Expert Recommendation

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Best Overall 42-Inch or Smaller HDTV Under $600
Expert (3 Recommendations)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
October 1, 2009 Updated: October 6, 2009
Overview

Complete with plenty of easy-to-use picture customization options, the best HDTV for under $600 is the LG 37LH30.

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My Best In Class Pick
LG 37LH30

The LG 37LH30 is a great pick for someone looking to save money and get a reliable, smaller television set. This HDTV’s best feature is the amount of picture customization. The Picture Wizard is a phenomenal feature that helps the user create color settings that look most pleasing to them. This feature is great for users with minimal experience with HDTVs. Once activated, an on-screen guide takes the user through an easy picture calibration process that utilizes internal test patterns to address the backlight, brightness, color, contrast, sharpness and tint. It may sound like a lot to handle, but the process is painless and works well.

The problem with HDTVs around this price range is the black levels. For the price, the blacks on this set are better than expected. Compared to a higher-end model, there is a huge difference in quality. Still, if you are new to the HD revolution and transitioning from standard definition (480i), you will notice an amazing difference in detail.

A fast response time is something many people look at when they are shopping for HDTVs. Basically response time means the amount of time it takes the pixels on the LCD screen to refresh. The 5 ms response time will make quick movements appear a tad bit better than the Panasonic TC-L37X1 and is just one more reason the LG 37LH30 is Best In Class.

Comparison with Panasonic TC-L37X1

Picture customization of the LG 37LH30 trumps the Ipod connectivity of the Panasonic TC-L37X1 any day.

Pros
  • +
    5 ms response time
  • +
    Picture Wizard
LG 37LH30 is the Best Overall 42-Inch or Smaller HDTV Under $600
Where to buy
LG 37LH30
Specifications
  • Screen Size: 37 in.
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Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (1 review)
  • Rated Good by CNET.com

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best badge
LG 37LH30
2
Panasonic TC-L37X1
Customer Rating Full star 1Full star 1Full star 1Full star 1Full star 1
(from 7 reviews)
Price $541 - $788
Screen Size 37 in. 37 in.
Display Type LCD LCD
Display Format 1080p 720p
Pixel Response Time 5.0 ms 8.0 ms
Max Refresh Rate 60 Hz 60 Hz
LCD Backlight Technology CCFL CCFL
HDMI Inputs (Total) 3 3
Component Video Inputs (Total) 1 1
S-Video Input No Yes
Ipod Integration No Yes
USB Interface Yes No
Dimensions with stand (W x H x D) 36.1 x 25.9 x 11.7 in. 36.1 x 24.5 x 11.3 in.
Swivel Stand Yes No
Weight with stand 32.0 lb. 36.0 lb.
2
Panasonic TC-L37X1

The Panasonic TC-L37X1 is a capable HDTV some may find more interesting than the LG 37LH30. The color is not as good as the Best In Class pick, and there are not nearly as many options for picture customization. However, the picture presets will work just fine for those not interested in customizing their picture. The black levels are about the same as the LG 37LH30, maybe a bit lighter.

Some users might not care about black levels or their picture. Instead, users may be drawn to the Panasonic TC-L37X1 because of it its Ipod connectivity.This HDTV is able to show video and play audio from an Ipod or Iphone, but cannot display photos. The docking station for the Ipod is a separate part that connects to the back of the HDTV. This may become a nuisance for those who want to unplug the docking station, as the stand does not swivel.

This HDTV displays up to 720p but it will be impossible to tell the difference between this and the Best In Class pick, which displays 1080p. This is because these HDTVs are smaller and should be viewed at a closer distance, so the benefits of 1080p are lost.

Pros
  • +
    Ipod entertainment center
Cons
  • -
    Minimal picture adjustment options
  • -
    Stand does not swivel
Panasonic TC-L37X1 is one of the Best Overall 42-Inch or Smaller HDTVs Under $600
Where to buy
Panasonic TC-L37X1
  • Best Price: $541
    Amazon See It »
  • $541 - $788 Compare Prices »
Specifications
  • Screen Size: 37 in.
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Customer Reviews Full star 3Full star 3Full star 3Full star 3Full star 3 (7 reviews)

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