As long as you don't mind its clunky style, the Panasonic ST30 wins "present of the year" in this category. Available in six (!) sizes from 42 to 65 inches, it offers 3D compatibility, our favorite Internet suite (Wi-Fi dongle included) and yes, those deep blacks and wide viewing angles you can only get from plasma. The kicker: it costs hundreds less than any other TV this year that earned an 8 or better in our Performance category.
Are you always telling your family "this is the year we cut back on holiday spending"? If buying a new TV still qualifies for that statement, the Samsung LND630 is a leading contender. This no-frills LCD delivers very good picture quality...and not much else. Because that's really what TVs are for, right?
Sony's cheapest TV, the BX420 series is also the least expensive model to score a 6 in picture quality, which for CNET is enough to qualify for "good." This bare-bones model is basically picture and little else, available from 32 to 46 inches, and still sure to bring a smile to the face of its giftee.
If the person on your list wants a 3D TV with all the fixins, but you don't want to spend more than is absolutely necessary, the E3D0VX series is the closest you'll both come to holiday happiness. What this set lacks in 2D picture quality they may never miss, and if they do, the consolation prize is a features list stuffed as full as any stocking.
Even if you don't give a hoot about 3D, LG's LW5600 is a value any holiday shopper can appreciate. Start with its very good 2D picture quality, anchored by a matte screen and black levels that--thanks to a local dimming edge-lit LED backlight--simply can't be had in its step-down, 2D-only linemates. Add a superb, well-designed Internet suite navigable by a Wii-like remote, an included Wi-Fi dongle, and slick external styling. Top the package off with four pairs of included passive 3D glasses and you can see why this reasonably priced LG is so popular.
Samsung's PND7000 focused more on the "bang" side of the "bang for the buck" equation than any other TV on this list. It earned a lofty 9 in the Performance category of our review, yet costs hundreds less than other similarly outstanding performers. Meanwhile it packs oodles of features and superb styling, making it our favorite overall TV of 2011. And unlike some other bang-centric gifts, there's no danger of shooting your eye out.
The LG PZ950 might not stuff the picture quality stocking as tightly as some of the other plasma TVs on this list, but it's still no limp sock as long as you can get over its lighter shade of black level. Its feature set leaves little off the list (no need to check it twice) and its styling easily out-sleeks that of the Panasonic ST30.
Unless you're giving someone a gift they'll have to walk out to the driveway to receive, this 70-inch Sharp is likely the largest thing on your shopping list. Absolutely massive, it still manages to deliver solid picture quality thanks to its full-array LED backlight. Even more impressive, however, is a price that's much lower than you'd think.