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Five best LED TVs for picture quality

CNET ranks the five LED TVs reviewed so far in 2012 in order of overall picture quality.

This year the gap between the picture quality of the best LED/LCD TVs and the best plasma TVs has grown wider than ever. Unless you're interested in overspending for buying a Sharp Elite, there's no 2012 LED TV that can come close to the picture quality of even midlevel plasmas like the Panasonic TC-PST50 and Samsung PNE6500.

But maybe you're simply not interested in plasma. If that's the case, then check out the following list of 2012 TVs that (A) employ an LCD panel illuminated by LEDs and (B) perform better than most such TVs. The list doesn't include the Elite and the Sony XBR-HX929 simply because they debuted in 2011; both are excellent performers, still current and exceedingly expensive. It also considers picture quality only, so if you're interested in seeing the best LED TVs overall, including some that scored well according to our other TV reviews criteria, here ya go.

The list appears in descending order of picture quality.

Sharp LC-LE640U series
With good picture quality and great pricing, the Sharp LC-LE640U series makes a strong case for mainstream TV shoppers who want to go bigger. Read the full review.

Vizio CinemaWide XVT3D580CM
The Vizio CinemaWide TV embodies an intriguing idea, and it's quite a fun way to watch movies, but its performance isn't commensurate with the price. Read the full review.

Samsung UNES8000 series
Although it hits plenty of high points, the Samsung UNES8000 LED TV cannot ultimately justify its high price. Read the full review.

For a walk-through on our favorite, check out the First Look video.
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Looking for specs and pricing? Compare these TVs head-to-head. Click through to the reviews for additional screen sizes.