Top 10 2009: Most popular TVs

CNET editors reveal the 10 most popular HDTVs of 2009

This mysterious black rectangle is the most popular TV on CNET during 2009. Sarah Tew/CNET

Among the three most-popular technology product categories covered by CNET Reviews--cell phones, laptops, and TVs--just one doesn't feature anything made by Apple. At least notyet.

Without having to fear roundish, white-logo-clad products whose names begin with a lower-case vowel, the scads of nearly identical-looking glossy black rectangles (notwithstanding a touch or two of color) can safely saturate the HDTV battlefield with their "Hz"-infused blood, assured of relatively equal footing.

Or is it? Judging from our list of most popular HDTVs of 2009, accessible below in suspense-building reverse order, said field is dominated by two titans that pummel the rest. Of the ten HDTVs listed, only one--the remarkable Pioneer Kuro PRO-111FD, still the highest-rated television I've ever reviewed--comes from a brand other than Panasonic or Samsung.

The disparity between brands is no coincidence. Products that made the list, which is arranged by total pageviews over the span of 2009 (and so includes a good number of TVs from 2008), invariably spent a lot of time atop or near the top of the Best Products lists. Those lists are determined primarily by picture quality, which plays a disproportionately large part in my ratings system. Samsung and Panasonic have consistently exhibited the best picture quality among LCD and plasma models, respectively, the sole exception being that pesky Kuro again. I review plenty of other brands throughout the year; they just rarely outperform those two.

So check out the top 10 of 2009 and let me know what you think. Have I been grossly unfair in my reviews? Did I overlook a gem that deserves more prominence? Or does this list accurately compile the most appealing HDTVs available in the last year?

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