Spice up your favorite TV shows with an affordable pick from our list of the best televisions for under $1,000.
Whether its Mad Men, Modern Family or just the upcoming NFL season that gets you to stay home with a bowl full of popcorn this fall, nothing will make your programming of choice more compelling than a monster-sized TV radiating it into your retinas. Between the snowballing choice of HD content – including streaming sources like Netflix and Vudu – and the plummeting price of HDTVs, there’s really no reason to continue clinging to that monolithic remnant of the 20th century you call a TV.
In fact, many of the features that used to come only on premium TVs, including 120Hz refresh rates, 1080p resolution and access to Internet content, can now be found easily for under $1,000. Ready to drag one home? Check out some of our favorite high-def TVs for under a grand.
|LG 42LH30 42-inch LCD TV|
LG 42LH30 42-inch LCD TV
$712.80 at Electronics-Expo
Now that the glossy Sunday circulars are full of 2010 LG TV models, you can find last year’s already economical LH30 series at “fell off the back of a truck” prices without risking possible incarceration or a guilty conscience. If you can find one collecting dust at your local electronics retailer, anyway. Despite the budget price tag, the 42LH30 delivers full 1080p resolution, a great viewing angle due to its IPS screen, and pro-grade calibration features typically found in higher end sets.
|Samsung PN50C550 50-inch
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Samsung PN50C550 50-inch Plasma TV
Starting at $870 at Yahoo! Shopping
Despite the dwindling number of companies manufacturing plasma televisions these days, they still offer superior color, refresh rates and black levels – especially at this price range. Though it doesn’t offer some frillier features like online widgets, image quality is top notch for a TV in this price range, and perfect for sports or gaming.
|Toshiba 40UX600U 40-inch
LED LCD TV
Toshiba 40UX600U 40-inch LED LCD TV
Starting at $959 at Yahoo! Shopping
Plenty of the latest TVs offer an Ethernet jack for Internet access, but Toshiba’s UX600 series is one the few that offers included Wi-Fi for access to services like YouTube, Pandora and Flickr, no matter where you happen to put it in the home. A full 1080p, LED-lit panel with 120Hz refresh rates also ensures that HD content, like the movies you can stream from Vudu, looks great, too.
|Sony KDL-40EX40B 40-inch
Sony KDL-40EX40B 40-inch LCD TV
Starting at $898 at Yahoo! Shopping
Considering a flat-panel TV, but want to wall mount it and ditch the associated cabinet full of components? Sony’s Bravia EX40B series offers a built-in Blu-ray player, Bravia Internet TV, a USB drive for playing photos and music, and Sony’s Bravia Engine 3, which offers some of the finest built-in scaling for standard-def TV available.
46-inch LED LCD TV
Insignia NS-46E560A11 46-inch LED LCD TV
$899.99 at Best Buy
If the name badge on this TV from Best Buy’s store brand doesn’t make your buddies swoon, the picture quality and price will. Forty-six inches of glorious 1080p, 120Hz, LED-lit LCD for under $900 is hard to beat, and to further sweeten the deal, you can snag a free Blu-ray player with any HDTV over $799 at Best Buy right now. Just make sure to pair it with a decent home theater, as sound quality leaves a lot to be desired.
|Panasonic Viera TC-P50S2
50-inch Plasma TV
Panasonic Viera TC-P50S2 50-inch Plasma TV
Starting at $899.99 at Yahoo! Shopping
Who said cheap had to be small? Panasonic’s Viera TC-P50S2 uses the same 1080p Neo PDP panel as some of its more expensive models while stripping out the fluffy extras, leaving an oversized plasma with vibrant contrast and deep blacks far beyond what the price tag would suggest.
|Vizio XVT373SV 37-inch
Vizio XVT373SV 37-inch LCD TV
$728 at Sam’s Club
Despite a brow-furrowing reputation for reliability (one delivery driver once told us he spends most of his day trucking around Vizio returns), Vizio continues to attract budget buyers with more features than any of the big brands manage to pack in for the same price. The XVT373SV is no exception. It sports LED edgelighting, built-in Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Vizio Internet Apps including Netflix, Pandora and eBay, plus an included Bluetooth remote with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard to make searches easier.
|Sharp Aquos LC-40LE810UN
40-inch LED LCDTV
Sharp Aquos LC-40LE810UN 40-inch LED LCD TV
$997 at Amazon
Ordinary LCDs use a combination of three colors (red, green and blue) to produce millions or even billions of colors. Sharp's latest LCD tech adds a fourth, yellow, to produce that number into the trillions. Gimmicky figures? Maybe, but we really did notice purer, more natural-looking yellows. It doesn’t hurt, either, that it offers 120Hz refresh rates, LED edgelighting, and Sharp’s Aquos Net service for widgets and even online support that allows technicians to tweak your set without ever setting foot in your living room.
|Samsung LN46C630 46-inch
Samsung LN46C630 46-inch LCD TV
$799 at Yahoo! Shopping
One of the most popular LCDs in our roundup has earned a list of accolades a mile long for its stunning color, smooth 120Hz refresh rates, plentiful ports, and most of all, for its value. You can even connect USB storage devices to play music, photos, and unlike some competitors – video.
|LG 32LE5400 32-inch LED
LG 32LE5400 32-inch LED LCD TV
$699 at Yahoo! Shopping
The ideal TV for a bedroom or small living room measures just 1.6 inches thick but packs many of the features of its king-sized contemporaries, including full 1080p image quality, NetCast for streaming Netflix, YouTube, Picasa and the like, two USB ports for images, music and HD video, plus an otherworldly 4,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio.
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