The Best Family TVs of 2014
Whether its Movies, Sports and Games - these TVs will serve you well
What do we mean by a good all-round TV?
Well, some TVs are great with movies, some are ideal for gamers and others might have a particularly good 3D performance, for example, but here we’re thinking of ones which can pull off a decent performance in a range of disciplines and a variety of different environments without necessarily excelling in any. A workhorse of a telly, if you like, used by all the family with their varying needs.
So here’s a few to get your teeth in to...
The L7453 sports an understated narrow design and provides plenty of connectivity options, including 4 HDMI ports, WiFi and a couple of USB inputs. Toshiba has greatly improved the responsiveness of the menu systems, this year, which makes the user interface more of a joy to navigate and the Cloud TV Smart platform is similarly enhanced. Toshiba’s offering will keep streaming addicts happy with iPlayer, Netflix and YouTube support, plus there’s a decent media player as well as WiDi and Miracast connectivity.
The L74’s CEVO picture processing is good and the panel is possessed of a reasonably effective local dimming system which boosts the native contrast performance to good effect. Overall, this was the best Toshiba we’ve seen for a while in terms of picture quality and it’s a good value TV as well, with the 55-inch version reviewed priced at under £1,000. There is also a 42L7453 for about £500 and a 47” model, which is currently hovering around the £750 mark. The L74 has plenty of screen brightness to compensate for well lit living room conditions, too, and it makes for a reasonably proficient big-screen gaming vehicle with its 50 milliseconds of input lag.
A great all-rounder was exactly how we described the Panasonic TX-47AS650 when we reviewed it earlier in 2014. Currently priced below £700, at certain online retailers, this mid-range TV packs in an excellent suite of Smart TV features. Chief amongst those, we think, is the new Freetime App which allows unfettered access to all the major catch-up services - BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 40D and Demand 5 – plus you get all the usual streaming apps, including YouTube, Netflix and more. The smartphone app is also first class and myHome Screen adds useful personalisation options.
The AS650 provides really generous viewing angles so it can be placed virtually anywhere in a room without compromising picture quality and the colours are extremely accurate and natural. Like the Toshiba above, the AS650 is a decent choice for a casual gamer and it can cope with brighter viewing environments extremely well. In addition to the 47-inch model, there are also 60-, 55-, 50- and 42-inch models available with prices ranging from £1,500 down to under £500 as you move through the sizes. It’s a solid TV with easy-to-watch 3D too and you could do worse than check it out for your family room.
Whether it’s for sports, movies, TVs or gaming, Samsung’s mid-tier H6700 is a decent choice at a competitive price. It comes in a large range of screen sizes, too, to match whatever room you may want it for. There are 40-, 48- and 55-inch models available with prices beginning at below £650 and going up towards £1,500. The ticket price gives you admission to an incredible Smart TV platform, too, with almost every conceivable catch-up and video streaming service within its ranks. You also get a smart remote controller, 3D glasses and superb set of connections at the back, so you’re all set with everything that comes in the box.
As ever, with just a few picture adjustments, we were able to get a supremely accurate picture out of the H6700 and Samsung’s video processing is amongst the very best out there, so even standard definition content can look good – particularly in the smaller screen sizes. Of course, it’s with high def where these TVs look best and we really like the natural, yet vibrant, look of the H6700’s images. They don’t look short on detail too, and with the likes of nature documentaries, the subject matter looks incredibly life-like. In short, there’s almost nothing to fault the Samsung H6700 on in either 2D or 3D and it’s a good one for gamers, too, with a fairly low 40 millisecond input lag.
At last a Smart TV that anybody can use. LG’s acquisition of webOS has proved to be a very shrewd investment and it makes their Smart+ platform absolutely the most intuitive out there. If you think of it a bit like your smartphone or tablet where everything is treated as an app, you’ll start to get the picture. Not only that but switching between apps is instantaneous and seamless and the Magic controller, offering superb gesture and voice command options, is absolutely the best in the business. LG has thoroughly nailed the concept of what a Smart TV should be, making the LB700 an excellent choice for phone and tablet lovers.
Of course, the picture has to be good for it to merit our recommendation and fortunately the LB700 didn’t disappoint there. Our review sample had fantastic out-of-the box colour accuracy and being an IPS panel, colours stay true, even at fairly extreme angles. The excellent LG picture processing also means the LB700 handles film material perfectly and the TruMotion feature lends a helping hand with fast paced action, such as sport. The LG LB700 is a real looker, the build quality is great and currently priced at under £550, for the 42-inch model reviewed, it’s a very solid buy. You can also pick it up in 47- and 55-inch screen sizes for £749 and £949, respectively.
As with all our buyers guides, we'll be keeping this one right up to date as new models are released and others go end-of-line, so be sure to keep checking back if you're still hunting for that perfect TV.
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