Samsung’s LN46A650 is a joy to use from the moment you turn it on for the first time. It’s well designed, and packs in an array of features, such as a side-mounted USB port that supports playing back music and photos from any USB storage device. It also comes with an ethernet port for use with Samsung’s InfoLink RSS service, which delivers news, weather, sports, and financial information from USA Today to the television.
Its image quality was only average in our PC World Test Center evaluation, though. This 46-inch model’s 120-Hz technology is meant to help with fast motion and panning, but we noticed pixelation and garbling in scrolling text.
Still, the LN46A650 is a fine HDTV. Its stellar design and ease of use make it just the thing for viewers who appreciate both form and function.
But this 52-inch LCD model does well on the most important criterion, image quality. In our PC World Test Center evaluations, it tied with the LG 52LG70 LCD model for third place overall in its category. Even so, we noticed pixilation, and found many scenes excessively bright. And though this set has a 120-Hz refresh rate, we saw no evidence that the faster refresh helped smooth out motion in our NASCAR clip.
This model does not support picture-in-picture and does not have any multimedia capabilities via USB, SD Card, or ethernet. Still, the LC-52D85U provides the best picture for its price among the big sets.
Surprisingly, the SV470XVT occasionally struggled to keep moving objects clear. But this model did far better on our NASCAR test than any other new TV we tested. Because it is fast-moving and was shot in 60-Hz high definition, the NASCAR test tends to show a well-executed 120-Hz set’s refresh rate to advantage.
The SV470XVT comes with picture-in-picture and freeze-frame features, but no multimedia capabilities. The absence of a USB port or SD Card slot means that you can’t look at your photos or listen to your music through the TV.
Still, this 47-inch LCD HDTV costs less than some of its competitors and produces images rivaling the best we’ve seen in this size class.
The PN50A760 is well designed, and it has a host of slick multimedia capabilities, too. Press the remote’s Content button to get a full screen of options, including scenic photos, recipes, exercises, and children’s activities—all built into the TV’s flash memory (but not updatable).
The Samsung PN50A760 is pricey. Still, you get what you pay for in image quality and extra features.
Contrast was excessive, and we often noticed that faces appeared either too yellow or too red. This model is the only one we’ve tested in its category that lacks primary color adjustments—so, if you, too, find faces off-color, you won’t be able to fine-tune the hues to your liking.
Nor is the 42XV545U particularly easy or versatile to use. The main on-screen menu is big and opaque, and it occupies the middle of the screen, blocking too much of the picture. The 42XV545U lacks a number of extras, too: You can’t freeze the image, view a picture inside another picture, or use the set to view photos or listen to MP3s.
The Toshiba 42XV545U is expensive for a 42-inch LCD HDTV, and it’s hard to come up with a compelling reason to buy this model over a less expensive, more full-featured one.