Expert Recommendation

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Best 42-Inch or Smaller HDTV Under $1400 for Watching Sports or Playing Video Games
Expert (1 Recommendation)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
October 28, 2009 Updated: October 29, 2009
Overview

The Samsung LN40B650 is the perfect HDTV for watching sports, and for playing your favorite video games.

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My Best In Class Pick
Samsung LN40B650

When recommending an HDTV, I look for many things. However, the two things that are most important are the Contrast Ratio, and Refresh rate. If your Contrast ratio is higher, your blacks will be darker, and your colors more vivid. As for refresh rate, (60hz, 120hz, 240hz) the higher it is, the clearer your picture will be when watching something in motion.
That is why I recommend the Samsung LN40B650. Everything about the Samsung LN40B650 says quality. This is a very attractive TV. From it’s streamline slim piano black frame, to the red touch of color.
As I said before, the higher contrast, and refresh rate the better. With it’s 100,000 to 1 contrast ratio, the Samsung LN40B650 has very dark blacks and extremely rich color, which make sports and video games seem to almost jump from the screen. Having a 120hz refresh rate, this HDTV delivers smooth motion and crisp picture quality that make every detail crystal clear. In addition the TV has a feature called Auto Motion Plus, which virtually eliminates any motion blur and creates smooth transitions between frames. It does this by calculating the image between frames and inserting it, creating a non-repetitive transition from one to the next. The result is a clearer picture. Your action-packed sports, and games have never looked this real. With it’s 2 Component video inputs, 4 HDMI, USB 2.0 and full connectivity options, there are no limits on connectivity either.

Consumer Reports rated the Samsung LN40B650 as their top pick in this size category saying “This 40-inch 1080p LCD from Samsung delivers the goods with excellent picture quality, a great menu system and remote, and access to the company’s full Medi@2.0 online service.”

The bottom line is, anyone who loves sports and games will love this HDTV.

Comparison with LG 42LH55

Even though the LG 42LH55 has a 240hz refresh rate, it has less contrast which results in the Samsung LN40B650 having better blacks and color.

Comparison with Sony KDL-40W5100

The Samsung LN40B650 wins over the Sony KDL-40W5100 because the Samsung’s picture seems slightly sharper.

Pros
  • +
    178 degree viewing angles
  • +
    100,000 to 1 dynamic contrast
  • +
    120Hz Refresh Rate
  • +
    10 watt stereo speakers
Cons
  • -
    Some people may not like Red Touch of Color
Samsung LN40B650 is the Best 42-Inch or Smaller HDTV Under $1400 for Watching Sports or Playing Video Games
Where to buy
Samsung LN40B650
Specifications
  • Screen Size: 40 in.
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Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (1 review)
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best badge
Samsung LN40B650
2
LG 42LH55
3
Sony KDL-40W5100
Customer Rating
Price
Screen Size 40 in. 42 in. 40 in.
Display Type LCD LCD LCD
Max Refresh Rate 120 Hz 240 Hz 120 Hz
Display Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels 1920 x 1080 pixels 1920 x 1080 pixels
Picture-in-Picture Yes No No
HDMI Inputs (Total) 4 4 4
Component Video Inputs (Total) 2 2 2
USB Interface Yes Yes Yes
Display Format 1080p 1080p 1080p
Contrast 100,000:1 80,000:1 100,000:1
2
LG 42LH55

My second Best In Class pick is the LG 42LH55 which boasts a 240hz refresh rate, a 80,000 to 1 contrast ratio, and has a slightly bigger screen at 42”. The LG 42LH55 also has a nice feature of an Intelligent Sensor, which automatically optimizes the picture to the lighting conditions of the room, which can also help cut down on energy consumption. However, the colors and black levels seem not to be quite as good as the Samsung LN40B650, But this is still a great HDTV for sports and gaming.

Comparison with Sony KDL-40W5100

The LG 42LH55’s 240hz sharpness clearly wins over the Sony KDL-40W5100’s 120hz

Pros
  • +
    240Hz Refresh Rate
  • +
    178 degree viewing angles
  • +
    Intelligent Sensor
Cons
  • -
    80,000:1 contrast
LG 42LH55 is one of the Best 42-Inch or Smaller HDTVs Under $1400 for Watching Sports or Playing Video Games
Where to buy
LG 42LH55
Specifications
  • Screen Size: 42 in.
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3
Sony KDL-40W5100

My third Best in Class Pick is the Sony KDL-40W5100. It is another excellent choice. It has a 100,000:1 contrast ratio and a 120Hz refresh rate. Colors were vibrant, but the picture seemed not quite as sharp compared to the Samsung and the LG. None the less, this is still a great HDTV for sports and gaming.

Pros
  • +
    120Hz Refresh Rate
  • +
    178 degree viewing angles
  • +
    100,000:1 contrast
Cons
  • -
    rigid/bulky looking frame
Sony KDL-40W5100 is one of the Best 42-Inch or Smaller HDTVs Under $1400 for Watching Sports or Playing Video Games
Where to buy
Sony KDL-40W5100
Specifications
  • Screen Size: 40 in.
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (1 review)
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

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