January 31, 2009

THE LATEST CONSUMER REPORTS has a big section on recommended TVs that makes me think two things: (1) I wish everything got better and cheaper as fast as electronics do; and (2) brand-dominance seems to be the thing of the past.

This time around, Samsung leads in most categories. Sorry, Sony and JVC! Plus, things are so much cheaper. The top-rated 58″ plasma TV is cheaper than my 46″ LCD JVC was a couple of years ago. And the 50″ version — also top-rated in its category — is absurdly cheaper.

Likewise in LCD TVs, the top-rated 52″ (as big as they get), also by Samsung, is much cheaper, and probably better, than my JVC 46″. Are these ratings reliable? I think so. The JVC that I own was their top choice when I bought it, and it did look better than the other sets I compared it to. And we have this relatively cheap Panasonic (42″ and under $700) in our bedroom, and it’s their top set in its category and I think the picture is great. If only, say, medical care were improving as fast. Or politicians . . . .

UPDATE: Yes, I know LCD TVs get bigger than 52″. (Here’s a 108″ model!) That’s just as big as the ratings went.