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Panasonic retains 3D crown in latest tests

Latest LED and plasma TVs put to the test

The Panasonic VT30 is its flagship 3D plasma

New TV test results are coming thick and fast from the Which? lab. A clutch of 16 new plasma, LCD and LED TV reviews reveals two new cracking Best Buys and a Don’t Buy to steer well clear of. Many of the models on test deliver great HD picture quality and loads of extras such as 3D TV, but audio performance continues to underwhelm the Which? testers.

Which? split this latest TV test into two groups – big screen 40 to 51-inch plasma and LED panels, including Panasonic’s flagship VT30 plasma TV, and a second smaller 32 to 32-inch LCD and LED group. Every TV is put through the same rigorous series of tests, including panels of independent experts delivering definitive verdicts on picture and sound quality.

Not sure which brand of TV to opt for? Find out everything you need to know in our guide to the Best TV Brands. 

Plasma TVs on test

Key among the big screen models on test was Panasonic’s flagship plasma TV the TX-P42VT30. The impressive list of extras includes a couple of pairs of 3D glasses. Panasonic produce one of the best 3D pictures available. 

The two Samsung plasmas at the Which? test lab – the PS51D550 and PS51D6900 – add another inch to the standard 50-inch screen size. Samsung has reduced the thickness of the bezel (the frame that surrounds the picture) giving you a bit more TV for your money. 

Need help finding the right screen size for you? Try our new interactive screen size calculator.

The best cheap LCD TVs revealed

32-inch TVs are still the most popular segment of the television market, so Which? put some of the likely key entry level best sellers up against each other. Samsung UE32D4000 and UE32D5000 LED TVs both cost under £400 but only come with a built-in Freeview tuner, not the latest Freeveiw HD version. 

Panasonic has included Freeview HD in its entry level TX-L32C3 LCD TV and still managed to keep the price under £400. The Sony Bravia KDL-32EX723, is a pricier £600 model but its packing all the bells and whistles and the smallest 3D TV Which? has tested to date. 

New Which? tests

Which? uses a panel of five independent experts to rate each TV’s picture quality. Brand names are concealed and benchmark TVs are used to ensure consistency between tests. The viewing panel watch the same clips on each TV – using Freeview, Blu-ray, DVD, Freeview HD and 3D footage. But this month Which? has added to the battery of viewing tests with a new HD up-scaling test. 

Which? researcher Mike Briggs explained, ‘We use a standard definition clip recorded on a Humax Freeview HD box, then relayed to the TV via high-definition HDMI. The box sends the signal as standard definition but each TV is set to ‘up-scale’ images into a pseudo HD picture.’

‘Its nowhere near real HD but in most cases there is a marginal improvement over regular standard definition picture quality. On a handful of models, the Samsung and Panasonic plasma TVs in particular, it was a significant step-up.’

For more help, hints and tips try our guide for buying a new TV.

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