Notoriously conservative as we in the UK are, the really big market for TVs as we head towards Christmas remains the 37in-42in screen size. Actually, even the smaller 32in screen size is apparently enjoying something of a renaissance too. But we'd urge you to cast aside the shackles of such lightweight TV thinking!
For the bottom line is that if you want to turn owning a TV from a televisual into a cinematic experience, you need to kick your thinking up a gear, to the 46-47in level.
It really is surprising just what a difference the extra few inches can make at this level to how immersed you become in what you're watching.
Of course, a sense of the extra impact you get by stepping up from 42in to 46in is what actually stops more people from making the leap, as they're convinced such a large TV will take over their living room.
But trust us - we have first-hand experience of various family and friends who've all taken the plunge on a 46in or larger TV, and after an initial day or two of resistance, have invariably fallen hook, line and sinker for their new cinematic way of life.
Persuasive bit over, let's now get practical by having a look at four 46-47in contenders from a quartet of the TV world's biggest brands.
Price: £800 More info: LG Electronics Size: 1149.6(w) x 722.9(h) x 99(d)mm Weight: 19.7kg Resolution: 1920x1080 Native aspect ratio: 16:9 Claimed max contrast ratio: 50,000:1 Claimed max brightness: 500cd/m2 Connections: Three HDMI inputs (all v1.3), component video input, two Scarts (one RGB), composite video input, PC input, stereo audio inputs, tuner input, CAM slot, headphone jack, USB port (service only), digital audio output
Another barrier to buying 46/47in TVs we didn't mention in this article's introduction was price. For obviously extra inches of screen don't come for free. But in typically aggressive style, LG is out to shatter this barrier with the 47LH3000: a 47in LCD TV that will set you back just £800.
This is particularly startling given how little the set seems to have compromised on specification to achieve its price. It's full HD for a start, with its screen achieving a claimed, healthy 50,000:1 contrast ratio. Plus it carries LG's Twin XD Engine video processor, and a 24p Real Cinema mode for handling Blu-ray's 24p feeds better.
The TV has so many picture adjustments, meanwhile, that it's endorsed by the independent Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) group, meaning that they're willing - if you pay them! - to come round and professionally calibrate the 47LH3000's pictures for you.
The 47LH3000 doesn't even look cheap in its glossy, curvaceous, albeit rather large body, leaving as really the only up-front disappointment the fact that there's no support for multimedia file playback from USB or SD cards.
In performance terms, the 47LH3000, perhaps inevitably, doesn't break any new ground. But crucially, it's still way better than you'd expect for its money.
Colours are extremely vigorous, for instance, but only seldom tip over into looking cartoonish. They're given extra dynamism, too, by some respectable black levels, which are achieved despite the TV being one of the brightest we've seen at the budget end of the market.
HD feeds look terrifically sharp and detailed too, and thankfully don't have their innate sharpness blighted severely by the motion blur that's so common elsewhere in the ultra-affordable LCD world. Even standard definition survives the upscaling journey to the 47LH3000's full HD resolution reasonably well, with only relatively minor issues with noise exaggeration, colour tone slippage and softness.
The 47LH3000 wraps up a generally very likeable performance with some surprisingly robust sonics.
You can, of course, get pictures than those of the 47LH3000 if you spend more money. It's merely good in most departments, not great. But to be honest, finding so many 'goods' for £800 is an achievement in itself.
Its phenomenally good value, it looks premium rather than cheap, it's unexpectedly flexible and well featured, it performs just fine Minus points
You can get better pictures and sound if you spend more, especially when it comes to contrast and standard definition pictures; its large chassis makes it really very big bit of kit indeed
Price: £1,250 More info: Panasonic Size (off stand): 1132(w) x 722(h) x 106(d)mm Weight: 29kg Resolution: 1920x1080 Native aspect ratio: 16:9 Claimed max contrast ratio: 2,000,000:1 Claimed max brightness: N/A Connections: Three HDMI inputs (all v1.3), component video input, two Scarts (both RGB), composite video input, PC input, stereo audio inputs, tuner input, LNB input, CAM slot, S-Video input, headphone jack, SD card slot, Ethernet port, digital audio output
That our only plasma contender in this round-up should come from arch plasma proponent Panasonic is not a surprise. What is a little unexpected, however, given that Panasonic has had a rather mixed year by its own high standards, is just how good the P46G10 turns out to be.
Skipping past its rather bland looks, let's jump straight into its features and specifications - starting with three key facts. First, it's another Panasonic TV with a built-in Freesat HD tuner. Second, unlike models lower down Panasonic's range, it uses Panasonic's NeoPDP technology, with its enhanced brightness and eco features.
Finally, it's got a truly vast claimed contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1, thanks to a combination of plasma's innate strength in this department and Panasonic's Real Black Drive technology.
It's worth adding, too, that the TV will be compatible with Freesat's BBC iPlayer application, set to launch any moment now; and that it sports an SD card slot for playback of AVCHD or JPEG files.
The P46G10's picture performance with HD sources - Freesat or Blu-ray - is impeccable. The foundation for everything is a truly profound black level response, which finds dark scenes unusually well populated with subtle detail and largely free of the grey clouding evident on all normal LCD TVs. Unlike LCD TVs, moreover, the P46G10's black level holds up when viewing the screen from an angle too.
Colours aren't as instantly impactful as they are with good LCD TVs, perhaps, but what they lack in vigour they make up for in tonal accuracy and subtlety.
Also striking is the superb detail and clarity of HD images, with every pixel of the full HD resolution being put to use. The clarity even holds up during action scenes, too, as Panasonic's 600Hz technology reduces motion judder and improves general image stability.
The P46G10 clearly benefits, meanwhile, from its NeoPDP panel, which helps it combine its outstanding black levels with a brightness rarely seen from plasma technology.
That said, even the P46G10 isn't as vibrant as a strong LCD screen, a potential issue in very bright rooms. Also, the 600Hz engine doesn't remove ALL judder from the picture, colours occasionally look a little orange or green-dominated, and the set's standard definition images are perhaps a touch soft.
But with some reasonably well-realised audio to wrap the P46G10's performance up, it remains overall a truly excellent all-rounder - especially if you fancy a bit of Freesat.
Excellent Blu-ray pictures, well-integrated Freesat tuner, decent standard def performance, bright and colourful by plasma standards Minus points
You may not want the Freesat tuner yet you're paying a little for it, some occasional colour tone issues
I'm living in Turkey and I'm a home theater fan. I'm loooking for and searching for a new 46" or 47" LCD TV. The tests you have made was excellent. But unfertunitly I could not find the comperation of these LCD TV's.
Could you please send me if you have a group test includes these LCD TVs.