I hope that this guide, which I created in 2002 and have updated many times since, will help you cut through the confusion with unbiased information so that you can select a new television. It won't answer every question, and when you read it, it won't tell you "the perfect TV for … Read more
If you're looking for a cheap TV 42 inches or larger, there are a lot of advantages to buying a plasma instead of an LCD.
The biggest is picture quality: an LCD is typically not able to reproduce the black levels and contrast of an equivalently priced plasma, and plasma always trounces LCD for viewing angle and uniformity. Entry-level 720p plasmas are also more energy-efficient than more expensive 1080p plasmas, and while they use a lot more power than LCDs, they still only cost about $20 to $30 per year to run.
We recently reviewed a bunch of entry- and midlevel plasma TVs, and our favorites are collected below. There were a few that didn't make the cut, including the LG PA6500 and PA4500 as well as the Panasonic X5. The latter was a surprise as every other plasma in the Panasonic range is superb for the price, and the X5 is simply...well...poor. Its picture quality was very disappointing even for the money, especially compared with that of our new budget star, the Samsung E450.… Read more
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) launched a site dedicated to the education of current and prospective electric vehicle owners in the San Francisco Bay Area. The site, called Bay Area PEV Ready, aggregates information useful to those electric vehicle owners.
For new buyers, the BAAQMD offers help to offset the high initial cost of owning an electric vehicle. Through available public funds, BAAQMD gives out grants to owners to help install charging stations at home. For those existing owners, the BAAQMD is fighting to secure more public EV charging stations. Already BAAQMD has allocated more than $6.… Read more
The Pazera Free MP4 to AVI Converter is a software application for converting your MP4 videos to AVI format.
This is a very basic and simple-looking video converter. The program is light on features, because it has one main purpose, which is converting videos to AVI format. The conversion process time varies from one job to another. You should expect it to take about twice as much time as the length of the video being converted if it's longer than a few minutes.
Even if you're not very familiar with computers, it should be pretty easy to start … Read more
With the booming popularity of sound bars, iPod docks, and tiny Bluetooth speakers, it's increasingly obvious that most people aren't interested in buying the best-sounding speakers. Other factors, such as the smallest possible size and maximum feature set are higher priorities than sound quality. I go the other way and put sound at the top of my list, but I'm far from convinced that the most accurate sound is the best sound. Accuracy isn't what it's cracked up to be.
Digital audio formats, for example, always have more accurate frequency response than any analog format, … Read more
This year the gap between the picture quality of the best LED/LCD TVs and the best plasma TVs has grown wider than ever. Unless you're interested in overspending for buying a Sharp Elite, there's no 2012 that can come close to the picture quality of even midlevel plasmas like the Panasonic TC-PST50 and Samsung PNE6500.
But maybe you're simply not interested in plasma. If that's the case, then check out the following list of 2012 TVs that (A) employ an LCD panel illuminated by LEDs and (B) perform better than most such TVs. The list doesn't include the Elite and the Sony XBR-HX929 simply because they debuted in 2011; both are excellent performers, still current and exceedingly expensive. It also considers picture quality only, so if you're interested in seeing the best LED TVs overall, including some that scored well according to our other TV reviews criteria, here ya go.
The list appears in descending order of picture quality.… Read more
Maybe you don't care how many features a TV has. Maybe you just want to see the coolest design going. Maybe all you want is the best bang for your buck, or the best picture regardless of cost.
Lucky for you, CNET's reviews have subratings. All of our TV reviews are rated according to four criteria -- Design, Features, Picture quality, and Value -- that are weighted, sifted, and centrifuged into the overall star rating.
Unfortunately you can't sort CNET's TV reviews by subrating on the Web site yet, so in the meantime I present the four TVs that would be perched at the top of those sorted lists. Each scored the only "10" we've awarded so far this year in the subratings mentioned above; they're not perfect, but a "10" is as good as it gets. I also list runners-up and potential challengers in each subcategory.
The other day, our audio reviewer Steve Guttenberg told me that when he was choosing his new television he spent a good deal of time at his local electronics retailer testing TVs against each other. But instead of evaluating the picture he was more interested in evaluating the sound quality, which I'm sure did not impress the salespeople who were used to just flicking on a copy of "Up" and waving at the TVs theatrically.
Sound quality is underappreciated in a product that is primarily designed to give you a picture, and unless you buy an expensive … Read more
Hi-fi has a dated, almost "Mad Men" ring to it, but it predates Don Draper's 1960s time frame. Sound-quality advances in hi-fis first grabbed the public's imagination 10 years earlier, in the 1950s.
A hi-fi system could be configured in a variety of ways, but the basic setup had a turntable, amplifier, and a pair of speakers. That sort of rig, with a CD player, still works for today's audiophiles, but they're probably 1 percent of all music listeners. For the other 99 percent, their "hi-fi" is in the car, or maybe … Read more
RightMark AudioAnalyzer is a free audio testing tool that takes the place of a bench-top full of equipment, including spectrum analyzers, tone generators, and test records. It can test the analog and digital signal paths of most any audio device, especially sound cards but also CD and DVD players, MP3 players, and recording devices. Using your sound card as a reference, it can evaluate other sound cards as well as audio devices connected to your sound card's inputs and outputs. It can even self-test audio cards that can handle separate inputs and outputs simultaneously. Several of its modes require … Read more