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TVs

Can I buy a 37-inch LCD TV for £1,000?

I have £1,000 to spend on a new 37-inch HD Ready LCD TV but the choice is confusing. Can you recommend a few models?

I have £1,000 to spend on a new LCD TV but the choice is confusing. I have simple requirements: it has to be HD Ready, be 37-inches in screen size and have the highest resolution possible.

I know a lot is down to personal choice, but I simply want a TV for everyday viewing -- no games or PC connectivity is required, but if it's there I'll take it.

What two or three models do you think I should make my choice from?

Ed Lynton

Even if you shop around online, a budget of £1,000 for a 37-inch screen is slightly restrictive. You may find that market-leading brands such as Sony and Philips are out of your price range, but there are several excellent mid-range brands to choose from. Manufacturers such as LG and Samsung produce some fine, competitively priced screens, while JVC and Sharp also offer affordable ranges.

Most of our LCD reviews cover the more popular 32-inch screen size, but there is little difference in specification and performance with the larger sized models. Here are four appropriately priced LCD ranges we've reviewed that also come in 37-inch sizes: LG LC2D, Samsung R74, Sharp GD8 and JVC DR7.

All of these screens feature integrated Freeview tuners, proprietary image processing, digital connectivity and a WXGA resolution of 1,366x768-pixels, which is the highest you'll find at this price point. If you're interested in high definition, this resolution will allow you to display both commonly used 720p and 1080i formats. However, 1080i signals will be slightly downscaled, although the effect on image quality is minimal. If you want to watch the 1080p format, used by next-generation Blu-ray and HD DVD players, you'll need a higher 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution -- but these screens are very expensive.

Picture performance from each of these four screens is largely comparable, but there are some differences elsewhere that may help you make a decision. JVC's 37DR7 features an outdated design that may deter style-conscious buyers. Sharp's 37GD8 doesn't have dedicated component inputs for progressive-scan DVD players (although a PC adaptor cable can be used). And LG's 37LC2D and Samsung's 37R74 conventional connectivity is limited by a single RGB Scart. If pushed, we'd recommend Samsung's 37R74 for its stylish design, advanced specification and excellent all-round performance.

If owning the latest model isn't an essential priority, however, there are bargains to be found by searching for screens that have just been superceded. Toshiba's 37WLT66 offers a step up in image quality and specification with dual HDMI inputs -- it's only just been replaced by the WLT68 range so you can buy it online for less than £1,000.

Happy shopping!