Shopping for HDTVsWhen it comes to giving an HDTV as a gift, bigger isn't necessarily better. From home-theater centerpieces to budget bedroom models, Rich DeMuro and David Katzmaier offer up CNET's best choices for that lucky someone.
[ music ] ^M00:00:07 >> Hey there and welcome to CNET's Holiday Gift Guide 2007. I'm Rich Demero [assumed spelling] with CNET TV. And today we're talking HDTVs. Throw out that old clunker, and start fresh with a brand new flat screen. You know you want one, and David Katzmayer [assumed spelling] is here to tell us which one is good for you, and I guess your family or whoever you're buying an HDTV for. So let's start with your top pick for the best smaller TV, the Samsung LNT3253H. >> And you'll be buying this for yourself. >> Hopefully. >> I mean this TV is, it's a really nice little TV. As far as the small TVs go, they usually scrimp on features, but not this one. It's got plenty of ways to adjust the picture, there's also oodles of inputs. The thing that I really like about it though is the style. You know, when you have a little TV like this it has to look you know, pretty nice, especially in bedrooms - >> Yeah. >> - where there's some decor considerations. So this TV is nice, glossy black compact frame, it's, it's definitely a nice TV. >> And that's a thirty two inch LCD, so that's good for the bedroom or a second room? >> Absolutely. >> Okay. Let's go for the budget smaller TV. Visio VX32L, this is also another thirty two inch? >> Yeah, this is another thirty two inch TV, same size. A little bit less expensive, Visio's known for giving you a lot of bang for your buck, and this TV is no exception. We really, Ann really liked the ability to adjust the picture quality on this set. It's got a pretty darn good picture, of course it's not quite at the level of the Samsung, but again, it's a lot less expensive and plenty of inputs. The styling's pretty good, it's got a two-tone black and silver look. >> And then Visio sort of came on the scene, they came on pretty strong, but what do people think about them when they're buying them? Do they like them? >> Well a lot of people actually love their Visio TVs. People again, are upgrading from a TV that's really not high def or whatever, and, and they get any of these TVs in their house and they go wow, this looks so good. You put you know, high def or even DVD on, on these TVs and they look really good. So again, the reception has been very good regardless of the brand on these sets. >> Yeah, you'll love it. The pictures just pop out at you, you know when you've tuned to that HD channel, that's just there. All right, best LCD TV, the Sony KDL46XBR4. And Sony is known for having really slick styling, it's a name you can trust. Why did you pick this TV? >> Well I'm, I'm gonna put an asterisk next to the best on this one because I haven't seen a TV that I'm really looking forward to from Samsung. But this Sony's really darn good, Samsung's gonna have a tough act to follow. This set has a very, very good picture quality. Again, the plasmas are a little bit better than the LCDs again this year, but if you want to go with an LCD this Sony's extremely good, it's got very good black levels, very good color reproduction, you can do a million things with the picture, it's got oodles of inputs, I could go on. The styling is, is actually a little different, it's a lot thicker around the frame than most of these TVs, so you can actually replace the bezel on this set so you can go turn it silver or blue or even brown if you want to match the decor of your house. So this Sony pretty much has everything in the features department. >> So that's a forty six inch LCD? >> Um hm. >> Okay. And of course a name you can trust. Okay, best HD TV overall. Pioneer's known for having really nice HD TVs. This is the PDP5080HD. Is this a fifty inch? >> It's a fifty inch plasma, like the Sony it's gonna be a little bit more expensive, it's actually around the same price as the Sony for a larger screen. But this is hands down the best picture we've seen this year. It really does - >> Wow. >> - produce a very, very deep black level, which is a key to so many different things about picture quality. Also has excellent styling, plenty of features. But again, the key really is the performance of this television. >> Okay. And we have the best big screen HD TV. So if you just want the best there is out there, don't give me anything second rate - >> Um hm. >> This is the Panasonic TH58PZ700U. The name is a mouthful, but the TV, awesome. >> Yeah, it's, it's a very good TV. It's, again, it's not quite as good as that Pioneer at the fifty inch size, but this is a fifty eight inch model. >> Fifty eight. >> Fifty eight inch TV, this is a, this is a monster. And it's a plasma so you know, you're gonna need two or three people to lift it. But this set is, it's, it's coming on now, plasmas are actually at a point where people are looking at it as instead of the rear projection models. Rear projection models are still better if you want to save a lot of money, but the picture quality of this set is really, really good, and I, I'm, I'm willing to bet that it's better than any rear projection TV out there right now. Again, good black levels, excellent color reproduction, plenty of things you can do with the picture. But you know, for a big screen, when you get the plasma it really does you know, kind of pop. >> I'm just imagining, if I put this in my place, I'd have like the iMax effect cause I'd be so close. So you need to sit pretty far away from a fifty eight inch TV, right? >> Yeah, I'd say around nine to ten feet away from this set. But again, with the 1080P resolution you can move up as close as eight feet if you really want to get that complete immersion. >> And again, you have a whole website dedicated to all this stuff. What is that? >> Well at CNET you can go to HDTV world, or just type in HDTV.cnet.com and you'll go right there. >> Okay, tons of good information from David himself. David Katzmayer from CNET.com. Don't be intimidated when you walk into that electronics store, you did your research first right here from CNET's Holiday Gift Guide. [ background music ] I'm Rich Demero with CNET TV. Now go get that gift. ^M00:04:45 [ music ]