The Five Best TVs You Can Buy

We've teamed up with the HD Guru himself, Gary Merson, to publish the absolute best five TVs you can buy right now. As you'll see (and might already notice above), there are some surprises on the list.

Panasonic Z1

Panasonic's flagship HDTV is its thinnest 54-inch (137cm) plasma HDTV ever, with only 2.5cm depth. They did it by eliminating a third sheet of glass found in all other plasmas except Pioneer's Kuro and bonding the anti-reflective coating directly top glass. The Z1 employs SiBEAM's 60GHz 1080p for wireless glitch-free images sent via the included transmitter/media box from up to 10m away. The Z1 has THX picture mode and a custom calibration mode, plus nice bonus features including Viera Cast internet connectivity and an SD card reader for photos. The Z1 delivers amazing performance with full 1080-line motion resolution, accurate HD colour, deep black levels and 96Hz for judder free movie viewing.

The sexiest HDTV of 2009, the TH-P54Z1A has an RRP of $7000 in Australia.

Pioneer Kuro Plasma Screens

The Kuro models offer the deepest black of any high-definition display on the market — without any white-letter-on-black-background halos occasionally seen on plasma TVs. The Kuro models feature hand-selected parts, 6cm depth, custom calibration, 72Hz refresh and control over the internet via its Ethernet connection. The Pioneer uses a single top sheet of glass to minimise internal reflections, with the anti-reflection coating bonded directly to the surface.

In Australia, the 50-inch (127cm) PDPLX509A retails for $6499, while a 60-inch (152cm) size PDPLX609A has an RRP of $12,499.

Samsung Series 8

Samsung has the slimmest LED television in the world (3cm deep). It's feature packed with wireless connectivity, four HDMI inputs, no edge blur thanks to 200Hz refresh, a PV+C input for connection to your computer or HTPC, and it uses 40 per cent less energy than previous similar-sized LCD TVs. This is a benchmark LED LCD to judge against every other make and model.

All this performance comes at a price. The 46-inch (117cm) UA46B8000 and the 55-inch (140cm) UA55B8000 retails for $4699 and $6499, respectively.

LG LH90QD

This LG has all the hot LCD performance features video freaks crave, including LED backlights for excellent black levels, invisible speakers, and TruMotion 200Hz for increased sharpness and reduced motion blur. This LG also has all the tweaks anyone could ask for including ISF calibration and LG's "picture wizard" for user set-up without calibration discs or external test signals. The LH90 isn't the thinnest LED LCD, but it more than makes up for it with its price.

The LG LH90 series is available in 42-inch (107cm) and 47-inch (119cm) screen sizes in Australia. The 42LH90QD has an RRP of $4024 and the 47LH90QD goes for $4944. In case you couldn't tell, the LH90 series is the value/performance leader of the pack.

Sony XBR

The XBR series is the only HDTV available with separate red, green and blue LED backlights (rather than all white). It's got accurate HDTV colour, local dimming for deep black levels, enough brightness for a beach house, a 178-degree viewing angle, 100Hz Motionflow technology and Sony's Bravia Engine 2 signal processing.

There are three screen sizes available in Australia. The KDL40XBR45 40-inch (102cm) version retails for $2999, the 46-inch (117cm) KDL46XBR45 retails for $4999, and the 55-inch (140cm) KDL55XBR45 goes for $8499.

Gary Merson is the HD Guru, the industry's leading HDTV journalist. He's been reviewing TVs for well over a decade, and recently wrote a guide to choosing an HDTV.

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