We teamed with HD Guru Gary Merson again, this time to find the best TVs under $1000. This economy has really shocked prices. Forget the off-brands. You can now get a top-name good-looking 50" TV for $700, and more...
Note: Due to the unprecedented price fluctuations seen on TV pricing this week from online retailers, don't be startled if the prices we brazenly quoted here are off—by pennies or by hundreds. The model numbers are there for a reason, so you can check prices yourself when you're ready to cash out.
Plasma HDTVs provide the best picture performance and these 720p Panasonics—shown up top—are the value champs. Plasma screens have a wider viewing angle than any LCD panel, excellent contrast and color fidelity. The X1s include 600Hz refresh for full motion resolution, an SD card reader for digital photos and an anti-reflective screen coating (the shiny one). Available in 42-inch and 50-inch screen sizes. If you're going to set it up at a distance of 9 feet or more, it's almost silly to spend extra for more resolution.
The best deal is the TC-P50X1, a 50 incher selling for $689.98 at Electronics Expo (via Amazon).
The S1s are Panasonic's least expensive 1080p line to feature its energy saving, high contrast, deep black level Neo PDP plasma technology. In addition to the full 1080 line motion resolution and an anti-reflective screen coating (the shiny one), there's an SD card reader. If you're looking for a Full HD 1080p TV with the excellent performance and don't care about features like internet connectivity or THX-certified picture and sound modes (which the step-up G10 line has), these are the HDTVs for you. Available from 42-inch to 65-inch screen sizes.
Under $1,000, your best shot is the TC-P42S1, a 42-inch set now selling for $797.95 at Amazon.
LG's LH30 is the first step-up from the baseline, maintaining a nice low price but delivering surprisingly good picture quality. This model has a wide-viewing-angle IPS LCD panel, dull-finish anti-glare screen coating (better than the shiny anti-reflective coating at cutting down natural-light reflections, but at a slight cost of contrast), pro color-calibration mode and "Picture Wizard." They add 1080p resolution and Smart Energy Savings for low power consumption. Offered in a range from 32 inches to 47 inches.
We were impressed to find the 47-inch 47LH30 locally for $900, and on Amazon for $938.15.
The LH40 line adds 120Hz to plenty of models below $1000. If that's something you value, this is your best bet. Everything else here comes in the LH30 line, too. It's available in screen sizes ranging from 32 inches to 55 inches.
Locally, we spotted a 47-inch 47LH40 for $980, though it was over $1000 on Amazon. The 42-inch 42LH40 may be the best pick: It's currently $823 on Amazon.
This series represents Samsung's top 60Hz 1080p HDTVs. They provide excellent overall performance without any of the fancy features found on its higher-end models. They incorporate Samsung's Touch of Color bezel and its 6ms response time LCD panel, and are available in 32-inch to 52-inch sizes. Currently, the 46-inch LN46B550 is priced at $999 on Amazon.
For this story, Gary picked out 10 total deals. He is running the other five on HD Guru, so go have a look. If you came across any other good deals lately, let us know in comments, but be ready to defend the quality, not just the super sick price.