Best TV's

Reporter: David Richardson

Once upon a time, the so called idiot box was a luxury item. Nowadays, you'd be hard pressed to find an Australian home without one. And more people will get into new Plasmas, LCD's or LED's this Christmas because of some of the fiercest competition in more than 3 years.

"Well there's the high Australian dollar, the fact that it's coming up to Christmas, and there's so many companies desperately trying to keep stock moving. There are just bargains all over the place" says Campbell.

Already one in every 7 homes has a big screen LCD. One in 13 a jumbo sized Plasma. Now comes the Christmas sweetener to get everyone else into the act.

"The manufacturers are really trying to drive sales through adding bonuses for example, Sony adding a PS-3 on any full HD purchase with 100hz and Panasonic are adding things like DVD recorders and Blu Ray players etcetera" says Rodney.

National TV buyer for Dick Smith, Rodney Balech has never seen the competition so tight or the televisions as cheap.

"In terms of quality, I mean we have had the new breakthroughs this year, LED backlighting has been the big thing. In terms of quality yes they are marginally better than what they used to be, but all we are getting is improvements in energy efficiency, backlighting, and better sizing and aesthetics" adds Rodney.

"As a rule of thumb the more you spend the better the TV you get. So if you're going for an absolute bargain basement TV, put pretty simply it's not going to be as good as a TV costing one thousand dollars more or last as long? Or last as long generally, it's older technology, it may have a shorter warranty. But you get what you pay for" says Campbell.

Campbell Simpson from the Good Gear Guide spends his days testing televisions, cameras and video games. He calls this work but in between games he compiled a list of the best TV's for your money.

"If you want a new TV you have to work to your budget obviously and then the televisions size that suits your room" says Campbell.

Here are the GOOD GEAR GUIDE'S top five:

Under $1000 the Samsung 32inch HD LCD television.

But if you have another thousand dollars to spend, try the Panasonic 42 inch plasma.

"It's 42 inch. It's full HD as well. It's one of Panasonic's newest plasmas and the fact you get a bundle deal with a free camera or blu ray player with it, makes it great value" says Campbell.

Under $3000 the Sharp 40 inch Full HD LCD television which comes with a built in blu-ray player and a bonus X-box.

If you have up to $4,000 to spend try the Samsung 46 inch LED television which also connects to the Internet.

"That's the NEW LED set which means it uses newer backlight source which means better contrast and better overall picture quality, and with the Samsung you get a free 26 inch TV with it. So with Christmas you get a second TV for the bedroom or study" says Campbell.

Finally under $5,000 the Panasonic 58 inch plasma, just 4.5 centimetres thick, one of the thinnest on the market.

"If money was no object there's a certain 65 inch Panasonic I'd have my eye on, but I'd be happy with anything 42 inches and above" wishes Campbell.

"Once we move past TV's, we get into this; $300,000 gets you the Runko Digital Cinema and it get's you this, 3.2 metres wide of high definition image and some of the best audio you can hear" says Adam.

If money is no object and TV home theatre is your love, you need

Adam Merlino, an audio visual specialist. His screens start at $8,000.

"There are no limits. The products that are available today can be in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions in some cases" says Adam.

And in true marketing style, manufacturers claim these new prices won't last beyond the new year.

"Just enjoy your viewing and be happy with whatever you buy" advises Campbell.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.goodgearguide.com.au

§ sub-$1,000: Samsung LA32B550. It's a 32in Full HD LCD television that is currently on special for $997 in various stores.

§ $1,000-$2,000: Panasonic TH-P50S10A. It's a 50in Full HD plasma television, and buying before Christmas gets you a free bonus Panasonic TH-P50S10A

http://www.goodgearguide.com.au/review/tvs/panasonic/th-p42s10a/311585

§ $2,000-$3,000: Sharp LC40LB700X. It's a 40in Full HD LED television with a built-in Blu-ray player. Buying before Christmas gets you a free Xbox 360 and four games.

§ Sharp LC40LB700X http://www.goodgearguide.com.au/review/tvs/sharp/lc40lb700x/321770

§ $3,000-$4,000: Samsung UA46B8000. It's a 46in Full HD LED television that connects to the Internet (to view photos and weather) and is super-thin. Free bonus 26in LCD.

§ Samsung UA46B8000 http://www.goodgearguide.com.au/review/tvs/samsung/series_8_ua46b8000/313696

§ $4,000-$5,000: Panasonic TH-P58V10A. It's a 58in Full HD plasma television that's only 2in thick, and comes with the free bonus.