LED TVs are a type of LCD TV that use LED lights to illuminate the screen. In full-array LED TVs the light emitting diodes are embedded across the entire back of the panel, while other models are edge-lit, where the LEDs are arranged around the sides of the panel and illumination is directed toward the center. Most LED TVs feature local dimming, meaning that the individual lights can be adjusted independently.
In general, the full-array offers the best picture quality, but edge-lit offers a slimmer design and the local dimming technology is becoming more advanced on the edge-lit LED TVs. Of all the choices in TVs today, the LEDs offer the best energy efficiency with many exceeding the energy star rating which translates into savings in your pocket. The local dimming technology increases this efficiency. Reviews for the best rated LED TVs can be found on Consumer Reports (subscription required), Amazon, and Cnet. Here are our picks for the best LED TVs including estimated annual energy cost.
Vizio XVT553SV Tru Led TV
The Vizio XVT553SV Tru Led TV received a best buy from Consumer Reports with loads of features for the money and was the 2010 editor’s choice from Cnet, who called it the “best value among high-end LED-based LCD TVs today”. Though Vizio has been considered a budget LCD TV company, they’ve made a name for themselves by making quality products that have pleased their customers. The 55 inch 1080p HDTV screen on this model is one of the few to use full array LED backlit illumination. It features smart dimming technology to control the LEDs and produce blur-free clarity.
Integrated Wi-Fi gives you access to Vizio Internet Apps (VIA) which includes access to streaming movies from Amazon, Netflix, and Vudu. Also features a universal Bluetooth remote with slide-out Qwerty keyboard. The only negative from Consumer Reports was the sound quality was said to be below that of most other TVs this size. They gave sound quality a fair rating, but gave picture quality an excellent rating. This model exceeds the current Energy Star guidelines by 50% and the LEDs do not contain mercury. The estimated annual energy cost from Consumer Reports is $52, that’s with a daily use of 8 hours without using the energy saving mode.
The Vizio XVT553SV Tru Led TV is currently on sale at Amazon for $1,699.98.
LG 42LE5400 LED TV
Recommended by Consumer Reports, the LG 5400 series of LED TVs features 1080p full HD resolution with TruMotion 120 HZ technology for no motion blur. The 42 inch model shown is backlit by inward-projecting LED lights embedded around the edges to make this TV energy efficient and ultra-slim. Other features include Picture Wizard and Intelligent Sensor which automatically adjusts the pictures to your surroundings, internet access with Wi-Fi adapatability for access to Netflix, CinemaNow, Vudu, YouTube, Picasa Photos, and Pandora Internet Radio, and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.
Consumer Reports liked the LG 5400 for it’s excellent versatility and ease of use. They gave the picture quality a very good rating and the sound quality a good rating. Cnet hasn’t reviewed this product yet, but you can read another review at PCMag. Metaefficient likes the energy star rating estimated annual energy cost of $25 per year as well as the price itself.
The 42LE5400 LED TV retails for around $1,400, but is currently on sale at Amazon for $899.99.
Sony Bravia KDL-46HX800 LED TV
The least expensive of Sony’s new line of 3D HD LED TVs is the HX800. The LED scheme on this model is edge-lit with local dimming, which means the LEDs are placed around the sides of the TV and can be dimmed independently within zones. Local dimming is typically only found in the full-array LED configuration, so this technology is fairly new. The 46 inch Sony Bravia shown features 1080p HD resolution, Motionflow 240HZ technology, and is 3D capable, though you’d need to purchase the glasses and 3D sync transmitter. It’s Wi-Fi adapter ready with access to Bravia internet including Neflix, Amazon Video, YouTube, Crackle, and Pandora Internet Radio.
Consumer Reports gave the picture quality and versatility an excellent rating. They liked the 3D effect, though it wasn’t perfect and had noticeable ghosting at times. All in all, it’s a reasonably priced LED TV from a high-end brand that will give you excellent picture quality and an estimated energy cost of $33 per year.
You can get the 46 inch Sony Bravia HX800 LED TV on Amazon for $1,499.
Samsung UN46C8000 LED TV
With the Samsung UN46C8000 LED TV you’ll get a chic, uber-thin (just under an inch) design and superior picture quality to other edge-lit LED TVs, yet with a retail price of $2,799.99 you’ll pay for it. Amazon has it currently on sale for $1,648.00, which is quite a savings. The LEDs can be locally dimmed. Features 1080p and 240HZ no-blur technology, 3D capability with separate purchase of glasses, and wireless connection to Samsung Smart TV with access to video, games, and social networking.
If the 3D feature is your priority, you may want to look elsewhere. Both Cnet and Consumer Reports found the 3D effect had considerable ghosting along the edges. However, Amazon reviewers love it, especially the abundance of features comparable to other TVs. This 46 inch model exceeds the energy star qualification with an estimated cost of $38 per year.
The Samsung UN46C8000 is on sale on Amazon for $1,648.00. (You’ll need to actually put the item in your cart to see this price.)
VIZIO M370NV LED TV
This 37 inch LED edge-backlit TV from Vizio is perfect for a small to medium sized room and will save you money on energy cost and give you a lot of features for the money. Consumer Reports reviewed the 32 inch model giving picture quality and viewing angle an excellent rating, but sound quality was only fair. Features a full 1080p HD resolution and TruVolume technology which controls volume inconsistencies between programming. Since the LEDs are arranged on the side, the set is a mere 1.7 inches thick. Amazon reviewers have given the Vizio M370NV LED TV an average 4.5 star rating. A great value all around, this TV has an estimated $20 per year energy cost.
The Vizio M370NV LED TV is currently on sale at Amazon for $529.99.
LG INFINIA 47LE8500 LED TV
Like the Vizio XVT553SV, the LG Infinia 47 inch 8500 uses full array LED backlighting with local dimming capability. Even with the LEDs behind the screen, the set is still slim at 1.4 inches. Features the full HD 1080p screen with 240HZ technology and internet access to LG’s Netcast Entertainment which includes Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Picasa, and Yahoo widgets. The LG Infinia is recommended by Cnet for excellent picture quality, though one flaw they did notice was the unevenness of the backlighting and some reflectiveness especially in bright rooms. Overall though, the full array, independently adjustable LEDs of the LG Infinia help to create an unrivaled picture clarity and is one of the highest rated LED TVs on Amazon. Read the user reviews here. The estimated energy cost is $22 per year.
The LG Infinia 47LE8500 retails for $2,699.99, but is currently on sale at Amazon for $1,499.95.