The Top Rated LED & LCD TVs For 2012

by Justin Thomas •

The Best LED or LCD TVs Of 2011

We’ve consulted expert reviews on CNET, PC Magazine, Consumer Reports and PC Magazine to compile this list of the top rated LCD and LED TVs.

Note that we feature 55-inch TVs, but you’ll find additional sizes within each television’s series. You can expect virtually identical performance within any series of a given manufacturer.

The top rated inexpensive TVs for 2012 are: Samsung LN32D550 32-Inch ($475) and the LG 42LV3500 42-Inch ($530).

Samsung UN55D8000 ($2,179)

Samsung UN55D8000

Samsung UN55D8000

Top Review Sources:

  • CNET: 4.0/5.0 “The design is a spectacular success”
  • 3D TV Buying Guide: 9.2/10.0 “The dual sided remote control is one of the standout features”
  • SlashGear: “If your wallet can accommodate it, the Samsung UN55D8000 is unlikely to disappoint”

The Samsung UN55D8000 LED TV looks stunning even when it’s turned off. This television has an super-thin frame that is hardly noticeable when the screen is off and virtually disappears when the display is on. Picture quality is excellent, with great depth, sharp lines, and rich color. As with all LED TVs, there are some issues with color and black-level uniformity, however, the UN55D8000 is not one of the bigger offenders in this regard. Standard definition sources are well-represented, and its 3D capability is superior to most in its class. The backlight is capable of very high brightness levels. The UN55D8000 has myriad picture adjustments.

The included remote has a backlit, traditional layout on one side, and a QWERTY keyboard on the flip side. The keyboard side has a small screen for keeping track of typing without having to glance at the TV. It also features navigation controls for web browsing. The onscreen interface is best-in-class, with easy-to-read text and plenty of contextual explanations. Wi-Fi is built in to the UN55D8000 and there are many streaming services and applications available (Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and Twitter to name some). Inputs are 4 HDMI, 3 USB, 1 Composite, 1 Component, 1 VGA, and 1 Ethernet.

Purchase the 55-inch UN55D8000 on Amazon. This television is also available in 46-inch, 60-inch, and 65-inch versions. Note that the 65-inch version does not have the super-thin bezel.


Vizio XVT553SV ($1,400)

Vizio XVT553SV

Vizio XVT553SV

Top Review Sources:

  • PC Magazine: 4.0/5.0 “Top-notch HDTV tech, wireless and wired connectivity, loads of Web apps, and very good HD picture quality”
  • Consumer Reports: 74/100 “It did an excellent job displaying the finest detail in high-definition content”
  • CNET: 4.0/5.0 “The remote and menus of the XVT3SV series were among the best we’ve used, and surpass in many ways the efforts of more well-known brands”

The Vizio XVT553SV is an LCD TV with full-array LED backlighting and local dimming. While there are some issues with off-angle viewing and blooming—when lit panels leak light into unlit panels—overall the XVT553SV delivers black levels and color accuracy to rival much more expensive televisions. The XVT553SV really does well in brightly-lit environments, where its combination of strong backlighting and matte screen deliver a picture that isn’t washed out. There are a slightly above-average number of picture adjustment settings. 3D is not available, but the XVT553SV’s standard definition performance is very good.

Inputs include 5 HDMI, 1 Composite, 1 Component, 1 VGA, 1 RF, 3 USB, and 1 Ethernet—a generous selection. The bundled remote control is a highlight; it has a full slide-out keyboard, Bluetooth connectivity, and it does a good job playing the role of universal controller for all your devices. Wi-Fi is built-in to the XVT553SV. It is able to connect to services such as Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Hulu Plus, and Pandora.

You’ll find the 55-inch Vizio XVT553SV for sale on Amazon. This television is also available in 47-inch, 37-inch, and 32-inch versions.


LG Infinia 55LW5600 ($1,450)

LG Infinia 55LW5600

LG Infinia 55LW5600

Top Review Sources:

  • PC Magazine: 4.5/5.0 “Inky blacks, excellent color quality, low power usage, and a robust feature set all help to make the 47LW5600 our latest Editors’ Choice 3D TV”
  • PC World: 4.0/5.0 “You’ll find very little to quibble about with this handsome 1080p HDTV”
  • “A solid LCD TV that has excellent color and internet performance”

The LG Infinia 55LW5600 is a matte-screen LED TV with 3D capability. Its housing is a reserved, glossy black. Picture quality is terrific, with deep blacks and rich colors. There is some blooming caused by local dimming. The matte finish screen greatly reduces glare (compared to glossy screens); as a result, the 55LW5600 does very well in bright rooms. The 55LW5600 employs passive 3D technology. Passive 3D glasses do not need a power source to work; active 3D glasses do. Passive 3D glasses weigh less, cost less, and tend to produce less eye fatigue. Passive 3D also displays images at half the resolution of active 3D, so there is often a noticeable drop in 3D picture quality. Standard definition programs are well-represented. Connectivity options are HDMI (4), Composite (2), Component (1), USB (2), VGA (1), and Ethernet (1). A Wi-Fi dongle is included.

Reviewers really like the control systems of the 55LW5600. The on-screen menus are fast and logical, plus there are a plethora of picture adjustments. The internet and multimedia experiences are good, with a solid selection of apps and a decent web browser. The system is bundled with two remotes: one standard and one motion control. The motion controller responds to input aimed at the screen and is useful for most performing most functions, including web navigation.

The 55-inch LG Infinia 55LW5600 is for sale on Amazon. It’s also available in a 47-inch size.

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