The Top Five TVs of CES 2011 
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Written by Dick Ward   
Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Another Consumer Electronics Show has come and gone and we’re left waiting patiently – or not so patiently – for all the new TV we saw at the show to finally be released.  Just what TVs are those?  We’re glad you asked.

#5 - Sony XBR-55HX929

The list starts off with one of the biggest names in TVs, Blu-ray players and just about everything else electronic to boot.  Sony brought plenty to the show, including the fantastic XBR-55HX929. As we've come to expect from high-end televisions, the 929 offers great performance while in 2D and in 3D.  It offers LED backlighting, integrated Wi-Fi and Bravia Internet Video, but its biggest features are those that aren't as obvious.

Sony XBR-55HX929

One feature that I'm happy to see on the new line of Sony TVs is the inclusion of Corning Gorilla Glass.  Sony says there are benefits to the visuals, but damage resistance seems to be more noteworthy.  No more Wii controllers or Move controllers breaking your TV screen.

Also new to this year's Sony sets is the X-Reality Pro engine, which not only improves the picture quality of streaming video, but cleans up the signal from your cable or satellite provider as well.  The demonstrations from Sony were impressive, and it's going to be very interesting to see what this looks like in a typical home environment.

#4- LG LW9500 LED LCD

LG has been talking quite a bit about their brand new Nano LED backlighting technology recently and at CES we finally got to take a look at some of the TVs that use it.  Needless to say, LG did not disappoint.

LG LED

It’s difficult to tell without a side-by-side comparison and a bit of time just how much difference the Nano technology makes, but the 55 inch LW9500 on display looked absolutely fantastic.  They’re thin, they’ve got small bezels and they’ve got a great aesthetic.

Of course, the screen isn’t too shabby either.  LG packed full LED backlighting into the LW9500 instead of the edge lighting that’s been packed into even the high-end sets from other companies.  It uses LG’s Micro Pixel Control to dim LEDs and keep blacks black instead of grey.

#3 - Toshiba Glasses-Free 3D TV

Toshiba glasses freeI’ve been going to CES for four years now and each year I’ve seen prototypes for glasses-free 3D televisions.  The problem, in the past, is that they’ve never quite made it past the prototype stage.  After CES they were never to be seen from again.

This year is different.  Toshiba brought glasses-free displays that are actually coming out, and coming out soon.  The 3D TVs that everyone’s been asking for are on the way and Toshiba says we’ll be able to get them by the end of fiscal 2011 – that means no later than March of 2012.

The technology hasn’t been perfected yet, and watching the 3D TV means you have to sit or stand in one of the three sweet spots.  Still, Toshiba has said that they’re still working to improve the tech before release.   These new sets won’t be for everyone, but for those early adopters with deep pockets. Since the display sports a 4K2K resolution, we’re guessing these won’t be anywhere near cheap.

 

#2 – Vizio XVT3D650SV Cinema 3D TV

The XVT3D650SV isn’t a brand new TV for CES – it was technically released in December – but it was one of the most impressive sets on display.  Not just because there’s a beautiful 65 inch screen, but because that screen does 3D incredibly well.Vizio’s set uses what they’re calling Cinema 3D but it more commonly referred to as passive technology.  You can use the same glasses you get in theaters or one of the many designer pairs available from makers like Oakley and Gunnar.

Vizio Cinema 3d

There were a few passive 3D sets at the show from companies like LG and Toshiba, but the ones from Vizio looked the best.  There was very little cross-talk, and picture stayed 3D from the center all the way out to the edges, while others lost the effect in the corners of the screen.  As far as 3D goes, the former entry-level manufacturer is among the best.

#1 – Samsung UND8000 Series LED LCD

Samsung’s press conference at this year’s CES was a bit strange.  It was presented in the style of a talk show and failed to elicit the sort of response that Samsung wanted.  Product unveilings were awkward and information didn’t get across as well as it should have, but there was one thing the company did right.

When Samsung first showed the new 8000 series LCD sets, they looked a lot like last year’s models.  That is, until the pair of execs on stage pulled off the false bezels to reveal a screen with just 0.2 inches of material on each side.  The 8000 series is remarkable in that way, boasting a screen that goes nearly all the way to the edge.  It’s about as bezel free as you can get.

Samsung UND8000

But the bezel isn’t the only thing Samsung’s 8000 line has going for it.  Even from across the conference room, the set looked beautiful.  That didn’t change when I finally got to see it up close on the show floor. Though it’s difficult to really tell under the lights and unorthodox viewing conditions, the picture on 8000’s may well have been the best at the show.   They’re bright, colorful and have what seem to be near-plasma black levels.  

The UND8000 has one more thing going for it - the remote.  Samsung's high-end set comes with an impressive touch-screen remote that allows you to watch your show when you get up for a sandwich, or even check on the game during a movie.  You're no longer limited to watching only what's on your TV.

 

Which TVs caught your eye at CES 2011?






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