Best LED Televisions

Top 10 Rated Mid-Value LED TVs 2014

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Following are the models our electronics category editors JB Burden and Bob Wiley think are great mid-range LED TV choices in terms of the quality/value/price/features equation. We have reviewed these or similar offerings from the manufacturers and we recommend and rated these models based on the following:

1. Mid-Grade Features Set Value Proposition LED Television
2. 2D Picture Quality – Strong Black Levels, contrast, color, clarity,
3. LED TVs without the highest end most expensive features but still the most essential
4. Some Extra Features that make sense and add to value and work well
5. Side Angle- off center viewing quality (a difficult metric for LED TVs)
6. Sound Quality
7. Internet/Smart TV Functionality
8. Appearance and Design Elements

54.6″ diagonal
1920 x 1080 resolution
4 HDMI, 3 USB
2.2 Channel Sound (10W x 2 / Woofer 10W x 2)
48.2″ x 27.8″ x 1.3″

The picture quality of the Samsung UN55H7150 is excellent as far as flat panel 1080p LED TVs go. We were pleased to see the split screen Smart TV feature on this model—a step above the H6450 series—that allows…read more


Sharp LC-60SQ15U  8.5/10

60-3/32″ Diagonal
240Hz Refresh Rate Panel
4 (4K Ready) HDMI inputs
Dual Core Processor
54-19/64″ x 32-17/32″ x 3-3/64″

The Sharp LC-60SQ15U LED TV is in the middle of the pack of Sharp’s 2014 offerings. Of the two SQ15 choices, it’s smaller at 60-3/32″ compared to 70″, but it still has a bunch of picture quality features and Smart TV options…read more


55 inches diagonally
4 HDMI and 3 USB
Quad Core Processor
Active 3D playback

The Samsung UN55H6400 certainly won’t disappoint the family looking for a quality 55-inch LED screen to fill the living room, especially since this model has some extra features…read more


1920 x 1080 resolution
54.64″ diagonal
4 HDMI inputs / 1 USB input
(2) 15 Watt Speakers
48.53” W x 30.18” H x 9.76” D

The Vizio M552i is one of the more affordable HDTVs on the market at $899. That low price tag is due in part to the lack of 3D playback, which may be a dealbreaker if you’ve built up a library of 3D titles. However, this Vizio…read more


LG 55LB7200  8/10

55 inch diagonal
1080p
240Hz LED TV
Passive 3D

The LG 55LB7200 is a major improvement over last year’s LA7400 series, especially when it comes to color. The colors on this model come out vibrant and natural-looking. Local dimming also helps improve picture quality…read more


LG 65LB7100  8/10

65 inch diagonal
1080p
240Hz LED TV
Passive 3D

The LG 65LB7100 is sure to satisfy consumers looking for a really large TV with excellent picture quality—this one measures 65 inches diagonally and is a major improvement over last year’s LA7400 series…read more


Vizio E500i-B1  7.5/10

Full HD 1080p
50 inches diagonally
802.11n Wi-Fi built in
4 HDMI, 1 USB inputs
44.10”W x 27.46”H x 8.64”D

We rated Vizio E500i-B1 as the LED TV with the best price (around $650). Besides its attractive price point, this Vizio model has some appealing upgrades this year, including full-array LED backlighting—an improvement…read more


Mid-Value LED TV Buying Guide

Factors to Consider when Purchasing an LED TV (at least a mid-range one)

Resolution

Since almost all mid-range LED Televisions are 1080p resolution this is not really much of a factor any more.

Picture Quality Features to Pass On

In a Mid-Priced LED TV you want good but not over the top picture quality features. You save significant money by not having to have the fanciest most current features. Today those include 960Hz enhanced refresh rate, full array local dimming backlighting rather than edge lit LED, and true 240Hz panels.

Some Picture Quality Features You Want to Keep For Sure

1) Clear Coat Screens
For me, clear coat screens are important. We have in our list here a few TVs that do have a matte screen finish, but we prefer clear coat (otherwise called ultra clear) screen LCD panels due to better light flow in the screen and brightness. Contrast and side angle viewing may also be much better depending on the screen.

2) Video Processing
Processing is important no matter what price level you are choosing from, so we recommend strong processing engines from good manufacturers. This makes a huge difference with 480i or 480p standard definition signals up-converting to the native resolution (1080p) of the panel.

3) 120Hz vs. 240Hz Native Panel
To my eyes 120Hz panel refresh rate speed is probably good enough. Both 120Hz and 240Hz have issues when it comes to some negative unintended consequences. Both are good for fast action programming such as sports. But it’s much more difficult to see the difference between 120Hz to 240hz than the larger step up which is 60Hz to 120Hz. You will see much more judder – jerky motion effects with at 60Hz screen – so we recommend 120Hz for this price category LED TVs.

Other LED TV Features to Take a Pass On (in the Mid-Range Price Category)
Some people could give a hoot about 3D capability and that is why we have included TVs in this list that are not 3D compatible. If 3D is included – active or passive is fine for this category unless you are a 3D connoisseur – in which case you probably want active shutter 3D quality. Super fancy remote controls with QWERTY keyboards or touch pads are nice to have but not extremely necessary. 4K resolution is out of reach in this price range and may not help you that much anyway right now with such limited programming. The highest end appearance packages with the thinnest depths add too much cost and are not included in this categories recommendations (with the exception of the LGs).

Features to Not Take a Pass On

In my mind, the way Internet TV (also called Smart TV) options are expanding you might want that feature more than 3D for now. Built in Wifi is a nice feature to have to access the Internet – not having to purchase a Wifi Dongle or hard wire for the Internet. A full web browser is sometimes reserved for higher end TVs, but it’s a feature I like a lot because you can access and watch programming directly off the Web without having to use only the available Internet TV Apps built in.

Sound Quality

Though much overlooked – sound quality is mucho important if you do not plan on using a home theater system.

Steve Holdgren Steve Holdgren is an engineer by trade and has worked for some of the largest energy related engineering firms in the world with his latest stint in Switzerland. He holds a degree is mechanical engineering… See more about Steve

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