In this report

TV Rating Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org LCD & Plasma TVs, ConsumerReports.org
Credibility:
ConsumerReports.org reviews more TVs than just about any other source -- a whopping 156 of them at last look, including some brands and models that seldom if ever get expert reviews. It's also one of the few sources to review small screen TVs (29 inches and below). Though other reviewers offer more detail, ConsumerReports.org now offers good discussion about what makes a given TV great -- or not. If there's a flaw here it's that still too many (over 70) TVs are judged good enough to be recommended, though fewer rise a step further to become Best Buys.
2. CNET Best TVs of 2015, CNET, Oct. 15, 2015
Credibility:
CNET has tested many televisions over the years, though not as many thus far in 2015. Testing can get a little technical, but the findings are typically well explained. List of best choices include best overall, best for picture quality and best in different sized screens.
3. Reviewed.com Televisions, Reviewed.com, As of October 2015
Credibility:
Reviewed.com provides lots of helpful reviews of current TVs. The site offers a good, plain-English synopsis of what makes a TV great, or not so great. A tab labeled "Science & Testing" provides the numbers behind the commentary. Editors are tough critics, and no TVs -- even top-rated ones -- escape without at least some flaws exposed. A ranking of the top TVs is provided, but would be more useful if older sets weren't included. Editors' Choice and Best of the Year award winners are named.
4. PCMag.com HDTVs, PCMag.com, As of October 2015
Credibility:
PCMag.com looks at TVs in single-product reviews. Write-ups are shorter than at some other sites and can be technically dense, but conclusions are clearly spelled out and ratings are provided. The very best TVs get Editors' Choice designations.
5. Rtings.com Find your TV, Rtings.com, As of October 2015
Credibility:
Rtings.com is a good destination for TV reviews. Reviews can be searched by size and brand, but also by test results. That last section does a great job of explaining what the various tests reveal about a set, lets you see the test results side by side, and provides a photo that illustrates what the results mean in terms of the picture you see on the screen. Lists of the best TVs by picture quality, as well as for movies, sports and games are also provided.
6. AVSForum.com 2015 Value Electronics Flat-Panel Shootout Results, AVSForum.com, June 26, 2015
Credibility:
Here, Scott Wilkinson reports on the 2015 Value Electronics Flat Panel Shootout, which pits the top LED and OLED TVs against each other. Held this year at the CE Week trade show in NY, judging was done by both experts (TV reviewers and calibrators) and media members in attendance (including ConsumerSearch), and the TVs are rated on key measures of picture quality. There are also pages of comments and questions from members of AVSForum.com, a busy online community of audio-video enthusiasts.
7. LCDTV Buying Guide.com 2014/2015 TV Ratings, LCDTV Buying Guide.com
Credibility:
This site may not be very slick, but reviews appear to be objective and competently done. Lots of TVs are evaluated, and testing is extensive and well documented, but discussion could be clearer. A nice plus is the inclusion of picture settings based on calibration tests. Ratings are provided, and this helpful comparison chart with links to the full reviews separates current LED TVs from older models.
8. Amazon.com TVs, Amazon.com, As of October 2015
Credibility:
Amazon.com invites users to share their experiences with products they own, and many of the TVs sold here get enough ratings -- sometimes numbering into the hundreds or even thousands -- to help shoppers determine which ones are best. Both the ratings and number of reviews each TV gets are visible on main navigation pages. Many TV sets rate similarly, so it's easy to spot if one set gets above or below average feedback.
9. BestBuy.com TVs, BestBuy.com, As of October 2015
Credibility:
BestBuy.com also allows users to comment on products they own and navigation is easy. The overall rating and number of reviews reside on the main navigation page, and only currently available TVs are listed, although some of last year's models remain for sale. One nice feature is a top-line summation of how many owners would recommend the reviewed TV to a friend. Again, many models get hundreds of reviews, and some get well over a thousand.
10. Sound & Vision Flat Panel Reviews, Sound & Vision, As of October 2015
Credibility:
This site might not evaluate as many TVs as our other sources, but editors do conduct in-depth testing and produce detailed reports. Star ratings are provided for factors such as performance and features, but TVs aren't rated or ranked overall. The best TVs get a Top Pick designation.
11. FlatpanelsHD.com TV Reviews, FlatpanelsHD.com, As of October 2015
Credibility:
Although the level of detail might qualify as overkill for some, this Danish site provides comprehensive reviews that include lots of comparisons. Many tested HDTVs are similar to models sold in the U.S. and important differences are clearly spelled out in most cases. The best TVs get a Highly Recommended award, but TVs aren't otherwise rated or ranked.
12. HDGuru.com "LED LCD Flat Panels", HDGuru.com, As of October 2015
Credibility:
This site provides news and opinion related to the world of HD television, and evaluates TVs themselves on occasion. Reviews can be hard to find on this blog-style site, which is a shame because the experts here are highly knowledgeable. Commentary can get a little heavy for non-videophiles, but conclusions are clearly stated.
13. HomeTheaterReview.com Review Resource for Flat HDTVs, HomeTheaterReview.com, As of October 2015
Credibility:
Though only a handful of 2015 sets have been tested to date, HomeTheaterReview.com has become a good source of reviews aimed at video enthusiasts. Testing is comprehensive, well explained and clearly hands on. Ratings are provided, but no "best" TV is named.
14. Reference Home Theater Flat Panel Displays, Reference Home Theater, As of October 2015
Credibility:
This is the personal web site of Chris Heinonen, a respected reviewer of all things home theater related and a certified ISF calibrator. Heinonen doesn't review a ton of sets here, but those he examines are put through vigorous hands on and bench testing, and findings are presented in a way that conclusions are clear and easy to understand. Ratings are provided, but the limited number of sets covered also limits their usefulness.
15. TomsGuide.com TV, TomsGuide.com, As of October 2015
Credibility:
Tom's Guide is new to our sources for this year. The site has begun testing TVs ranging from flagship sets to budget friendly Smart TVs. Reviews are clearly hands on and testing based. They are also fairly technical in spots, but not so much so as to turn off more casual TV shoppers.
16. DigitalTrends.com TV Reviews, DigitalTrends.com, As of October 2015
Credibility:
DigitalTrends.com reviews a handful of TVs, and several impress enough to earn an Editors' Choice award. Write-ups are heavy on the discussion of features, but both formal and viewing testing is done in most cases and ratings are provided.
17. Walmart.com TVs, Walmart.com, As of October 2015
Credibility:
Walmart.com is a good source for user feedback on budget-friendly options. Some posters include discussion while others leave only ratings. Many TVs get a lot of feedback -- hundreds and sometimes thousands of reviews and ratings -- but many more get just a handful of comments.