If you’re looking for a new Smart TV before Christmas, or willing to wait for the post-Christmas sales, we’ve rounded up our pick of the best TVs.
Today, we move on to the living room…
For the living room
It’s the TV that lets you play Angry Birds by simply making gestures in front of the screen, thanks to its intergrated camera (that also lets you Skype friends and family in case you were wondering if it had a more useful purpose). If waving your hands around isn’t enough, the 55-inch Samsung ES8000 also has voice control, active 3D, plus a huge range of Smart TV services, including a number of games that will interact with your Android smartphone and apps to keep a family diary.
At £2,100 (but there is up to £200 cashback if purchased before Christmas) it does come at a premium, but there’s one killer feature that might just sway things; the Evolution kit that lets you swap out the processor and memory to upgrade your TV every year without having to buy an entirely new TV. Suddenly, it seems like more of a good deal. And, if that’s still over your budget – you could stick with a more ‘normal’ size, such as the 40-inch variant that will set you back only £1150 (with £100 cashback before Christmas).
Sony’s KDL55HX853 (£1480) has a unique base that makes it look more like a picture frame perched on a desk than a TV on a more traditional stand. At just 4cm deep, it’s slim enough to look great on a wall too.
Equipped with integrated Wi-Fi, dynamic edge LED lighting and 800Hz Motionflow technology, there are also four HDMI inputs that should be enough for all those HD devices you want to hook-up – plus 3D, of course. Not that you have to hook up much, with access to so many streaming services on the TV itself and a Freeview HD tuner with optional PVR capabilities from the attachment of an external hard drive.
The TV even includes a light sensor to dynamically adjust the settings to match its surroundings – but there’s one more incentive that might be of interest to any Bond fans; buy this TV and you’ll be able to claim for your free ‘Bond 50′ Blu-ray box set (worth £90) with 22 Bond films from 1962-2008!
The Panasonic Viera TX-L42E5B (£500) promises dark blacks from the IPS LED-backlit panel, along with access to a range of games and support for PlayJam. There’s 20 Watts of speaker power, as well as a number of Panasonic sound bars on offer for an even more immersive audio visual experience.
If you’ve got loads of devices to hook up, four HDMI sockets should also do the trick. Besides the usual USB sockets on most modern televisions, Panasonic has never forgotten its involvement in creating the SD card – so an additional card slot makes it even easier to pop in a memory card from your digital camera or camcorder (or mobile phone with an adapter).
There’s only really one omission here and that’s the lack of support for 3D, but not everyone will be too worried about that.
Thanks to the passive 3D system, LG can bundle a heap of 3D glasses with the 47-inch 47LM620T (£700) and this TV also supports ‘Dual Play’ that gives another use for a 3D panel – being able to show two independent images to two different people.
Four HDMI inputs, DLNA support and a number of apps available via LG’s own app store makes for a pretty impressive package for the money.
If 47-inches is a bit big, there are smaller models too, in the form of a 37-inch (£630) and 42-inch model (£570) that might fit better in that ’1990s new-build home’ sized living room. Whatever size you go for, there’s Freeview HD support on every version and upscaling to improve the images on non-HD content.
Toshiba 46TL968B (£750)
This 46-inch set comes with four HDMI inputs, DLNA support, 20 Watts of intergrated virtual surround sound and an A+ Energy Efficiency Class rating. There’s also Freeview HD, if you don’t have plans to connect a separate set top box.
With a near invisible bezel, with glass covering the entire frontage, this 42-inch set also includes the unique love-it-or-hate-it Ambilight technology, adjusting the colour and brightness of the rear-projected light to match the content of the screen.