Best Television 2011: 8th Pocket-lint Awards contenders
2011 was a blinding year for televisions, literally. Pocket-lint had the backs of its retinas burned by the uber bright LED screens that started filling our sitting rooms. So many Hz that eventually it began to.
Keeping up with all the televisions released in 2011 was no easy task, partly because each one of them carries a name as catchy as a licence plate. There were, however, a few stand outs that make even the most cynical of home cinema maniacs drool, to these we salute you, in our 8th Pocket-lint Awards. Get reading, get thinking and then get nominating in the comments below.
The year's LED displays switched on replete with eye dazzling brightness and viewing angles that would make even a piece of Renaissance artwork jealous. They don't come cheap, but up to the minute tech never does. Those who invested, however, found plentiful visual treats in store.
Samsung LED the way (see what we did there?) in the television stakes, releasing the UE32D5000 which despite lacking Freeview HD, boasted some of the best value and quality viewing we have seen from a mid range set.
Toshiba also had a decent crack at the budget LED market with the 32HL833B display which, despite being a tad blurry, came up top trumps for the price. It also has a multi-purpose USB slot which is supremely useful for those looking to avoid Apple TV, but still play plentiful types of media.
Sharp's offering - who's panels, by the way, end up making an appearance in a fair few other manufacturer's televisions - was surprisingly good. The LC-32LE210E came with an edge-lit LED screen, decent styling and featured the name Aquos on the front, which we like because it sounds nice when we say it.
On the slightly larger scale of LED action was the Toshiba 40VL758. Featuring particularly James Bond-like styling and rather impressive picture quality for the money, it was a television that definitely went down well over at the Pocket-lint labs.
Just because LCD technology is becoming more associated with value for money televisions than the cutting edge of viewing pleasure doesn't mean it can't still impress.
Panasonic, for example, unleashed the TX-L32X20 which is now sitting on Amazon for just £299. Sure it might lack some of the niceties found on more expensive models, like built-in Freeview HD, but this suped up LCD has picture quality unlike anything else for the price.
Sony opted to pile on the features in order to make LCD still an enticing bit of tech. The KDL-32CX523 arrived complete with iPlayer built-in and DLNA streaming too. There was also the ability to make Skype calls and even smartphone control. A pretty robust package then.
Another sweet release from Sony on the LCD front was the KDL-22EX320 - a small but rather tasty TV perfectly suited to the kitchen. Sure, it's only HD-Ready and doesn't pack a super performance orientated screen, but the Wi-Fi module more than makes up for it. You can even stream LoveFilm straight to the telly.
Every time we hear the word plasma we can't help but think back to the glory days of the N64, our "yoof" and a character who shouted PULLASSMA in a game called Mystical Ninja that to this day only one of the PL team has ever played. (Do let us know if you played it too)
Nonsense aside, the plasmas are still going strong in 2011 despite representing a smaller sector of the TV market. One such cracker is the feature packed Panasonic TX-P42VT30, one of our fave screens this year at Pocket-lint. It's not cheap, but no one can argue with its picture performance; 3D too which tends to perform better when using a plasma display.
In fact Panasonic pretty much stole the show in 2011 on the plasma front. First up was the TX-50GT30, a whole heap of awesome and with unparalleled 2D high definition quality. There was also the P50S20B, which gave plasma for under £1000 and still performed admirably.
Who could possibly ignore the sheer televisual insanity that is the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 4-85? Going against the grain by not giving itself a name like TVL34500099201019, it immediately had us excited. Did we mention it's an 85-inch TV? Yeah you heard us, 85 inches. That means you need a special Bang & OIufsen engineer to come and inspect your floor before purchasing the TV, in case it falls through it. Seriously. It also looks incredible. A pinch at £66,000
Here is a category that only the absolute best of televisions can call home. There have been a few selections this year which, if money was no object, delivered a viewing experience unlike any other.
First up was the Samsung UE55D8000 which is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best, 3D televisions currently on the market. Incorporating a stunning, almost edgeless design, HD Freeview/Freesat and Smart TV functionality, this is one mean TV that cannot be ignored. Not exactly cheap though, expect to be paying over £2000 to pick one up.
Next up was the Sharp Aquos LC-46LE831E which virtually invented its own colour scheme by rebelliously adding a Y to the usual RGB. What exactly does this mean? Well, that you get superb colour response and that the television shows visual fidelity no matter what you throw at it. It is also awesome at converting 2D to 3D.
Final mention in the premium category has to be given to LG's 47LW550T which made use of passive 3D technology to turn out some mighty impressive results. It performed brilliantly in 2D tests and proved that gaining that extra dimension didn't have to cost you an absurd amount of cash.
Have we missed anything? Let us know your nominations in the comments below...