Pre-Christmas bargains: The best value plasma, LCD and LED TVs

Buying a high-definition TV before Christmas? Here are the models that offer the best value, from budget screens to high-end plasmas

There are plenty of LCD, LED and plasma televisions on the market. But which offers best value? We dissect the TVs available at a range of price points — from budget to premium — to guide you to the best buys.

$0-1000

Winner: Samsung LA32B550 LCD television

At $997, we're just under the budget. The Samsung LA32B550 is a great LCD TV. It's from a well-known manufacturer and has a Full HD 1080p resolution, making it a good choice when paired with a cheap Blu-ray disc player like the Samsung BD-P1600.

Runner up: Kogan 1080P-32 LCD television

If you don't have much money to throw around but still want a 32in LCD television, the $749 1080P-32Kogan is a reasonable choice. It doesn't have the image quality of the Samsung but it's over $200 cheaper.

$1000-2000

Winner: Panasonic TH-P50S10A plasma television

We're just scraping in under the budget again, but the Panasonic TH-P50S10A can be found for under $2000 if you look around — we saw it for $1941 at JB Hi-Fi. It's a 50in Full HD plasma television that can display smooth and vibrant images. It's more power friendly than older plasma televisions, too. Buy it before Christmas to pick up one of three free gifts from Panasonic (including a Blu-ray home theatre).

Runner up: Sony KDL40W5500 LCD television

If you don't want a power-sucking plasma television, a 40in LCD such as Sony's KDL40W5500 LCD television is right for you. It has a 100Hz motion smoothing mode, and if you buy it before 20 December you can get a free PlayStation 3.

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$2000-3000

Winner: Sharp LC40LB700X LED television

At less than $2500 the Sharp LC40LB700X is a great bargain. It's a 40in LED television that has a great contrast ratio and a built-in Blu-ray player, so you don't need to buy an external unit. Best of all, if you buy before Christmas you can get a free Xbox 360 and four games.

Runner up: Panasonic TH-P50G10A plasma television

If you don't want a power-sucking plasma television, an LCD such as Sony's 40in KDL40W5500 LCD television is right for you. It has a 100Hz motion smoothing mode, and if you buy it before 20 December you can get a free PlayStation 3.

$3000-4000

Winner: Samsung UA46B7100 LED television

Samsung's Series 7 LED television is one of the most advanced models on the market, with edge-mounted LEDs, a 100Hz motion smoothing system and a host of multimedia features such as Internet access and built-in cookbooks and artwork. If you find one of these 46in models before Christmas — we've seen them for $3588 — you'll also be eligible to receive a free 26in LCD television.

Runner up: Sony KDL52Z5500 LCD television

If you want more screen real estate for your dollar, the Sony KDL52Z5500 is a 52in LCD television that fits the bill. Priced at $3896, it has a 200Hz motion smoothing mode to ensure a clean picture even during fast-paced sports, and you can get the same free PlayStation 3 deal as other Sony televisions.

$4000-5000

Winner: Panasonic TH-P58V10A plasma television

The $4599 Panasonic TH-P58V10A plasma television clocks in at 58in — it's a seriously big screen — and is only 2in thick. Perfect for wall-mounting in a home theatre setup, it would make a good combo with the free home theatre system you can get if you buy before Christmas.

Runner up: Samsung UA46B8000 LED television

It may not be as big as the Panasonic, but the 46in Samsung UA46B8000 LED television — we saw it on special for $4496 — has 200Hz motion smoothing, edge-mounted LEDs for a high contrast ratio, an on-board content library and plenty of other cool extras. Oh, and did we mention it's just over an inch thick? Maybe you can hang it in your living room and put your free 26in LCD television in the kids' room or home office.

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