Best TVs of 2014
OLED, 4K, Full HD. Choices, choices....
It’s been another interesting year in the TV manufacturing industry.
We’ve come to terms with the demise of plasma technology, 4K Ultra HD televisions are available at mainstream prices and OLED suddenly became very much more affordable. Here at AVForums towers, we’ve seen virtually everything the big brands have to offer and as 2014 draws to a close, we’re bringing you five of the best, across a range of prices and technologies. Hopefully there’s something for everybody here but, if not, you can always look at our other guides.
soundbar or streaming device – you should have no problems in getting it hooked up with 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB, wired and wireless LAN connections included. You can scroll through the menus using a conventional remote control or with the redesigned smart controller for a more refined experience. The new controller works really well and offers voice, gesture and touch controls.
Don’t be fooled by the nomenclature, the Movie picture mode is the one to go for, irrespective of whether you’re watching TV or movies and, in fact, we were able to extract superb accuracy from the H6400 which married with superior video processing and excellent native contrast to produce superb images. Priced this Xmas around the £800, this is an absolutely stunning deal when you consider that not only do you get great pictures, you also get the most comprehensive set of streaming services and Smart TV features on the market.
Full HD (1080p) material is so good that you’ll be losing next to nothing in the translation up to a 3840 x 2160 pixel count and, at times, the AX902 even gives the impression that Blu-ray discs look 4K
Panasonic's AX902 is expensive but technologically impressivePanasonic has invested lots of time and money in to the backlighting technology of the AX902 and this has paid dividends with some of the deepest blacks we’ve seen on a LED/LCD TV – 4K or not. It’s also great with 3D, delivering 1080p to each eye by a family friendly passive system. This flasgship TV also boasts an excellent suite of Smart features, including a built-in camera for Skype video calls, access to all the catch-up TV services and more besides. The only real catch here is the price so it might be worth waiting until the January sales to see if the current £3,400 price dips, which we expect it will.
W955 model but is the better bet, if picture quality is your prime concern. The W829 boats deep native black levels and great contrast and one of the most accurate out of the box pictures you could hope for. Sony’s strong background in video processing also shows, helping the W829 produce crisp, clean and colourful images, whatever you throw at it.
The Sony W829 doesn't feature the new Wedge design of the top-end TVs but it still packs in decent speaker system and there’s also a good deal of Smart TV content to get your teeth in to. The particular focus for Sony, this year, is in providing the user suggested viewing content and there’s no shortage of video services on board to facilitate that. You can pick the 50-inch W829 up for less than £700 this Christmas, and that is great value!
The HU8500 has just about every cutting edge feature included
There’s almost nothing you could fault in terms of the HU8500’s picture quality. Deep blacks, great screen uniformity, top quality picture processing and supremely faithful colour fidelity are just some of the qualities the HU8500 brings to the table and, every so often, the curve will give just a hint of providing a greater sense of depth to images. The quality of the 3D images were also superb with brightness, depth and pop-out aplenty. The designer looks of the 65-inch HU8500 come at a cost however, with an asking price around £3,300, while the 55-incher will set you back about £2,000. For that money you do get the assurance of the upgradable One Connect box included in the bundle, though and if you like them big, curvy and cutting-edge, there are currently few better choices than the Samsung HU8500.
This TV also comes with LG’s incredibly slick webOS Smart TV platform and the fantastic magic motion controller which has set the bar for smart remotes. This new platform makes the rest look clunky and positively old-fashioned by comparison and LG’s approach to treat everything as an app makes the experience unbelievably intuitive. Anybody that owns a smartphone or tablet will get to grips with the idea that everything is treated as an app in no time! LG is marketing OLED as the future of TV and on the evidence of the EC930 we’re inclined to agree.
Have you bought a new TV this year or are you browsing the Christmas markets for your new set? We’d love to you to share what you chose, why you chose it and what you think about it in the comments section below…
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