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Christmas Gift Guide
TVs

Get the perfect TV for HD in 2010

Tis the season to go out and buy yourself a wonderful new TV as a treat for all your hard work this year. So join us in looking at three of our favourite screens, aimed at all wallet sizes and tastes

It's Christmas, and that means it's time to treat yourself to something nice. What's more, the World Cup is coming next year, and with the launch of HD channels from the BBC and ITV, now is a great time to get a new TV.

To help you decide what TV to buy, we have shortlisted three models that we think offer brilliant performance. The two most expensive ones are around £1,000, but the cheapest is half that price. There is something here for any budget, and cutting cost doesn't have to mean a massive reduction in picture quality either.

Currently, unless you buy a TV with freesat built-in, you'll need a separate box to receive high-definition broadcasts, such as Sky+ HD, Virgin V+ HD, or a standalone freesat box. Here are our best buys:

Panasonic Viera TX-P46G15
Plasma TVs are always close to our hearts. The technology is mature, the picture can look amazing and they're a really cost-effective way to buy a whacking great screen. The Panasonic G15 is a very good example of how amazing a TV can be, even at £1,000. Its 46-inch screen is likely to be big enough for any room, but isn't so huge it will consume your whole lounge.

You get freesat built-in too, so there's no extra equipment to buy to access the BBC and ITV HD channels. Panasonic has also included its VieraCast, which allows you to watch online video from sites like YouTube at the press of a button. The inclusion of freesat also means iPlayer should arrive on this TV soon too.

We loved the picture quality of this TV, and if you're a sport or movie lover, we think you'll really appreciate it too.

Samsung LE40B550
What can you buy for £530 these days? We don't think you'll find much that will give you as much enjoyment as this TV. It's remarkable that you can get a 40-inch LCD TV for as small an outlay as this. Even a year ago a price this low would have been a misprint. The LE 40B550 isn't going to set the world alight with its special features, though. This is a stripped-down TV designed to offer the biggest screen for the most competitive price possible.

We noted, in our review, that black levels were very good, and the TV excelled with both HD and SD video. We honestly couldn't ask for much more in a TV than this amazing Samsung offers. If you're a gamer, or movie fan, this TV is likely to rock your world. All you need to do now is find someone to buy an HD games console, like the PlayStation 3 Slim or Xbox 360 Elite to go with it.

LG 42SL8000
Another TV here for around £1,000, but this one scores over the cheaper Samsung in a couple of important ways. Firstly, it's a tiny bit larger, adding an additional two inches to the screen real-estate. There are also some funky extras, such as support for Bluetooth headphones to enjoy wireless sound. Bluetooth support also means that you can push photos from a PC or mobile phone to the TV.

Colour and black levels are both terrific too, offering a natural but vivid image. We weren't so taken with the 200Hz mode though, and purists will want to turn this off. This TV is another good option for the gamer or gadget geek who demands a little more from their TV.