Check these gorgeous HD televisions with the latest Internet connective features, for the best deals compare these pre-holiday MSRPs with whatever red-tag sale figures you find on Boxing Day and beyond
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Sony BRAVIA EX521 Series 3D LED HDTV (Starting at $749.99 for 32-inch; www.store.sony.ca) Connected TVs are generally a bit pricier than their non-web-enabled counterparts, but this BRAVIA offers a seductive entry point. It connects to the Internet via Ethernet to stream videos from services like YouTube and can even facilitate Skype calls, though you’ll need to pick up Sony’s pricey companion camera.
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Sharp Aquos LC-80LE632U 80-inch LED HDTV ($5,299.99; www.sharp.ca) This 55-kilogram 80-inch behemoth – the largest panel available to consumers – is all about size, but it also offers a few smart TV functions. Content licensing issues will keep Canadians from taking advantage of Sharp’s partnership with Vudu, but built-in Wi-Fi makes it easy to connect to your home network, and a widget for Netflix provides access to streaming content.
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LG 55LW5600 55-inch SmartTV ($2099.99, FutureShop.ca) With a full suite of web browsing, social media and streaming apps this TV fits the smart TV bill. It also comes with an extremely cool secondary, motion-sensitive controller that lets you navigate menus similarly to as if you were using a Nintendo-Wii controller. LG designed the menu system to take advantage of the motion-controller so they are easy to navigate and fun to use. Has 3-D capabilities if you want them and uses regular, cheap 3-D glasses instead of fancy electronic ones.
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Samsung Series 8 3D LED HDTV (Starting at $2799.99 for 46-inch; www.gibbyselectronicsupermarket.ca) Samsung’s Series 8 TVs are web-connected super-sets. Use the included QWERTY remote to chat on Twitter and Facebook without interrupting the show, find content anywhere online or on your home network with Search All, and watch as the television learns from your viewing habits to make recommendations. These smart screens aren’t cheap, but you won’t find better.
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Sony BRAVIA HX929 Series 3D LED HDTV (MSRP starts at $2,999.99 for 46-inch; www.store.sony.ca) Sony’s top-of-the-line connected television is priced to match. Among its highlights is the Sony Entertainment Network, which provides access to a surprisingly robust – though, as with all streaming services operating in Canada, incomplete – collection of Hollywood blockbuster movies to rent or buy, as well as classic films and TV shows.
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Panasonic TC-P50VT25 3D Full HD Plasma TV ($2,499.99 for 50-inch; www.panasonic.ca) This premium plasma from Panasonic has a modest selection of smart TV features. It can grab videos from YouTube and pictures from Picasa, provides access to Twitter and Skype and connects to several web services, among them Bloomberg TV and a weather updater. Handy stuff, but the panel’s stellar picture quality is still its main draw.
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Samsung 46-inch LED 8000 SmartTV ($2,397 at electronicsforless.ca) With a killer LED screen, full 3D capabilities (including two pairs of free glasses) and Samsung’s SmartHub suite of apps like web-browsing, Skype-to-Skype HD calling and social media hookups, the LED 8000 is already a hit – now with a recent price drop it’s an even more compelling buy.
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Samsung 64-inch Plasma 8000 Series HDTV ($3,499, FutureShop.ca) A glorious, vibrant monster for the ultimate living room setup that is somehow 50 per cent skinnier than standard plasma TVs with a much smaller bezel. Features Samsung’s Smart Hub which lets you search for video online and includes TV apps optimized for TV use along with a built-in web browser. A true king of the plasma TV hill.
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Panasonic TC-P65ST30 65-inch 3D Plasma TV ($2,999 at Panasonic.ca) A huge, high-end plasma screen which includes VIERA Connect, Panasonic’s own suite of online and social media connectivity apps. Legendary deep-black levels and picture quality at a screen size that will dazzle the eyeballs. Comes with included Wi-Fi adapter.
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Toshiba TL515 series 3D LED HDTV (Starting at $999.99 for 32-inch; www.bestbuy.ca) Toshiba partnered with Yahoo! to add TV Widgets to their televisions. Like other connected sets sold North of the border, it can’t provide access to the broad range of streaming stations available in the U.S., but it makes watching Netflix, YouTube and Flickr content a piece of cake. It can also act as a platform for Facebook and Skype conversations.
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LG Smart TV Upgrader ($99.99; www.bestbuy.ca) Want smart TV without buying a whole new television? LG’s Smart TV Upgrader plugs into most panels to deliver many of the same connected services found on newer televisions, including Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Netflix, YouTube, a web browser and more. For an alternate option, check out the popular Boxee Box.