I figured I would share my top 3 picks for HDTVs released so far this year. There is a lot of buzz around 4K this year but I would advise anyone to wait for the ridiculous prices to fall. Also I always recommend skipping the first generation of new technology as there always seems to be bugs and other technical issues that seem to be worked out in the second generation release. 4K will be amazing but I’d wait another year or two. In the meantime now is the perfect time to upgrade to that 60” or 65” set! So without further ado here are my top 3 HDTV sets for 2013.
1. Sony XBR-HX950
This TV is amazing. Plasma matching black levels, full local dimming and better 3D than last years top of the line 929. The HX950 is a carry over from 2012 but it still takes my top spot for 2013. Full local dimming sets are extremely expensive for the manufacturers to produce and that results in a much higher price tag BUT If you watch TV in the dark this tech is definitely a must. The HX950 is beautifully designed with a full sheet of gorilla glass that goes from edge to edge giving it a seamless look. Colors are rich and saturated but where you really see this HDTV shine is when its displaying those ultra inky blacks. Like I said earlier this is a full local dimming set. For those of you not familiar with what this term means let me explain.Several rows of LEDs are placed behind the entire surface of the screen. The advantage is that these sets can employ “local dimming” (if implemented by the manufacturer).
If local dimming is implemented, this means that each LED or a specific group of LEDs can be turned on and off independently within certain areas of the screen, thus providing more control of the brightness and darkness for each those areas, depending on the source material being displayed.
The HX950 is the perfect combination of inky black and super bright whites. The only two downfalls to this set are 1.It’s extremely high price tag. 2. The Smart TV integration seems to be lacking behind the Samsung but f you want the best Picture Quality, the XBR HX950 is the way to go . it is available in two sizes 55” and 65”
2. Samsung PNF8500
The Samsung PNF8500 is an amazing Plasma set that has secured the title of “Brightest Plasma Ever” . Plasma sets are notorious for being very dim and therefore unfavorable for daytime or bright room viewing. The PNF8500 has managed to keep the signature inky black levels inherent in Plasma TVs but move much closer to the brightness many of us are attracted to when we walk into Best Buy and these these super bright LED sets. The only reason that this model does not surpass the Sony HX950 is due to the fact that plasmas still suffer from image retention and burn in. If you play video games or watch a lot of TV with static images ( network logos permanently displayed) then you may have an issue with image retention . Don’t get me wrong it has improved drastically and most retention can be erased with some of the features built into the TV but why even have to worry. The PN8500 comes with a built in camera and microphone which comes in handy for Skype. Samsung has also beefed up its Smart TV Hub by adding a quad core processor to make things run smoothly.
If IR is not an issue then this TV might leap frog the Sony and be the set for you. The color accuracy is amazing and the contrast ratio is a sight to be seen. Watching Tron Legacy on this thing gave me wood! It is available in three sizes 51” 60” and 64”
3. Samsung UNF8000
Samsung has really improved their top of the line LED this year. Last years ES8000 suffered from terrible flashlighting from all four corners during dark scenes. There was also clouding and some weird dimming effects going on when certain features were enabled. This year the F8000 although still an edge lit set has dramatically improved with regards to the issues above. Samsung has really worked on their edge lit tech and I can honestly say its a lot closer to full local dimming then I thought they could ever get. Samsung is known for their super sharp clarity and the F8000 doesn’t disappoint . Black levels are top notch only being surpassed by the 2 sets listed above along with the Panasonic plasmas for 2013. Colors are accurate and there are a ton of various picture tweaks that can be made. Samsung has also really improved their Smart TV integration. The F8000 comes with a quad core processor to run apps like Netflix Facebook and Skype. Skype is awesome on this set because of the built in top mounted camera and microphone. The F8000 also has voice and gesture control which the Sony is lacking . These features are still a little rough around the edges and are more gimmicky than practical. The main selling point for the F8000 is its price compared to the Sony. The 65” is over $1000.00 cheaper than the HX950. The F8000 is available in 4 sizes 46” 55” 60” and 65”
You can find more information about these models on CNET.com . Let me know what you end up with!