26" LCD TVs: Are They Ready for Prime Time?

The THG Method

A TV set is not an LCD monitor, so we've adapted our usual test method to suit them. For more details on our measurement methods, we refer you once again to our feature article .

Here are some of the items we have taken into consideration in our review.

Design And Finish

One reason LCDs are selling so well is that they're sexy! Thus, it would be hard to gloss over the subject of looks. While design is a matter of taste for some people, the quality and durability of the materials are more objective criteria, and easy to assess.


Mediocre ergonomics may be okay on an LCD monitor, but a poorly designed, impractical remote control and menus that aren't intuitive are a pain to deal with on a device used every day, like a TV set! Therefore, ergonomics is a characteristic we'll evaluate carefully.

Static Measurements

We test TV sets that have a VGA/DVI input with our LaCie calibrator. We should make one remark here about color temperature. The standard used by TV sets is 6500K; manufacturers don't always hold to that standard, though they do generally come somewhere close. Calibration of TV sets also gives us a way of measuring the actual brightness, the depth of the blacks, and the true contrast of the panel.

We also always measure the uniformity of lighting on the panel. We've adapted our method to take into account the 16:9 aspect ratio of these TV sets. That means we have divided the panel into 48 (8x6) zones instead of 64 (8x8).

On the other hand, we didn't run our usual contrast stability measurements. The sensor we built for use with LCD monitors isn't capable of measuring the high brightness levels of TVs.


While brightness measurements are out, our device is still capable of measuring the latency or response time of a panel. In this test, only one line blinks, so the brightness isn't high enough to saturate our sensor. As usual, we measure the latency of a panel by using a whole range of color transitions running from a 0 to 50 transition (black to very dark gray and back again) through 0 to 255 (black to saturated white to black).