I currently own the following TV set: http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-LN-S4095D-40-Inch-1080p-HDTV/dp/B000GDEZLQ
It's served me well for the last few years, but this new age of thinner, better, 3D-er TVs is tempting me to trade up.
I know there are debates about the longevity of 3D and such, but since these televisions appear to be no more expensive than brands without it, and possess all the top features of 3D-less TVs regardless, a 3D TV is what I'm aiming for.
So I was looking for opinions on which models are currently the best of the best. I'm real stingy with picture quality, and obsess over even the most minute details.
But I'm not too picky over the extra stuff they've added, like WiFi or Netflix support and so on. I have my PC hooked up to my TV through an HDMI cable, so that's all I really need.
So here's some bottom line stuff I would want out of the TV:
1. No clouding/backlight issues: When I first got that Samsung, I traded it in three times since the backlight had clouding during the black parts (ie when the TV is starting up); I eventually learned that the majority of Samsungs have this, and doesn't actually effect the picture itself, but I want to avoid any similar issues regardless.
2. Gaming: Naturally, I will be playing every known console on this thing: Xbox, PS3, Wii, etc. I've never experienced the "lag" some people complain about, but if a particular TV is gamer-certified, I'd like to know about it.
3. PC Connectivity: Again, I plan to display my PC on the TV from time to time, either for movies or gaming. I want to make sure it's not a headache to get going.
4. Monthly payments: If I were to get the TV this year, I wouldn't be able to afford paying it all off at once, so I'd preferably like to buy it from a store or vendor that offers a no-interest finance plan.
5. Free calibration: When my parents bought their Samsung from Best Buy, a free calibration was included. I managed to sweet-talk the guy to calibrate my TV as well, and the results are certainly noticeable. I'm not sure if 3D TVs feature a do-it-yourself calibration or whatnot, but I want to have that option either way.
6. Free glasses: Only need one pair, two at the most as I never have more than one person watching the TV in my room.
7. Size: Anywhere from 45 to 55 inches is fine with me. 50 would probably be the best middle ground.
I'm also waiting for the best time to buy one. I'm assuming that will be Black Friday this year, so I want to get a list of recommended models beforehand so I can keep a watch for any of them going on sale. Based on some Google searches, Panasonic seems to be getting the most critical votes, though I admit a certain bias to Samsung, as the majority of TVs and monitors at my house happen to be Samsung. Still, there's the backlight/clouding issue I mentioned earlier, so if they're less prevalent on Panasonic or other brands, I'd be willing to go there.
P.S. I also have a Costco membership, FYI. I never bought a TV there, but if they accommodate you the same way Best Buy does, then that's an option available to me.