Best TVs to catch the big game on
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2013 6:00AM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 29, 2013 4:47PM PST
Are you in the market for a big-screen TV for the Super Bowl? Consumer Reports tests hundreds of televisions a year, and guess what? Paying top dollar doesn't necessarily mean top performance.
Catching the big game at your local sports bar or restaurant is one way to see the Super Bowl. Bar owners across North America are planning for a busy day on Super Bowl Sunday.
But if you plan to stay home and want to pick up a new TV before your Super Bowl party, how do you know which one to buy?
“The biggest thing you want to keep in mind is what kind of room it's going into. So for sports like you asked plasma is going to be your best bet," said Roopsy Sharma of Best Buy.
According to Best Buy, you can get a great plasma TV for under $700. And if you want to take your viewing up a notch, you can purchase a 3D TV.
"The 3D TVs actually have a feature where they do 2D to 3D up conversion, so you can literally watch any TV show in 3D. The Super Bowl or NHL, now that it's back, is going to look great in 3D," said Sharma.
Television lab testers size up hundreds of TVs every year to find ones to recommend.
"One of the tests we perform on our TVs is a motion blur test. This test is designed to expose how well a TV can reproduce fast movement, such as you might find in sports or action movies," said Christopher Andrade of Consumer Reports.
Some LCDs tend to have trouble with this test. There's also the black-level test.
"So on better performing sets, you have a nice deep black level that give a nice dynamic contrast in bright scenes as well as in dark scenes. Whereas worse performing sets will have a brighter black level that doesn't give you that deep contrast, so images will look flatter, especially in dark scenes," said Jim Willcox of Consumer Reports.
Testers also evaluate how well each television displays color. Some devices take a color temperature measurement from a solid grey screen to see how balanced the tones are.
"A high price tag doesn't guarantee you a great TV. We found plenty of TVs that were higher-priced but actually came in lower in the ratings than many less-expensive sets," said Willcox.
But testers did find several TVs to recommend, including the 55-inch plasma Panasonic Viera for around $1,599. It has an excellent picture and nice extras like 3D and Internet access.
If you want to spend less, Consumer Reports recommends a 60-inch LG for $999. While it lacks some bells and whistles, such as online access and 3D, it has an excellent picture at a great price. It's model 60PA6500.