Being in the market for a new TV is mixed blessing. On the one hand, the screen sizes of new models probably dwarf your aging or defunct set, and features like built-in internet connectivity and 4K resolution can change the way you watch video. Then again, there are far too many total options, features and technologies to quickly process, and asking advice from a big box salesperson is practically begging to be swindled.
Here, then, are the best televisions available right now. We tried to cover everything, from low-end models that perform surprisingly well, to a luxury choice suitable only for early adopters. And even as these choices become less current, their prices are bound to drop, making them just as viable (for at least another year).
Samsung PNF8500 64-inch Plasma
The PNF8500 is the last gasp of the plasma TV, an HD technology that boasts legitimately better image quality than LCD (or so-called LEDs, which are actually LCD screens backlit with LEDs). But plasma is expensive, and lingering, outdated worries of burn-in – where logos or other static images can create permanent, ghostly impressions on the screen, though only early plasmas were susceptible – have effectively killed it. Which is all the more reason for picture quality purists to get Samsung's best plasma before supplies run out, and enjoy the deepest possible blacks, and best overall contrast on any TV. [$3100; samsung.com]