K TV, for a breakthrough price starting at $999 in the US for 50 inches. While its picture was relatively disappointing -- a possible future software update notwithstanding -- it did deliver on price.
The next king is born:
From the cheap to the expensive again, we've come full circle. And yes, the $3,500, 55-inch EC9300 is curved, and it's not without its flaws, but it's still the best TV picture I've ever seen. The only question now is how soonbecome affordable enough to take on LED LCD.
So that's a look at seven TVs worth of trends in bigscreen hardware this year. Disagree? Want to add another? Sound off below.