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Best TV for Movies and Home Theater; 2014 Top 8 Recommended

Picked by Editor/Reviewers and Robert Wiley

A home theater or darker room is the best setting to show off an excellent picture quality in a TV. It allows for the best calibration setting without having to turn up the contrast or back light in order to combat ambient surrounding lights or windows.

We've reviewed TVs this way for 11 years now, but we also turn the lights up and let in window light to test for the average user though it's not our preference. The quality characteristics that are most important for a movie dark room type of setting are: 1) Accurate color calibrated to D6500K color temp. 2) Good video processing internal chip sets expressed in the TVs picture as low or no motion artifacts and dithering objects (this must be tested with both standard definition and High Def movies). 3) Clean clear image edges even with the Sharpness feature tuned down to get rid of glowing edge enhancement. 4) Very deep black levels and an excellent contrast ratio (in a dark room blacks that are not black really look washed out. 5) No judder during side to side panning (a frequent occurrence that the 120, 240, 480 Hz rate feature tries to correct on LCD/LED TVs. 6) Good side viewing angles without contrast being degraded. 7) Enhanced and easily audible voice dialog from film. There is nothing more annoying than not being able to hear voice dialog when background noise overwhelms. Obviously, this one is not applicable to those with surround sound.

Below are TVs that we think do either a great or very good job with these challenges:

Best Movie TV's 2014

Sony XBR65X900A     
65" 4K LED TV

The Triluminous Color and X-Reality Pro Engine combine with the 4K UHD resolution to make this $6999 piece our top choice.


Panasonic TC-P65VT60      Editor's Choice: Quality
65" Plasma TV

A great black level from plasma in that dark movie room....perfect, but not cheap.


Samsung PN60F8500      60" Plasma TV

About the same picture as the Pansonic VT60 listed above, you could practically toss a coin. May come down to which calibration is the best.


Panasonic TC-P55ST60      Editor's Choice: Value
55" Plasma TV

A value option that still displays an excellent picture. Plasma with great blacks and color.


Sony KDL55W900A      Editor's Choice: Quality
55" LED TV

The best picture among LED TVs belongs to Sony for the year. It's not bad on the wallet either at $2299.


Samsung UN55F7500      55" LED TV

Once its calibrated this LED will surprise you with its extremely smooth movie picture performance.


Vizio M701D      Editor's Choice: Price
70" 3D LED TV

Watch it big on this massive 70 inch screen for value at only $2499. Not the same quality as the above TVs but gives a lot of bang for the buck.


LG 55LA6200      Editor's Choice: Price
55" LED TV

I like this model a lot for price. It still has nice looks and a good feature package. Picture not quite as good but colors are accurate once calibrated.


Best Movie TV's 2012

Panasonic TC-60GT50      Editor's Choice: Quality
60" Plasma TV

The TC-P60GT50 has the Infinite Black Pro panel that is Panasonic's best for 2012, but without the “Ultra” filter on the VT50 series which is even better. This is a big step up from lower end plasmas from Panasonic due to the much better signal processing. Black levels are about 20% better than lesser models with the extra fine processing of the sub pixel controller which controls the sub pixels red, green, blue inside each individual pixel cell.

Panasonic TC-55UT50 Editor's Choice: Price and Value
55" Plasma TV

The UT50 is set apart from the ST50 by not having the new Infinite Black Pro plasma panel. It still has a good picture but black levels and contrst aren't quite as strong as the higher-tier Panasonic plasma televisions.

Samsung PN51E6500 Editor's Choice: Value
51" Plasma TV

The PN51E6500 will add 3D and a full web browser to its feature set along with built in Wifi. The picture quality is excellent as is the value offering. Picture quality from these Samsung Plasma TVs such as the E6500 is very smooth and gives you very much an experience akin to being in the theater.

Sharp LC-80LE844U      Editor's Choice: Value
80" Plasma TV

This 80" Goliath is a full 111% larger in viewing area than a 55" TV – and a 55" inch screen is huge if you've ever viewed one in person. This is what we like to call a "front projector replacer" because you can take that dimly lit projector off the ceiling and replace with this TV. It's still 1080p resolution so will not be as sharp as the smaller TVs. It's the largest TV currently being sold to the retail consumer.

Sony KDL-46HX850      Editor's Choice: Quality
46" Plasma TV

This is the top model in LED edge lit performance will also give you a more HD looking picture with standard def DVDs. Great picture. It's a bit expensive for the size but has lots of good picture features, while flopping on the web browser and non-premium Internet Apps.

Toshiba 46L5200U      Editor's Choice: Price
46" Plasma TV

For a fraction of the cost of the above model this is a very attractive TV from Toshiba. It would be suitable for movies at a low backlight setting and with good calibrations.

Best Movie TV's 2011

Samsung PN64D8000      Editor's Choice: Quality
63" Plasma TV

The new, one inch larger screen retains many of the pircture features from last year, it appears to be a case of not messing with a good thing. The Real Black Filter returns, providing rich, deep blacks that enhance all the other colors sharing the screen. The warmth and realism that the picture offers is nothing less than stunning.

For 3D the PN64D8000 uses active shutter glasses and is Full HD 3D, sending 1080 lines of vertical resolution to each eye. Some televisions sacrifice some resolution to show 3D images and Full 3D HD provides the best 3D experience.

Samsung UN60D7000     
60" LCD TV

The UN60D7000 uses a 1080p, 240Hz LCD panel with LED edge lighting, the edge lighting is capable of local dimming for increased contrast in dark scenes and better contrast than LED or LCD televisions with constant back lighting.

These Samsung LED panels can get very bright and they produce rich, saturated color. Sometimes the colors can appear oversaturuated but many viewers like that look and broadcast and cable networks comply by oversaturating their content. Color leap off the screen but if you desire more realistic color you can use the wide variety of picture controls to tone down the appearace to one more suitable for your viewing.

Sharp LC-52LE830U     
52" LCD/LED TV

The LE830 is the replacement for the popular LE820 series from Sharp's 2010 lineup. The TV contains all the best edge lit picture quality features that Sharp has except the panel is 120Hz instead of 240Hz. It is designed for those that want the best picture and a great looking set, but do not care about 3D TV inclusion.

Panasonic TC-P50ST30 Editor's Choice: Value
50" Plasma TV

Panasonic's ST30 line offers plasma picture quality and 3D capability at a very low price point. It lacks some features like internet connectivity but the overall performance of this TV scored highly when we had it in for a review.

Samsung LN46D630      Editor's Choice: Value
46" LCD TV 

Alongside it's LED TV series, Samsung continues to offer traditionally backlit LCD televisions. The D630 series replaces 2010's C630 series. We liked the C650 series a lot when we reviewed it and found it to be a great value with a great picture. The 630 line was the same as the 650 without internet connectivity features. This year the 630includes WiFi and the new Allshare feature but is still doesn't go online.






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