If you're buying a new midrange or high-end TV from one of the major TV manufacturers, you can expect it to look great. Our jurors rate TV image quality on a 100-point scale, and the difference between the TV with the highest marks for image quality and our number-ten choice was a mere 6 points.
The top three sets nailed our image-quality tests. The Samsung UN46D8000 and the LG Infinia 47LW6500 did suffer from fine patterns in certain test scenes (a brick wall, for example, or a city skyline) vibrating slightly. The Sony Bravia 46HX820 had slightly lower scores in brightness and color, but delivered better detail levels and handled the intricate-detail test scenes flawlessly. Overall, video on all three sets looked fantastic.
The Infinia 50PZ950, LG's flagship plasma set, received color, detail, and brightness scores on a par with those of the top three, but it struggled in our motion tests: A scrolling movie clip of a seaside town looked choppy and vibrated a bit on the 50PZ950, while the other top sets rendered it smoothly.
The Vizio XVT3D650SV, LG Infinia 47LW5600, and Samsung PN51D6500 all delivered generally good image quality but had a few additional minor flaws. The Vizio suffered from slightly muted color; the LG showed less contrast; and the Samsung showed more problems with detail and motion than the top three did.