Planning on watching the big game this Sunday? These nine HDTVs—representing a mix of plasma and 120-Hz LCD models—are generally fast enough to keep up with the football action on your screen.
Vizio’s TVs often lead in price and image quality, and this model is no exception: The SV420XVT is the least-expensive 120-Hz LCD we’ve seen, and it finished ahead of competing 42-inch models in our performance tests, too.
While the SV420XVT earned top scores in image quality, it does have some drawbacks. It’s difficult to set up, and it lacks a number of useful features, such as a quick menu for frequently altered settings or a USB port or SD Card slot for photos and music.
Still, if you’re looking for the best HDTV picture for the price, you may be inclined to overlook these issues.
LG Electronics 42PG25
LG Electronics’ 42PG25 boasts an attractive price and impressive features, including eight inputs (four HDMI, two composite, and two component), S-Video, and two optical outputs, plus a USB port for viewing your photos and listening to your MP3s.
This 42-inch plasma HDTV also produced good-looking images, though it struggled a bit with fast-motion video—more so than several 42-inch 120-Hz LCD models that we matched it against. Despite these image quirks, however, our jury rated its images Good overall; at least one juror rated them Very Good when motion wasn’t an issue.
Though not the fanciest HDTV you can buy, nor the one with the best image quality, the 42PG25 is an attractive set—and its low price enhances its appeal.
LG Electronics 50PG30
The LG 50PG30 HDTV is a 50-inch plasma set with stylish looks and a low cost for its size. Its design and range of inputs (including three HDMI ports) will attract attention, but its image quality is only average.
In PC World Test Center tests, our judges had a wide range of reactions to this set. It looked quite good when viewed at an angle—as you’d expect from a plasma TV. And some judges thought the 50PG30 did a very good job with foreground and background detail. But when viewing a NASCAR clip, we observed some motion blur and fuzziness.
The 50PG30 is easy to install, with conveniently placed inputs and a setup wizard that asks whether to optimize for home use or store use. But the 50PG30 is a bit short on extras—it has no picture-in-picture, and no USB or SD Card multimedia capabilities.
LG Electronics 52LG70
Though it closely resembles its plasma sibling (the LG 50PG30), the LG 52LG70 LCD HDTV is clearly the more-advanced (and pricier) model. Unlike with the plasma set, you can plug a flash drive into the 52LG70 to view photos and listen to MP3s. It packs four HDMI ports and two optical audio outputs into its 52-inch frame, but it lacks a picture-in-picture mode.
Our PC World Test Center judges rated the LG 52LG70’s image quality as average, noting pixelation and other artifacts in various tests, especially during fast action and dissolves. Some images in our tests seemed a bit soft, too, but in general we found the image quality pleasing.
The 52LG70 is a very good HDTV at an acceptable price. However, you can find some pretty good ones that are less expensive.