Expert Recommendation

.
Best Overall 50-Inch or Smaller HDTV Under $1400
Expert (3 Recommendations)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
October 22, 2009 Updated: October 30, 2009
Overview

Those who are working within a budget of under $1400 are in luck. The Panasonic TC-P50G10 is a brute of a television complete with a 1080p resolution, amazing colors and ultra deep black-levels. This television isn’t just the best in this price range, this TV rivals all of the best televisions on the market today.

Best badge
My Best In Class Pick
Panasonic TC-P50G10

The THX certified Panasonic TC-P50G10 plasma is by far the best television for the dollar. A fifty-inch screen, extremely accurate colors and outstanding black levels are simply just the tip of the iceberg. The G10 is an aficionados HDTV at a budget-buyers price point.

The G10 is a plasma screen television that includes a full 1080p resolution, plenty of input options and a SD memory card slot for viewing pictures or listening to music. This television has also gone through rigorous and demanding testing to achieve the much-coveted THX stamp of approval.

Shadow detail and black levels on the G10 are second only to the $3,000 Pioneer Kuro plasma TV. The color accuracy is great out-of-the-box and Panasonic offers plenty of picture controls to increase accuracy with ease.

The panel on the G10 is bright and features an anti-reflective coating on the screen, which makes it great for watching television in rooms with lots of windows. The G10 also offers Panasonic’s Neo PDP panel for increased power savings.

The TC-P50G10 prevents burn-in by including pixel-orbiting technology and a scrolling white bar to eliminate any image retention on the screen.
For consumers who are looking for a television in this price range, the G10 is the absolute best of the best.

Comparison with Sony KDL-46w5100

The Sony KDL-46W5100 is more expensive than the G10 and has a smaller screen size. As far as picture quality is concerned, there is no comparison. The G10 outperforms the W5100 without a doubt. However, if LCD is preferred the W5100 is the best choice.

Comparison with Panasonic TC-P50s1

The S1 features black levels very similar to the G10 only noticeable to hawk-eye viewers but the THX certified G10 beats it on color depth and accuracy. With minimal picture controls, color inaccuracy cannot be adjusted out of the S1. At only $50 to $100 more, the G10 is a much better buy.

Pros
  • +
    Accurate Colors
  • +
    Deep Black Levels
  • +
    Minimal Adjustments Needed
Cons
  • -
    Consumes more power than LCD
Panasonic TC-P50G10 is the Best Overall 50-Inch or Smaller HDTV Under $1400
Where to buy
Panasonic TC-P50G10
Specifications
  • Screen Size: 50 in.
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (1 review)
  • Rated Excellent by CNET.com

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best badge
Panasonic TC-P50G10
2
Sony KDL-46W5100
3
Panasonic TC-P50S1
Customer Rating
Price
Screen Size 50 in. 46 in. 50 in.
Display Type Plasma LCD Plasma
Display Surface Glass Matte Glass
Anti-reflective Coating Yes - Yes
Max Refresh Rate 600 Hz 120 Hz 600 Hz
HDMI Inputs (Total) 3 4 3
Component Video Inputs (Total) 2 2 2
S-Video Input Yes Yes Yes
Dimensions with stand (W x H x D) 48.0 x 32.1 x 15.8 in. 43.0 x 28.6 x 13.0 in. 48.0 x 32.4 x 15.3 in.
Weight with stand 75.0 lb. 52.5 lb. 75.0 lb.
Energy Star Compliant Yes Yes Yes
Rated Power Consumption 589.0 Watts 240.0 Watts 584.0 Watts
2
Sony KDL-46w5100

Sony upped the ante with their 46-inch LCD television, the W5100. The Sony KDL-46W5100 has full 1080p resolution and 120Hz to reduce shaky images caused by fast motion, camera panning and films shot in 24 frames per second. For watching movies and television, this LCD is a top contender.

The W5100 has many picture control settings not typically found on other televisions in its class. We found that by adjusting the backlight and setting the television to “cinema” mode, that the W5100 produced decent color accuracy.

The television settings need to be tweaked for the W5100 to truly shine. Right out of the package the W5100 has a noticeable auto-dimming feature, which adjusts the backlighting according to the scene. This was eliminated by turning the “Advanced Contrast Enhancer” and “Power Saving Mode” off. The dejudder mode also had to be set manually to reduce the motion blur.

All in all, the W5100 had the best picture in LCD within this price range with some adjustment. However, the W5100 suffers from backlight seepage on darker scenes.

Comparison with Panasonic TC-P50s1

The Panasonic TC-P50S1 plasma has better contrast, color and motion fluidity than the Sony KDL-46W5100. It also has a larger screen size. However, the price of the S1 is so close to the Panasonic TC-P50G10 that the money is better spent there. The W5100 is the best LCD in this price range and size.

Sony KDL-46W5100 is one of the Best Overall 50-Inch or Smaller HDTVs Under $1400
Where to buy
Sony KDL-46W5100
Specifications
  • Screen Size: 46 in.
More
Want More Opinions? See:
3
Panasonic TC-P50s1

The 50-inch S1 is Panasonics entry-level 1080p plasma set. It retails for around $1100 which make is a solid choice for those who want a terrific picture and a large screen at a cheap price.

Like the G10, the S1 has Panasonic’s Neo PDP panel for extended energy saving and outstanding black levels. An anti-reflective coating is on the screen to block glare from windows and other distracting light sources.

The color accuracy isn’t as good as the G10 and with only rudimentary picture controls, not much can be done about it. However, the fluid motion of this plasma makes it a perfect pick for watching movies and television

Comparison with Sony KDL-46VE5

The VE5 features energy savings that are good for the environment and on the power bill but can also be distracting. The picture on the S1 is much better than on the KDL-46VE5, comes in a larger screen size and is cheaper.

Panasonic TC-P50S1 is one of the Best Overall 50-Inch or Smaller HDTVs Under $1400
Where to buy
Panasonic TC-P50S1
Specifications
  • Screen Size: 50 in.
More
Want More Opinions? See:
4
Sony KDL-46VE5

The Eco-friendly Sony VE5 is similar to the Sony KDL-46V5100 with additional power saving features. It offers a 1080p resolution, 120Hz motion, decent black-levels and colors.

Like the W5100, the VE5 needs a little adjustment to bring the television to life. Turning dejudder mode on and adjusting the white balance helped with motion and color correction.

The light sensor and other power saving features added distraction to the overall experience by dimming the picture during scenes and in different lighting. For instance, walking in front of a light in the room adjusted the brightness of the screen.

The VE5 includes a sensor that shuts the television off when there is no one present in the room, which turned off while we sat still.
Once adjusted, the VE5 performed very well when watching television and DVD’s. Motion was smooth and the color was fairly accurate, though there was noticeable backlight bleeding on dark scenes.

Comparison with Samsung LN46B630

With some adjustment, the VE5 has better color accuracy than the B630. The VE5 also has additional Eco-friendly features.

Pros
  • +
    Good Black Levels
  • +
    120Hz Motion
  • +
    Energy Efficient
Cons
  • -
    Additional Adjustments Required
  • -
    Some Power Saving Options are Distracting
Sony KDL-46VE5 is one of the Best Overall 50-Inch or Smaller HDTVs Under $1400
Where to buy
Sony KDL-46VE5
Specifications
  • Screen Size: 46 in.
More
Want More Opinions? See:
5
Samsung LN46B630

The 46-inch B630 is the entry-level 120hz model LCD released by Samsung. Colors on the B630 were “cartoony” out-of-the-box with an oversaturation of red but were easily adjusted to a more reasonable picture. The B630 does however, offer a matte screen not found on Samsungs higher-end models. The matte screen reduced glare making this model great for watching it in well-lit rooms.

The B630 features a 1080p screen and 120Hz for smoother motion in fast scenes and camera panning. The B630 does have decent black levels but lacks in the shadow detail department. Bleed-through is also apparent. Overall, the B630 is an excellent choice for Samsung fans who want an affordable 120Hz LCD.

Pros
  • +
    120Hz Motion
  • +
    Matte Screen Finnish
Cons
  • -
    Bleed-through
  • -
    Poor Viewing Angles
Samsung LN46B630 is one of the Best Overall 50-Inch or Smaller HDTVs Under $1400
Where to buy
Samsung LN46B630
  • Best Price: $1435
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Screen Size: 46 in.
More
Want More Opinions? See:

How It Works

You tell us your budget, intended uses, and desired features. We show you personalized recommendations from unbiased experts to quickly identify the best hdtv for you.

Advertisement

best camera Looking for a camera? BestInClass.com also provides expert recommendations for the best digital camera for you.