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Big TV's 2/1/12

Consumer Reports' TV labs are lined with dozens of LCD and plasma sets. Of course there are ones that are 3D-capable, and plenty that are Internet-enabled. Each television faces more than 10 tests. One sizes up picture quality at an angle in order to find out how far to the side you can sit and still get a good view. Chris Andrade Consumer Reports "In general, plasmas don't have a viewing angle issue, but it's a mixed bag when it comes to LCDs." Testers also evaluate black levels in different lights. This is a plasma on the left and an LCD on the right. Even in bright light, LCDs hold their black levels. But on some plasmas, the image washes out. Consumer Reports also evaluates sound quality. As TVs got slimmer, sound quality suffered. But the latest tests show that audio is improving. And what about 3-D? With more and more sets offering 3-D as a feature, Consumer Reports created new test patterns to assess the quality of the 3-D picture. Chris Andrade "Some of our top-rated sets are 3D, while providing you with excellent 2D picture quality. But you're going to pay more for a 3D set. However, those prices are dropping." When purchasing a TV, Consumer Reports says people often buy a set that's too small for their room. For instance, if you sit eight to ten feet away from your TV, consider a 50- to 60-inch screen. This 60-inch Panasonic plasma rated excellent for picture quality and has good black levels and audio. It costs 14-hundred dollars. And the remote is very easy to use. ."

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