We may be watching more videos on phones and tablets these days, but if you really want to enjoy a great movie or TV show at home, nothing beats watching it on a really good telly.
TV technology is changing at a rapid pace, however, so it can be tricky to choose the right model for your particular viewing habits. Should you go for plasma, LED or LCD, and do you need smart TV features and support for 3D? To help you find a great TV for your particular needs, we've rounded up five of the best across different prices and screen sizes.
It's a shame Panasonic is pulling out of the plasma TV market, as it's produced some astoundingly good plasma screens this year. The model that strikes the best balance between price and features is undoubtedly the TX-P42ST60. Its picture performance puts many sets costing twice as much to shame, as thanks to its excellent colour handling and deep black levels it delivers rich, contrasty images. We also love its strong sound quality and premium design sound. The only slight downside is that its smart TV system doesn’t support 4oD or Lovefilm, although it does have apps for Netflix and iPlayer.
Samsung's PS51F8500 plasma TV doesn't come cheap, but it does offer hugely impressive picture quality that easily outclasses that of its pricier LED TV stable mates. It's much brighter than most other plasma TVs, but still manages to deliver sublime levels of detail and contrast in tricky darker movie scenes. Its motion and voice-control features are gimmicky, but in all other areas its smart TV system is class-leading, as it's the only one that supports all the catch-up TV services from the major terrestrial broadcasters. Add in solid sound quality and a high-end design and you've got one of the best TVs of the year.
If you haven’t got loads of wonga to spend on a TV and aren’t bothered about 3D support then this wallet-friendly option from Sony is more than worthy of consideration. Thanks to its combination of bright, vivid colours and deep black levels, its picture quality is very impressive. It also does an excellent job of cleanly upscaling standard-definition channels to fill its 42-inch screen. Granted the design is a bit weird -- it uses an external power supply -- and it only has two HDMI ports, but in all other respects this is a great budget TV from Sony.
This TV offers the best bits of the company's high-end F8000 and F7000 LED TVs, at a much more reasonable price. It lacks the gimmicky motion-control features of those models, but still includes Samsung's excellent smart TV system that has catch-up TV apps for all the major terrestrial TV broadcasters. Its pictures deliver bright and strong colour-tones, and HD channels look razor sharp. For such a slim-line TV its sound quality isn’t half bad either. It comes with two pairs of glasses for 3D viewing and thankfully its 3D pictures are refreshingly free from image ghosting.
If you don’t want a massive TV dominating your lounge, or are just looking for a smaller set to use in the bedroom or kitchen, Panasonic's TX-L24X6B is a great option. Thanks to its slim bezel it looks a lot more modern than many rival small-screen sets, and it delivers excellent picture quality. Even though its panel is limited to 720p HD resolution, images still look extremely sharp. Colour performance is also very good and its black levels aren’t bad either. Panasonic's smart TV system is easy to use, but it doesn’t have as many catch-up TV apps as Samsung's offering. Overall though, this is a very good small-screen TV.