LED TVs have become the most popular TV, thanks to their slim designs and reasonable prices. Traditional LCD TVs are virtually non-existent, and increasingly more companies are pulling out of the plasma TV market. LED TVs come in a variety of sizes that fit well in any room in the house. Many people place small TVs in kitchens and bathrooms and large TVs in living rooms and bedrooms. For most home theater systems, bigger is better. A big TV can really add to the ambience of a home theater setting.
The best LED TVs do more than just play cable programs. Features such as built-in Wi-Fi and smart TV apps have become increasingly popular. Some TVs also include 3D technology, which allows you to enjoy your 3D content. Our top three LED TVs are the Samsung H series, the Sony W series and the Panasonic AS series. You can find more information by checking out our articles on LED TVs.
Most LED TVs display 1920 x 1080p HD resolution; some TVs may offer lower quality 720p, which is still technically HD. We excluded any ultra high-definition TVs for this site. While image quality is most important, features like built-in Wi-Fi and your favorite web apps are also important. We reviewed and ranked LED TVs based on the following criteria:
Display & Audio
Not all high definition looks the same. High pixel density is crucial, but it's not the only important spec. Some TVs have vibrant colors that pop off the screen. Deep black levels give wide contrast ranges that separate the darkest blacks from the brightest whites.
Some industry specifications provided by manufacturers can be misleading. There is not an industry standard to test and measure certain specs like contrast ratio, so two manufacturers can have nearly identical contrast but report drastically different contrast ratios, depending on how the TV was tested. TV manufacturers have started embellishing refresh rates as well. In fact, the reported numbers vary so widely that you simply cannot trust what's written on the box. Refresh rates and contrast ratios would both be nice to know since a wide contrast adds color depth and a fast refresh makes for smooth action sequences without motion blur. Since these numbers aren't to be believed, it's best to trust your eyes. Be sure to compare screens side by side to see which display looks best to you.
Physical design can be just as important as the image quality. A TV should stand out in your room, but not because it is an eyesore. TVs with slim bezels – the outer frame of the TV – will blend in well with the feel of a room. Instead of a thick edge, you will notice the crystal clear video picture.
The standard for built-in speakers is two 10-watt speakers. Some TVs go up to 15-watt speakers and other TVs will add subwoofers. Built-in speakers are usually passable, but adding a sound system is usually recommended for bigger TVs.
Features help turn good TVs into the best TVs. You want a TV with features that are accessible, functional and easy for you to use. Smart TV features connect you to the web and turn your TV into a functional web browser while giving you access to your favorite apps. Episode and movie streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video give you access to all kinds of content on demand. Other popular web apps like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are featured in some of these TVs as well.
It is important that your TV has enough connection ports for all your equipment, such as Blu-ray players and cable boxes. Most if not all LED TVs have older composite and component connections. These are ideal for non-HD devices. However, to get a high definition signal you’ll need HDMI ports. The more HDMI ports your TV has, the more devices you can connect. USB ports are important for other multimedia devices as well.
Help & Support
It's nice to know your big-ticket purchase is protected, so be sure the manufacturer offers at least a one-year warranty to cover parts and labor. To answer any technical questions, the best TV brands will have options like a toll-free number, email support and a live chat operator for your convenience. If you like to find answers yourself, many manufacturers make online manuals available as well as a FAQs section. Part of our helpfulness score rates each company's responsiveness to customer support inquiries.
Whether you’re in the market for a large LED TV for your living room or a smaller TV for a secondary room, finding the best one can be easy. Look for a TV with the features you want, whether it's simply great picture quality or more advanced features like Wi-Fi connectivity and web apps. With a smart TV connected to the internet, you can find and watch shows on demand, view 3D content and immensely improve your home entertainment experience.