LCD technology used to be about the top of the line in televisions, rivaled only by the more expensive plasma TVs. But with the advent of Organic LED (OLED) and 3D models for the home, LCD is more like a standard today. Of course, new tech means falling prices. Although you could still spend in the thousands of dollars on a 70-inch LCD, such as the Sony KDL-70XBR7, you could also pick up a portable, 7-inch LCD TV for less than $50. So what is the best LCD TV for a small budget?
19-inch: less than $125
Ideal for the kitchen or a smaller bedroom, the vast majority of LCD TVs at this size top out at 720p, rather than offering the true high definition 1020p. To be honest, though, at this size, you're not really going to notice. In the budget range or $125 or less, you'll find plenty of lesser-known brands, such as the Viore LCD 19VH65 and Insignia NS-LTDVD19-09; however, you'll occasionally be able to pick up brand models like the Philips 19PFL3504D on sale. These might be refurbished models, though, so check carefully before you buy.
22-inch: less than $175
Still aimed at the kitchen, bedroom or RV market, an extra $25 or $50 will upgrade that 19-inch monitor to a 22-inch wide-screen LCD TV. Again, the majority of models offered at this size provide only 720p. Here in this budget range, though, is one shining gem in particular: The AOC L22H998 offers full 1020p HD, digital ATSC and Clear-QAM tuner, meaning you don't need a digital set-top box to receive a signal. Although the list price is more than $350, and most retailers are selling it between $200 and $250, shop around -- you could pick one up for less than $150.
26-inch: less than $250
At this size, the TV is probably going to be in a small living room or den. Ideal for a small corner set-up, a 26-inch also is the size at which you might start to notice the difference between 720p and 1020p screen resolutions. The Hannspree ST251MKB and AOC LC27H060 models both offer 1020p for less than $250, making them hands-down winners in this category.
32-inch: less than $300
An LCD TV at 32 inches will have noticeably better quality on a full HD 1020p screen. Sadly, a lot of older models at this size still only offer 720p, and that puts them out of the running. However, with a bit of shopping around, for less than $300, you could pick up an Acer AT3265 or a Viore LC32VH70 with three HDMI ports or a Proscan 32LB45Q with two HDMI ports.
LCD vs plasma: which is better? Each of these displays has distinct advantages, but you should consider your entertainment needs first before buying one of these monster screens.
How does LCD TV work? A light shines through glass plates holding liquid crystals, which respond to electricity and either block or let light through.