Useless HDTV Reviews

The East Valley Tribune (Phoenix, AZ) picked up a story from the Philadelphia Daily News entitled “Three of best among myriad of HD TVs“. The article begins with the following:

How does a high-definition video display maker stand out in the crowded field of 300 current models? We sampled the latest crop and bring you three of the best.

I’m not going to take issue with their three choices — the Philips 32PFL7332D , the Pioneer Kuro line of plasma screens, and the Panasonic PT-AX200U — because there’s not enough information in the article to explain why they are better than all the others available. It seems that they picked the Philips plasma because it’s small and has Ambilight, for example.

But there’s no comparitive justification for why they picked these two plasma models and one front projector over all the other plasmas and front projectors and rear projectors and LCD HDTVs as being “three of the best”. And I promise you that there are way more than 300 current models available. They don’t state it in the article, but I doubt that they tested 300 products to come up with these three “winners”. It’s not clear that they did any objective testing at all. For example, the Philips had “decent upscaling of standard-def content”. What does “decent” mean and how was it measured? Was it “more decent” or “less decent” than the other 297 products?

In the end, this article is a listing of features and specifications for three products that it appears that the author has seen in person. Nevermind that he or she has no idea what your specific needs and budget may be, I still don’t see how you can defend these choices without more information about what data was used to make the comparison.

The bottom line on all this? Don’t trust someone else to spend your money. Learn how to evaluate the handful of HDTVs that make the most sense for your needs and your budget, and decide what’s “best” for yourself.