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Panasonic PT-LC14

Panasonic PT-LC14

Panasonic PT-50LC14

The PT-50LC14 is a 50-inch LCD rear-projection TV. It's one of the least-expensive LCD-powered sets of this size on the market; despite a list price of $3,000, it sells for as little as $2,200 online.

Upside: While not as thin as a flat-panel plasma or LCD, the PT-50LC14 is, like other microdisplay sets, relatively light (84 pounds) and slim (15.3 inches). The PT-50LC14 includes some extra features, such as an SD/PCMCIA card slot so that you can look at digital photos on the TV. Its connectivity is highlighted by an HDMI port.

Downside: Although we haven't seen the PT-50LC14 in person, LCD projection TVs typically cannot produce the deep blacks that CRT or, to a lesser extent, DLP projection TVs can. Also, the PT-50LC14 lacks the CableCard slot and built-in HDTV tuner of later LCD-based projection sets, such as Sony's KDF-50WE655 and Hitachi's 50V710.

Outlook: Its low price will help the PT-50LC14 appeal to budget-minded microdisplay seekers. While the lack of a CableCard slot is a serious drawback, it might not matter to those who don't mind using an external digital-cable box.

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