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The best LCD TV-DVD combos for living rooms and family rooms

While 19- and 22-inch TV-DVD combos are great for small areas such as kitchens and dorm rooms, larger screens are best suited for family rooms. Among the available choices, we saw generally positive user comments for the 32-inch Sansui HDLCDVD325 (*Est. $400). This 720p set isn't big on frills, and it can't really compete with high-end LCD TVs when it comes to producing the very best picture quality. But, users say this lightweight unit is a good value and delivers a reasonably good picture.

The built-in tuner receives over-the-air digital signals and is clear QAM compatible so you won't need a cable box to tune in unscrambled cable TV channels. Connectivity includes two HDMI inputs, S-video input, PC input and a digital audio output (coaxial) so you can send the audio to an external sound system. However, you might not need to do so for casual listening; users say the sound quality is good, though there are a few complaints about the unit's overall durability.

The Toshiba 32CV100U (*Est. $465) is another consideration among TVs this size. But while that TV remains available from some retailers, it is being phased out in favor of the thinner, more energy-efficient, LED-backlit Toshiba 32SLV411 (*Est. $490). Though the newer TV-DVD combo hasn't generated any reviews, the older Toshiba combo gets high marks for picture quality, easy setup and its clutter-free look.

Aside from the new backlight and slimmer design, these two Toshiba LCD TVs have a lot in common. They both have 720p widescreen resolution and an integrated DVD player that offers standard playback modes such as fast scan and slow motion. In addition, these units feature a QAM-compatible digital tuner for cable and over-the-air reception and a backlight sensor that automatically adjusts picture brightness. Connectivity is adequate with two HDMI inputs and optical digital audio output, but that only passes the sound from the DVD player, not the TV.

TV-Blu-ray combos

Most TV-Disc combos include a DVD player. That's fine for smaller screens, but even if upscaled with perfection, DVDs can't provide the details available from high-def Blu-ray Discs. Options for TV-Blu-ray Disc combos aren't particularly broad at the moment, though reports indicate that the 32-inch Insignia NS-32LB451A11 (*Est. $550) could be worth considering despite some apparent issues with quality control -- more on that in a moment.

Though it's relatively inexpensive, the Insignia NS-32LB451A11 has a few high-end features. It displays images in full HD, 1080p resolution and offers Internet connectivity -- via Ethernet or built-in Wi-Fi -- to streaming content providers. That said, the library of content providers is skimpy compared to better options, primarily Netflix and Pandora.

Internet connectivity also supports the Blu-ray Disc player's BD-Live features, which means you can download fresh movie trailers or call up movie trivia and take advantage of other interactive features while your Blu-ray Disc is playing. However, you will need to supply and plug in a USB 2.0 flash drive with a capacity of 1 GB or more to get the full benefits of BD-Live. You can also play back music files (MP3 and WMA) recorded on that flash drive (or on a DVD or CD), but no other computer file formats are supported. Connectivity is good, highlighted by three HDMI inputs, two component video inputs, one composite video input and one S-video input. You can send audio to a home theater system via an optical digital audio output. There's also a PC input for those that want the Insignia NS-32LB451A11 to do double duty as a PC monitor.

Picture quality is called "stunning," in user reviews, and the clutter-reducing benefit of having an HDTV and Blu-ray Disc player in one unit is appreciated. The biggest negative appears to be a quality-control issue: a significant minority of users report Blu-ray Disc players that appear to be non-functioning out of the box. Most report no such issues, however, and a small handful say that they experienced the symptoms at first -- loud noise and an inability to play discs -- only to have things clear up after several attempts. While this is certainly troubling, a longer-than-average two-year warranty provides some peace of mind. Some also grouse about the small number of Internet content providers.

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Toshiba 32CV100U 32-Inch 720p LCD/DVD Combo TV (Black Gloss)
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $519.99   
Average Customer Review:  
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Sansui 32" Widescreen "S" Series TV/DVD Combo LCD
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $1,199.99   
Average Customer Review:  
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Toshiba 32SLV411U 32-Inch 720p LED-LCD HDTV with Built-in DVD Player, Black
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $599.99 $429.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

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