10 best 46 and 47-inch TVs in the world today
23rd Nov 2012 | 15:15
Let us help you choose the best TV for you
10 best 46-inch TVs
There was a time when plasma screens reigned supreme in the 46-inch+ TV market. But in much the same way as a meteor strike killed off the dinosaurs, the second coming of the LCD TV is the invasive species that has done for plasma.
We're still huge advocates of plasma on TechRadar, don't get us wrong, but the tech is dying out. Oldschool CCFL tech has been replaced by LED scanning and technical wizardry to finally make LCD tech viable in large sizes.
So the majority of TVs in this size bracket are now from the LED side of the wall, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. LED TVs these days are brighter than plasmas, they're thinner and there's a lot more variety on show.
So here's our selection of the best 46-inch (and the odd 47-inch too) TVs for your perusal.
Well-balanced budget TV
£800: Although it sits in the upper half of Toshiba's TV range, the 46TL963 is still strikingly cheap for a 46-inch LCD TV - especially one that supports active 3D playback and online smart functionality. It also sports one of those slim bezel/slim rear designs so in vogue right now, plays back most of the multimedia formats that matter from USB flash drives, and its pictures outperform the set's price level too, with richer contrast, punchier colours and better sharpness than you'd expect.
You don't get any 3D glasses free, there's some crosstalk with 3D pictures, and both the 46TL963's online and DLNA networked playback features are limited. But the set remains cracking value overall.
Family-friendly 3D and good HD for a decent price
£830: The ET5 series represents Panasonic's first stab at delivering the passive 3D format - and it actually works very well. It ships with four pairs of free glasses, as is common with the passive format, and its 3D pictures are clean, crisp, bright and colourful. The set hasn't forgotten about 2D, though, serving up HD images that are rife with detail and dynamism. Also impressive are its multimedia support and Viera connect online services.
The Panasonic TX-L47ET5 disappoints slightly with its standard definition pictures, and its 3D images aren't Full HD. It still gives you plenty of bang for your buck, though, and so provides an adequate fill-in for the gap between Panasonic's 42-inch and 50-inch plasma TVs.
Sony's cheaper option
£950: First, the bad news: the Sony KDL-46HX753 doesn't rival the picture quality of its 46HX853 flagship sibling, chiefly because it doesn't use the more expensive model's local dimming system. However, while its contrast might not be quite as good, especially when it comes to showing up shadow details, it's still very impressive by the standards of the sub-£1,000 46-inch TV range at large.
Colours and sharpness are excellent too, and 3D playback is among the best we've seen, delivering all the HD advantages of the active 3D format while displaying little evidence of the negatives.
Wrapping up a truly attractive mid-range package is Sony's excellent online system, which provides enough video streaming services to ensure that you're never short of something to watch.
Get Samsung's LCD quality for less cash
£1,000: If the £1,600 needed for Samsung's flagship UE46ES8000 is too rich for your blood, then the UE46ES6800 is a great cut-price alternative. It drops the gesture and voice controls (which many users won't mind at all), is less swankily designed and uses a less powerful picture processing engine, resulting in pictures which aren't as full of contrast or as subtle.
But make no mistake; picture quality is still very good indeed by the standards of the set's sub-£1,000 price level, provided, at least, that you reduce the set's backlight output down from its preset levels. Don't forget, either, that you still get Samsung's excellent online features.
The style guru's TV of choice
£1,150: LG is the current king of TV shelf appeal. Don't believe us? Then check out the 47LM760T, with its barely there bezel, gorgeous glinting finish, impossibly slender rear, and distinctive cut out stand design. The TV continues to reel you in with its extremely bold colours, potent contrast range, and pin-sharp HD pictures, as well as shipping with five pairs of 3D glasses in support of its passive 3D technology, and going beyond the call of duty with its multimedia playback and enormous online services.
Picture enthusiasts won't like the backlight 'blocking' caused by the set's local dimming engine, but otherwise the LG 47LM760T is a great example of why LG is now such a strong force in the TV world.
Sets new picture standards
£1,200: Sony seems to have realised in 2012 that the key to turning around its ailing TV fortunes was to start delivering the sort of quality it was once justly famed for. And the Sony KDL-46HX853 is a stunning result of this thought process, delivering the best picture quality yet seen from an LCD TV.
The key to its success is the unprecedented quality of its lighting system, which combines edge LED lighting with local dimming to produce a gorgeous contrast performance able to deliver both deep blacks and an immense amount of shadow detail. Sealing the deal are excellent colours, loads of video content among its online services, unusually powerful audio and a surprisingly reasonable price.
Flagship thrills for multimediaphiles
£1,500: The Panasonic TX-L47WT50 is the most futuristic TV Panasonic has ever made. Its super-slim glass and metal design, for starters, looks like something out of the Jetsons. Then there's the way its dual-core processors enable you to multitask, so that you can have six apps open at once and switch between them at will.
Last but not least there are the L47WT50's pictures, which use a local dimming system and some advanced processing to look absolutely immaculate for the majority of the time, with excellent contrast, rich colours, scary amounts of detail and the cleanest 3D pictures the LCD world has to offer. The only problem is some instability and light blocking during dark scenes.
Good mid-range option for well-heeled tech fans
£1,500: Philips' return to the TV fray has been very impressive so far, with both its high-end and new mid-range models such as the 46PFL7007. It catches the eye right away with its super slim, shiny design, and just grows on you more from there, thanks to its startlingly contrast- and colour-rich LCD 2D and 3D pictures, impressive motion reproduction, massive list of connections and some of its multimedia capabilities.
On the downside there's a little crosstalk with 3D, online features are limited, you only get one free pair of 3D glasses, and it's a bit expensive. But this is still overall an excellent mid-range television for serious tech and picture enthusiasts.
Technological tour de force
£1,600: Samsung's flagship 46-inch TV for 2012 is a suitably uncompromising beast. Its design is incredibly slim, and its feature count is formidable, including such highlights as the TV world's most content-rich and well-presented online service; voice and gesture control; expansive multimedia playback from USB; an 800Hz-like motion processing system; and the top tier of Samsung's micro-dimming system, which breaks the picture into small sections for improved processing analysis.
You need to reduce the TV's backlight output substantially from all the provided picture presets if you want dark scenes to look convincingly dark and evenly lit, and the gesture/voice controls can be fiddly. But nonetheless this 46in TV is another Samsung star.
Moth-inspired tech proves a movie-fan's dream
£2,300: The Philips 46PFL9707 is comfortably the most expensive TV in our top 10, but it has a damn fine excuse in the shape of its brilliant and unique Moth-Eye filter technology.
This apes the nodular surface of moth's eyes to almost completely remove on-screen reflections, and combines with a local dimming direct LED system to produce images containing both perfect black colours and phenomenally punchy colours, and bright whites in a way no other LCD illumination system can match.
Pictures also benefit from stunning sharpness and peerless motion handling, leaving as our only niggles the relative complexity of the TV's operating system (given how many processing options you need to wrestle with), and a rather content-light online service.
Read: Philips 46PFL9707 review