It's TV time again!
By clicking one of our links you're supporting our labs and our independence, as we may earn a small share of revenue. Recommendations are separate from any business incentives.
Another week, another set of TVs tested and reviewed. We took a look at a budget TV from Insignia and Sony's Bravia KDL-50R550A. Sony also rolled out their first commercial 4K player, Netflix rescued shows from entertainment's inky abyss, and of course, we found deals. Lots and lots of deals!
This one's for the guest room, folks. This 46-inch television might sound good for $449.99, but it just can't perform, even at the budget level. A poor set of colors means a lot of calibration is needed to get this TV looking right. Even then, the D400NA14 is hard to watch with a stingy viewing angle. Like we always say, you're getting what you pay for. "It's great to get a 46-inch panel with big contrast for under $500, but the tawdry, oversaturated colors are an ugly pill to swallow."
The R550A from Sony also suffers from poor picture quality. We wouldn't even recommend wall-mounting it due to the very narrow viewing angle. "There are plenty of smart, 3D, lower-performance 50-inch TVs available this year and last year for less than $1000. If you're going to pay that much for a TV, pay for one that performs to higher standards, such as the Panasonic S60."
Here we are at the advent of commercial 4K content. Sony kept true to its word by releasing the FMP-X1, allowing consumers to get their hands on pixel-packed UHD content. Hopefully the new Video Unlimited 4K online store, coming later this year, will provide enough value to justify this expensive new medium. For $699.99, will this 4K player stand a chance against movie streaming services?
As cable continues its oh-so slow but steady decline, a greater number of mid-tier television shows are finding Netflix to be their safe haven. With niche but dedicated audiences, programs like Arrested Development and The Killing are well-received but flounder on air. These cult classics are now being featured exclusively on Netflix, like little gems to be sifted for and discovered at your own pace. TV is its own treasure hunt!
If you're looking for a big screen that's still manageable in any modest living room, then we recommend a 50-inch TV. Not so small that the neighbors will turn their noses up, and not so big that they'll scoff and walk off. Let's be honest, neighbors are pretty hard to please either way.
Show the neighbors that you're a man or woman of modest tastes with these 50-inch televisions from Panasonic and Samsung: The Panasonic E60 is on sale at Amazon for $829 ($1,149 MSRP), and the X60 is $499 ($549 MSRP) at Best Buy. You can find Samsung's F6400 at Amazon for $1,097 ($1,699 MSRP), which is more than a modest shift in pricing.
We've also put together a deals roundup called Never Leave Your Living Room Again, which sounds like the perfect plan to us.