Buyer's Guide 2008: Displays
Dramatically improve your efficiency and enjoyment of digital darkroom work with a big, bright LCD
The latest LCD HDTVs combine affordability with outstanding picture quality. LCD HDTVs are having a breakout year, thanks to larger screens, better image quality and brighter pictures, with the same price tags as last year's models. To minimize hassle when connecting your PC, look for an HDTV that offers VGA or DVI input. Some, but not all, HDTVs work smoothly when a PC is connected using a DVI-HDMI converter cable. HDMI is the first industry-supported, uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface.
The widescreen Panasonic TC-32LX700 is a 32-inch display with 1080p (or 1920 x 1080) resolution, 178-degree wide viewing angles and a width-to-height ratio similar to movie theater screens. It incorporates 120 Hz high frame rate technology that delivers an impressive response speed for smoother transitions between fast-moving scenes. The HDMI connector accepts high-quality digital video and audio through the same cable, allowing you to run one cable from the source to the TV. Estimated Street Price: $1,199. The 32-inch TC-32LX70 shares many of the same features. Estimated Street Price: $999.
The 46-inch Samsung LN-T4665F LCD HDTV packs in 1920 x 1080 resolution, a dynamic 15,000:1 contrast ratio, 10-bit processing for vivid color reproduction, an 8 ms response time, 178-degree wide-viewing angles and three HDMI inputs. For even greater connectivity, the display includes a pair of component-video inputs, an AV input with S-video and a VGA-style input for your computer. Estimated Street Price: $2,295.
The Sony BRAVIA XBR-Series LCD TVs have an extensive range of input interfaces. They include three HDMI 1080/60p inputs, and the PC input offers easy connectivity. The new 52-inch KDL-52XBR4, 46-inch KDL-46XBR4 and 40-inch KDL-40XBR4 feature 1920 x 1280 full high-def resolution, 10-bit panels and Motionflow 120 Hz technology for enhanced playback of fast-action sports and other programming. An elegant design and excellent color quality top off the line-up's features. Estimated Street Price: $4,499 (52XBR4); $3,599 (46XBR4); $2,799 (40XBR4).
A couple of less-costly 42-inch alternatives are the ViewSonic N4261 and the Westinghouse W4207. The ViewSonic display delivers many of the key benchmark features, such as 1920 x 1080 resolution, 8 ms video response time, and a high brightness and dynamic contrast ratio. Estimated Street Price: $1,799. The Westinghouse model features 1366 x 768 native resolution, picture-in-picture functionality and HDMI, DVI and VGA-style connectivity options. Estimated Street Price: $961.