The Best TV For Your Budget


The following is true: a man does not need a reason to pine for a beautiful new TV. In fact, he doesn’t even need much of an excuse to treat himself to one. Sure these are challenging economic times, but save up your pennies and make an investment in your own well being by way of a flat-panel stimulus package. Just think of how much more productive you’ll be after relaxing with one of these bad boys, rather than with that 27″ CRT left over from your dorm room days.

One thing is clear, men; if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to advance yourself by advancing your TV. So whether you are getting equipped for the big game this weekend, anticipating a hefty tax return, or just looking to bring your living room into modern fashion, allow Gear Patrol to recommend a black beauty to suit your personal budget and performance needs. After all, it’s a GP maxim that every man deserves a great TV.

Vizio ECO Friendly 32″ LCD VECO320L (Best HDTV Under $500)

vizio-eco-friendly-32-lcdVizio has long stood for value in the realm of flat-panel televisions, and now, with their 32″ ECO model, your savings will extend beyond checkout to your monthly electric bill. The VECO320L exceeds the latest TV energy efficiency standard (Energy Star 3.0) by over 15%, which is as good for the planet as it is for your pocket. Solid visual performance, reliability, and decidedly uncraptastic design really set Vizio apart from other so-called value brands. Consider this 32″ set for a bedroom or small living space, and be sure to give extra kudos to Vizio for throwing a bone to the individualist by offering a finish other than black (and I thought that my Samsung LN-S4052D was the only one).

Cost: $448 at Sam’s Club | More Information

Toshiba Regza 46″ LCD 46RV535U (Best HDTV Under $1000)

toshiba-regza-46-lcd-46rv535uBoth my parents and my in-laws own Toshiba Regzas, so I have a wealth of experience dozing before these beauties on Sunday afternoon whilst enjoying some golf or football broadcasts. I can attest that the only thing more impressive than Toshiba’s rock-solid image quality is the fact that you can typically find them priced well below a comparable set. This 46″ Regza is a great example, offering a massive amount of inputs (4 HDMIs, among many others), better than average on board sound for ye speakerless folks, and an elegant, minimalist design. In comparison to others, I’ve found these models capable of generating outstanding brightness, which may be a boon if your need place the TV in a room with an uncontrollable light source (aka the Sun). Here’s the bottom line: you simply can’t go wrong with this solid value.

Cost: $999 at Newegg | More Information

Samsung 50″ Plasma PN50A650 (Best HDTV Under $1,500)

This list just wouldn’t be complete without seeing Samsung represent. Samsung has become a brand leader in recent years by delivering a brilliant synthesis of performance and design; true to form, the 50″ PN50A650 is a real contender due to its styling, feature set, and middle of the road price point. Its 1,000,000 to 1 dynamic contrast screen is faced with an advanced anti-glare filter and is housed in Samsung’s signature Touch of Color frame. To me, the subtle red accent really sets this plasma apart as a stunner that you could design a room around. She’s smart, sexy, and the real thing when it comes to performance. What’s not to love?

Cost: $1,499 at Best Buy | More Information

Pioneer Kuro 50″ Plasma PDP-5020FD (Best HDTV Under $2,000)

pioneer-kuro-50-plasma-pdp-5020fdIt’s a Kuro. Need I say more? In case you are unschooled, I’ll give you a quick lesson. Pioneer’s Kuro series has won an ungodly amount of awards. Just Google it and you’ll find statements like PC Magazine referring to this particular model as “The Best HDTV You Can Get.” By way of an even more prestigious endorsement, one of our own editors recently quipped, “Having a Kuro on your wall is like giving a big f-you to anyone who knows anything about electronics.” This Kuro 50″ produces insanely deep blacks. Beyond that, I won’t bore you with the deals. The reviews speak for themselves. At this price, I honestly don’t know how you can live without one.

Cost: $1,999 at Costco | More Information

Panasonic Viera 58″ Plasma TH-58PZ800U (Best HDTV Under $3,000)

Panasonic and plasma go together like bacon (salt) and eggs. Their Viera series is no exception and, in its 58″ configuration, you’ll find a great way to cover a big chunk of your wall at a reasonable price. This television offers the vibrant colors, deep blacks, and connectivity that you’d expect, along with some nice bonuses and proprietary features. Among them, THX Certification is sure to please audiophiles and receiver junkies, as well as Panasonic’s own Viera link, offering simple control of all your Panasonic devices from one remote. Choose this option to impress your buddies, or if you think that bigger targets will make you better at Call of Duty.

Cost: $2,444 at Amazon | More Information