What is the “Best” Flat Panel TV?

I received an offer to do some cross-promotion with a site call Wize. According to the email, the company “aggregates and analyzes millions of reviews from around the web to determine the best products for specific uses / intentions.” It’s an interesting site, but I am not sure that its source information is capable of providing the conclusions that they offer. In short, I don’t believe that this service can tell you what is the “best” flat panel TV.

One way to be able to say what’s best is to test the products carefully, but you have to test them all in order to be sure which is the best one. I don’t believe that this is possible in today’s market. There are more than 850 new models released every year, and no organization — not even Consumers Union — has the resources to test all those models thoroughly and reliably using test procedures that are repeatable and uniform, and that produce results that are useful predictors of the end user’s experience with the product.

The end users who post the evaluations that Wize uses for their rankings are not using test procedures that are uniform or repeatable. . End users are notoriously poor judges of the technically-complex products. The biggest factor is that people tend to be emotionally connected to their purchase, and their evaluations are often a visible effort to justify their decision to buy that particular product. Their “reviews” have some anecdotal interest, but they hardly constitute a basis for judging a “best” product.

I don’t fault Wize’s efforts and I even think that there is value in the information that they provide. It is much more convenient than paging through endless listings on Amazon and other sites to see what buyers are saying about certain products. I’m just saying that this should be viewed as “best buyer recommendations“, and not a reliable source of information on the “best” flat panel TV.