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Best TV for Sports; Football, Basketball or Baseball; 2014 Top Recommended

Picked by Editor/Reviewers and Robert Wiley

Fast action is a particular weakness for many TVs in the marketplace. There have been many feature enhancements to LCD TVs to try to make up for deficiencies which cause motion lag or blur and judder (a jerky effect during side to side panning). LED back lighting has helped the cause and is a technology specifically employed to attempt to remedy some of these issues.

Historically, we have favored plasma TV technology over LCD or LED when it comes to response rate (speed of processing), viewing angles, and black levels – all elements that will be very important when viewing football, tennis or baseball. However, some LCD TVs have made significant inroads and have improved so much that we are now recommending them in areas that plasma TVs once dominated such as black level and contrast.

Our list below for best sports TVs is chosen based on 1) Great viewing angles without contrast loss – when you've got the guys over watching the game you do not want contrast to degrade and black levels begin to look washed out at angles. 2) No Motion Lag, blur and minimal judder – judder is that annoying jerky effect when the object or person moves side to side across the screen. It should be smooth. Motion lag or blur are produced when the processing in the TV are slower than the object moving on the screen causing some delay. 3) High Contrast and Deep black levels – these two go hand in hand but you certainly don't want the picture to appear washed out. Good contrast and deep black levels prevents that.

All of these models are available in different sizes, check the manufacturer's main page for more.

Best Sports TVs for 2014

LG 55LB7200      Editor's Choice: Quality
55" 240Hz LED TV

The LG 55LB7200 has a native refresh rate of 240Hz. That's going to give the best playback when it comes to live sports programming. Motion blur and judder are reduced for a better image. The picture quality is excellent here as well.

Samsung UN65H8000     
65" 240Hz Curved LED TV

The Samsung UN65H8000 is a 1080p LED TV with a native refresh rate of 240Hz and a curved screen. The refresh rate is perfect for sports programming and the slight curve of the screen is designed to widen the viewing angle. The curved design does come at a premium price.

Sharp LC-80UQ17U      Editor's Choice: Value
80" 240Hz 3D LED TV

The TV gets Sharp's new picture technology, Quattron+. Combined that with THX certification and Revelation Technologies to give it a real edge over the SQ series that features Quattron+ as well. This TV can accept 4K signals thanks to Quattron+ making it "future-proof." The 240Hz refresh rate and a new take on Sharp's Smart Central make this one solid offering.

Best Sports TVs for 2013

Panasonic TC-P60VT60      Editor's Choice: Quality
60" Plasma TV

One of the greatest characteristics of the picture performance of the VT60 series TV once calibrated is the exceptional deep rich black levels produced by the Infinite Black Ultra Panel. The VT60 has one of the nicest presentations of 3D material on the market for 2013.

Panasonic TC-P65ST60      Editor's Choice: Value
60" Plasma TV

The TC-P65ST60 is the largest entry in the ST60 series. It falls in right in the middle of the 2013/14 lineup, though the picture quality and feature set are far from middle of the road. The picture quality is very similar to the GT50 series from last year with smooth transitions and lots of depth to go along with rich coloration.

Vizio E701I-A3      Editor's Choice: Price
70" LED TV

The E701I-A3, is one of the larger LED TVs Vizio has released this year. Why should you be interested? Most TVs released at this size include 3D features. This one doesn't. The E701I-A3 left 3D behind but didn't skip on picture quality or online connectivity. The 1080p 120Hz LED backlit picture is going to impress when it comes to movies and sports alike.

LG 60LA6200     
60" LED TV

A native 120Hz panel is included with the LA6200 and it does a sufficient job of reducing blur in fast motion images. This is usually a notoriously negative area of picture performance for LED-LCD TVs, viewing images from side angles on the LA6200 is very impressive. The clear screen does allow for some glossy reflection but does a nice job from side angles even though there is still no comparison with plasma TVs.

Samsung UN60F8000      Editor's Choice: Quality
60" LED TV

The Samsung PN60F8500 is an incredible new Plasma offering from Samsung and marks a significant departure from 2012 top line models of plasma that seemed like an afterthought to the enlarged LED TV lineup. Samsung deems the panel for this TV the Super Contrast Panel and this is the only plasma in Samsung's lineup for 2013 to contain this panel.

Samsung PN60F8500     
60" Plasma TV

The Samsung PN60F8500 is an incredible new Plasma offering from Samsung and marks a significant departure from 2012 top line models of plasma that seemed like an afterthought to the enlarged LED TV lineup. Samsung deems the panel for this TV the Super Contrast Panel and this is the only plasma in Samsung's lineup for 2013 to contain this panel.

Best Sports TVs for 2012

Samsung UN60ES8000      Editor's Choice: Quality
60" LED TV

This is Samsung's top of the line for 2012, the 60 inch UN60ES8000. Lots of new features abound and include a cool new remote which includes a QWERTY keyboard and (so far) Google's new TV search function. 3D viewing is awesome with a smooth, vibrant picture void of any problems from past years - no flicker from the glasses, no crosstalk, no blurring etc.

Panasonic TC-P60ST50      Editor's Choice: Quality
60" Plasma TV

The TC-P60ST50 has the Infinite Black Pro panel which the VT series had in 2011 with a cell structure that increases black levels by 1.5 times. The 60ST50 does not prevent glare as well as the VT50 but does a nice job. This is a fantastic panel and picture quality for such a value oriented and well price active 3D plasma.

LG 55LM8600      Editor's Choice: Quality
55" LED TV

At around $2599 it's not going to be your least expensive solution but the LG 55LM8600 has a feature packed offering. This is a faster Hz rate used in the 55LM8600 to attempt to eliminate motion artifacts caused by fast moving objects across the screen. It increases the normal 60Hz rate to 240Hz. We see the jump to 120Hz as the most significant, but the worth of this feature really depends on how the TV processes the signal when using it. This will help sports programming though and we did not note any motion lag when viewing this TV.

Sharp LC-80LE844U     
80" LCD/LED TV

For sheer size, the 80" LC-80LE844U will display sports in a huge way. While again this is not an inexpensive selection at $5000+ it is the largest LED TV currently available. It will not be the finest picture due to the 1080p resolution in such a large screen size, but it does have Sharp's Quattron technology, fast 240Hz response rate, and active 3D viewing. Viewing angles are not as strong as plasma nor the LG listed above.

Toshiba 55L6200      Editor's Choice: Value
55" LCD/LED TV

At $1899 this is an attractive value play from Toshiba while still delivering very good quality and a new updated appearance - Aero design. Toshiba's 55" edge lit 55L6200U has a good bit of judder effects when panning side to side or during fast motion. We recommend leaving the 120Hz anti-judder feature on for this TV as it does not produce too much "soap opera" effect when left on as many other televisions do.

Sony KDL-46HX750      Editor's Choice: Quality
46" LED TV

The KDL-46HX750 46" size LED offers Fluidity in the picture during fast action (read sports, football) or camera panning is the objective of the Motionflow XR 480 feature. The 480 specification is to alert you to the fact that the backlight is helping to make the native 240Hz panel process faster. Results are usually quite mixed on these features with fast action sports looking great and movies and other film based material having some complications.

Samsung PN60E8000      Editor's Choice: Value
60" Plasma TV

The 60" Samsung PN60E8000 has built in advantages for sports programming such as perfect side viewing angles and no problem with judder in fast moving image. Realism and richly non-oversaturated color at exceptional on the PN60E8000. The new All Black Pure Filter the E8000 continues that. Colors on the PN60E8000 look like you would expect them to if you saw them off the screen. At $2000 for a top tier 60" TV it's not bad on the wallet either though we do recommend it for darker rooms.

Panasonic TC-P55GT50      Editor's Choice: Value
55" Plasma TV

Another good 55" choice, the TC-P55GT50 has those natural plasma technology advantages for sport programming of off center viewing and smooth motion. The new 2500 focus field drive increases processing speed even more. At $1899 it will not kill the budget. Color richness and saturation after calibration is also excellent. We make them pop with our settings.

LG 60PM6700      Editor's Choice: Price
60" Plasma TV

For price consideration LG has provided a couple of compelling models such as this 60" unit priced at under $1500. The PM6700 has a new black filter that increases contrast and black level over previous models. Improved black levels and contrast also mean improved color performance and detail in dark and low lit scenes.

LG 32CS560      Editor's Choice: Price
32" LCD TV

For the 32" size we've chosen the 1080p LG 32CS560 which sells for around $350. It will be a good, solid performer in this smaller category.






Samsung UN55D7000      Editor's Choice: Quality
55" LED TV

The UN55D7000 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 LC60LE830UN      Editor's Choice: Value
60" LED TV

Sharp's new X-gen LED panel with Quattron Quad pixel technology is impressing me more and more. Once you review as many TVs as we do, you get used to the most subtle differences in a TVs picture performance. What I am beginning to realize is that Quattron panels offer something more than your average LED TV. Not only are yellow and gold colors more acutely interesting, all of the colors pop more – but not with typical contrast enhancement. Maintaining a natural richness while improving color dynamics is a difficult task, and I am more and more a believer in this technology which I initially thought was a gimmick to be quite honest. The LC-60LE830 enjoys all the benefits of Sharp's best panels while foregoing some of the more expensive features.

LG 55LK530      Editor's Choice: Price
55" LCD TV

Everyone is on the the latest and greatest 3D TVs and LED TVs, but dont underestimate some of these excellent little LCD TVs for delivering the best value (along with plasma) in the marketplace. From past reviews and viewing at CES we know that this TV has a strong picture performance.

We've advised users in the past to turn off the 120/240Hz feature when watching film and broadcast based video content, and our sentiments remain the same. It introduces too many unnatural artifacts. After doing so however there are some very nice picture attributes to this TV including good black levels, natural beautiful colors, and plenty of dark shadow detail.

Samsung UN46D8000 Editor's Choice: Quality
46" LED Television

For 2011 Samsung ups the ante in TVs again, their UN series LED TVs were immensely popular in 2011 and each one we reviewed was impressive in picture quality, appearance, feature set and overall quality. Replacing last year's C8000 series are the D8000 series and they are slimmer, lighter, better looking and loaded with even more features. It doesn't look like Samsung will be losing the TV crown in 2011.

LG 42LV5500     
40" LCD Television

The LG 42LV5500 will only be produced in the 42" size. It will contain the extremely valuable Magic Wand remote control for use with the SmartTV (Internet Apps) features. Further, it is 1080p and Wifi ready with the Wifi adapter included in the price. It moves up a notch in HZ rate to 120Hz (LG calls this feature TruMotion). It contains all of the basic LG LED TV feaure but with these upgrades. DLNA certification is present.

We reviewed the magic wand remote at CES 2011 and are impressed with its fast flexible functionality. The point and click application was spot on from the IR remote. Even typing is fast.

Toshiba 32C110U     
32 inch LCD TV

The C110 series from Toshiba are a line of affordable 720p televisions available in a range of smaller sizes. A PC input allows the C110 series to double as a PC monitor and Toshiba's Photo Frame feature turns the C100 series into a digital picture frame displayig your photos in a customizable slide show.

Gaming mode bypasses the picture processing to lessen the input delay often associated with HDTVs. This feature is a must for console gamers or gamers using the C110 series as a PC monitor.

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