Jan. 23, 2013 at 2:06 PM ET
By Kara Reinhardt, Cheapism.com
Much of the buzz coming out of the recent Consumer Electronics Show surrounded 4K, or ultra-high-definition television. It seems fitting that the term echoes the Y2K shorthand for the new millennium: Manufacturers are betting that it represents a new era in HDTV. Granted, the Super Bowl would probably look pretty sweet on an 84-inch screen with four times the resolution of an ordinary HDTV. Too bad it would cost about $20,000.
For sports fans with more modest budgets, here are Cheapism’s top LCD TVs under $600.
While a 32- or 40-inch TV may not be man-cave-worthy, it’s just the ticket for a small living room, den, or bedroom. There’s no point in springing for a giant HD screen if you don’t have room to sit far enough away; the picture will appear grainy. The Consumer Electronics Association provides one method for calculating the ideal screen size for your space.
The resolution on most of the TVs on this list is 1080p, or 1920x1080 pixels (compared with 3840x2160 on a 4K TV). The super-cheap Vizio comes in at 720p, or 1366x768. That still qualifies as high-definition, and on a 32-inch TV, most viewers likely won’t notice a difference.
One knock against LCD technology is that fast-moving images -- say, a running back sprinting into the end zone -- have a tendency to blur. Manufacturers combat this “motion blur” with higher refresh rates. The LG, Toshiba, and Samsung models listed above boast refresh rates of 120Hz, compared with 60Hz on the Vizio.
Before you buy, take inventory of all the devices you want to connect to a new TV -- Blu-ray player, DVR, etc. Lower-end TVs typically have fewer inputs than pricey models, and you want to make sure you have all you need.
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