CR Predicts Holiday HD Bargains

The holiday season electronics edition of Consumer Reports is out, and once again the non-profit products lab based in Yonkers, N.Y., is predicting that cost-conscious consumers "will be enticed" by HD products as price points continue dropping in most categories for most brands.

CR said that out of the 86 models it has tested, it has bestowed 42 with its imprimatur of "excellent HD picture quality." About a quarter of the HD sets tested (17) were christened with a "CR Best Buy" label, based on price and quality combined.

Specifically cited were both LCD and plasma units--the 46-inch LCD JVC LT-46J300, and the 46-inch Panasonic Viera TC-P42X1.

CR noted improved performance in several models from manufacturers who took pains to address previous display issues by increasing frame rates to 120 Hz or 240 Hz. It reported that a few Samsung and Sony HD sets tested with 240 Hz rates "showed virtually no motion blur" at all.

As far as the green factor, CR said that energy reduction "is most striking with plasmas, which now consume no more energy than most comparably sized LCDs with conventional backlights."

For Blu-ray units, the Magnavox NB530MGX is cited as a CR Best Buy, which it called "an excellent lower-priced player" with no frills.