The Sharp LC-70LE650 is a huge 70-inch LCD HDTV with very good overall image quality as it has good black levels and color-accuracy. The sound could be better and the price is high compared to other large TVs, but it is an impressive set.
The well-designed Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II is a modest evolution of the first version that sounds even better than the original model. It contains just enough improvements to keep it at the top of the heap for portable wireless Bluetooth speakers.
Roku is a pioneer in video-streaming media hubs, but as Apple TV became popular, and HDTVs and Blu-ray players began supporting Netflix and other online services, Roku boxes started to look less unique and less useful. The latest box, the Roku 3 changes that. What's new? More power, a streamlined interface, an invaluable cross-service search feature, and a remote-mounted headphone jack.
Western Digital's latest media hub, the WD TV Play, tries to strike a balance for cord-cutters, offering some streaming services along with local file playback for a lower price than its Roku 2 XD and Apple TV competitors. But as a cord-cutter myself, I found that the WD TV Play doesn't offer quite enough of anything, so I'd suggest that you pay a little more for your set-top box.
With companies like Samsung, Panasonic, and LG continuing to release new models, it's safe to say the death of plasma HDTVs has been greatly exaggerated. The Samsung PNE7000FF line of Smart TVs are a great example of why plasma technology continues to hang on in a market dominated by LCD-based products.
The Vizio E500I-A1 is a 50-inch LED 1080p HDTV with deep black levels, a good selection of online content and a sleek design. We were a little disappointed with the quality of the image, however, especially in terms of the color vividness and the local-dimming.
The Slingbox 500 is a streaming media device that streams video from your TV or DVR to your PC, smartphone or tablet at full 1080p HD resolution. It does this all without any monthly fees and without the need for annoying external IR blasters. One downside is the smartphone and tablet apps cost a fee to download.
Vizio's latest 65-inch HDTV, the M3D651SV, rings up at less than half the price of last year's model, and it offers LED backlighting and a boatload of features, including integrated Wi-Fi, passive 3D along with glasses, and plenty of Web apps. More importantly, it delivers a bright picture with solid blacks in both 2D and 3D mode.
Contrary to popular belief, plasma HDTVs aren't dead. They're less energy efficient than their LED-backlit counterparts, but Samsung, Panasonic, and LG continue to make solid plasma screens. The 51-inch Samsung PN51E6500EF offers plenty of online services and apps, out-of-the-box 3D and most importantly, a great picture.
The Sony Bravia KDL-42EX440 is a 42-inch edge-lit LED HDTV offering good color quality and wide viewing angles. It doesn't get very bright or very dark, and lacks some of the features that come standard on many HDTVs, but its low price is appealing.