Help me choose an affordable, modern TV
October 5, 2009 7:33 AM   Subscribe

Good modern flat screen TV around 27" and in the $300-400 range?

I'm looking to buy a TV for the first time in 10 years. Because I'm not a huge TV watcher and haven't been in the market for one for so long, I'm not very up on what to consider. I don't want/need something massive, expensive or having every bell and whistle. My main TV is currently a huge 27" tank and I would like to finally upgrade to something flat panel around the same dimensions. A little smaller or bigger is ok. My price range is $300-400 although I'd be happy to spend even less than that. It should have modern inputs/outputs and be reasonably compatible with other things coming down the pike. I've always had decent luck with RCA TVs, but I'm not tied to that brand at all. My primary uses for the TV currently are Comcast Digital cable TV, a dvd player, and I just ordered a Roku to watch Netflix streaming. After this it would be nice to not buy a TV again for another 10 years.
posted by fx3000 to Technology (13 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
LCD or Plasma types are both fine for that size. Toshiba and LG are good brands in that price range, or sometimes a Sony on a sale. Or you can probably score a 32 or 34-inch at the same price point a different sale, too, since everyone seems to be dumping old models now to make room for Christmas products. It's a good time.

Everything will be HDTV now, and 1080p would be a bit nicer than 1080i... but really, don't get too hung up on tech specs for a smallish TV like this; for the leap you're making anything will seem to be a huge upgrade. So get what's on sale.

I'm not sure anything made today is built to last for 10 years, sadly. The good news is that by 2019 they'll cost $50 to replace, and/or you'll just cover the wall with a 200-inch touch-sensitive panel instead.

PS: Roku boxes are cool. You'll love it.
posted by rokusan at 7:48 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Check this site to see what size of screen you'd want to consider -- size-wise, the screen on your 27" tank isn't going to be the same size as a 27-ish" HDTV. You can always find great deals on HDTVs online, but if you're like me, you will want to consider going into a good ol' brick and mortar store to see the TV before you buy.
posted by puritycontrol at 8:04 AM on October 5, 2009

Samsung LN26B360 26-Inch 720p LCD HDTV $356

Samsung LN22B360 22-Inch 720p LCD HDTV $279

Amazon LCD TV Search Results

I've had good experiences with buying TVs online from and
posted by pyro979 at 8:16 AM on October 5, 2009

If you're willing to go a bit bigger (but not necessarily more expensive) we just bought a Panasonic 32-inch LCD - I'm pretty sure it's this one and we love it. Happy hunting!
posted by futureisunwritten at 8:33 AM on October 5, 2009

posted by 3dd at 9:16 AM on October 5, 2009

Coming back in to second 3dd on Costco - we saved $70 by getting ours there.
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:37 AM on October 5, 2009

If you can wait a little while longer, we got a sweet deal getting ours during black Friday. I got mine last black friday from and delivery was included. There were several vendors with comparably good prices online. I want to get a second tv and will be waiting until this next black friday to try again.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:47 AM on October 5, 2009

Upsize to at least 32" because your Comcast channels will have big black bars at the side and it really makes the image a lot smaller. A 32" screen will give a slightly smaller image size and 37" screen will be slightly bigger. We got our Polaroid 37" monitor from Costco a few years ago and I still love it.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:02 AM on October 5, 2009

(Not to derail, but rokusan--do you know of any plasmas in that size (27")? I'm in the same boat as the OP and I prefer plasma to LCD but the smallest I can find are 40")

Although I don't own it, the TV I am currently considering is this 26" Panasonic 720p LCD. (The iPod dock is a nice bonus, too.) I have a 720p Panasonic plasma that I've been thrilled with so I am partial to the brand.

Definitely go and check out the TVs in person, but mostly for the size. I have been completely underwhelmed when looking at TVs in Best Buy et al because most of the time the sets aren't calibrated well and they don't look very good. AVS forum is kind of overwhelming, but they generally have a thread for all models of televisions with recommended picture settings (or you can shell out for a professional calibration).

Re: 720p/1080p/1080i, at this size you won't be able to tell the difference (I can't even tell the difference on larger sets) so I wouldn't bother shelling out for 1080p.
posted by cosmic osmo at 10:17 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

2nding what puritycontrol said. If you want to keep the same image size as your current TV, you're going to wneed to go bigger than that in terms of the measured diagonal.
posted by juv3nal at 10:54 AM on October 5, 2009

Cosmic, We have a are 32-inch plasma at work that I was thinking of as I typed that. Maybe they don't get as small as 27. I meant it in the same way you did the 1080/etc... it won't matter much at any of those sizes anyway.
posted by rokusan at 11:40 AM on October 5, 2009

We just bought the Samsung LN32B460 32-Inch from It was $534 but this includes shipping and taxes. The 27" were cheaper but didn't include the $100 or so for shipping and taxes so we decided we might as well get the 32". They brought it really fast by truck and a pre-scheduled appointment. It is a beautiful picture and received great reviews from CNet.
posted by i_love_squirrels at 2:39 PM on October 5, 2009

Response by poster: Just noticed I forgot to follow up on this post last year but I wound up getting the 32" Samsung LN32B360 for $449.00 (it was around November/December 2009). Considering the price I am very happy with it.
posted by fx3000 at 8:30 PM on May 15, 2010

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