1. For The Tech Obsessive
Samsung ES8000 Series Smart TV
This brainy 55-inch TV has Wi-Fi, an HD camera, and microphones, so you can control it via voice recognition and motion detection as well as surf the Web, download apps, and make calls.
2. For The Design Enthusiast
This 55-inch LG model ups the ante on television design with its whisper-thin aluminum bezel—at only five millimeters thick, it makes the picture look frameless. Plus, you can beam content from your portable device to the screen.
3. For The Audiophile
Bose VideoWave II
Ditch the tangle of home-theater wires: This 55-inch flat-panel with 16 speakers has a separate command center for your cable box, gaming unit, Blu-ray player, and included iPhone/iPod dock.
4. For The Sports Fanatic
Panasonic VIERA TC-P65VT50
Enjoy the first 3-D Olympics on this 65-inch plasma Panasonic. A champ at rendering subtle movements and reducing blur, it also keeps the picture sharp in sun-bathed rooms.
Buyer's Cheat Sheet: Simplifying The Jargon
It indicates the number of vertical pixels on the screen and is what makes an HDTV so sharp. If you're buying a 40-inch or bigger set, don't settle for less than 1080p.
This quantifies just how dark black tones appear. But ignore gimmicky terms like "dynamic contrast ratio" and judge a set by eyeballing the levels in the store.
If you want to use your TV as a computer, make sure it's Wi-Fi-enabled. And check the manufacturer's app store; each one has different offerings.
You need at least three (but ideally six) HDMI ports to take advantage of the hi-def output of your components, including a Blu-ray player, a Roku, and a game system.
It's the measure of how frequently the TV updates the picture. Look no further than 60Hz—anything greater may actually make the image appear too smooth.