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Engadget's back to school guide: Televisions


Welcome to Engadget's Back to School guide! We know that this time of year can be pretty annoying and stressful for everyone, so we're here to help out with the heartbreaking process of gadget buying for the school-aged crowd. Today, we have HDTVs in our sights -- and you can head to the Back to School hub to see the rest of the product guides as they're added throughout the month.

All those small screen devices in our back to school guide so far are nice, but lets face it, when it comes to watching TV or taking a quick Call of duty study break, you're going to need something more sizable. Higher end features like 1080p resolution, 120Hz and LED lighting have trickled down to more affordable price ranges so there's really no excuse for lugging a CRT as old as you are into any dorm room this fall. Whether you're looking something that pulls double duty as a computer monitor for work and HDTV for play (at the same time) or just the biggest screen for the buck there's plenty to choose from, so let's select a few winners from the crowd.

On the cheap

Samsung B2230HD 21.5" Widescreen LCD Monitor

Engadget's back to school guide Televisions

Samsung's latest monitors can throw the game up in picture-in-picture while you focus on the work at hand, whether it's updating your fantasy squad or finishing a paper. At just $250 for a 21.5-inch model, it's the cheapest and easiest way kill two birds with one stone, and one budget.

Key specs: 21.5-inch, 1080p, 2 HDMI inputs

Price: $250 at Newegg

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Engadget's back to school guide Televisions


The smallest screen from VIZIO with the company's Internet Apps, this 22-incher has built-in WiFi N and brings Netflix Watch Instantly access anywhere it goes.

Price: $269 at Amazon

Engadget's back to school guide Televisions

Panasonic TC-L22X2

This one doesn't have the high res of the competition, but at this size unless you're pressing your nose to the screen it will be tough to notice. What you will notice however, is how easy it is to plug your iPod into the included dock and enjoy music, movies and pictures with the press of a button.

Price: $279 at Amazon


Panasonic TC-P42U2

Engadget's back to school guide Televisions

This Panasonic plasma brings some of the best technology available in a bargain package, at just $649 for a 1080p, 42-inch HDTV. It may not have all the pro tweaks of its higher end brethren, but for peak picture quality on a shoestring budget, it's tough to do better.

Key specs: 1080p, 2,0000,000:1 contrast ratio, 3 HDMI inputs, SD card reader

Price: $649 at Best Buy

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Engadget's back to school guide Televisions

Samsung PN42C430

Samsung's plasma only has 720 of the p's, but it has plenty of picture quality and just the kind of price that leaves money left over for other leisure activities.

Price: $459 at Amazon

Engadget's back to school guide Televisions

Toshiba 40E200U

This HDTV combines a slick design with 1080p resolution, MP3 & JPEG playback, 4 HDMI jacks and a surprising level of PQ tweaks in a value priced package.

Price: $589 at Amazon

Money's no object


Engadget's back to school guide Televisions

Don't have a rich relative funding your education? You'll feel like you do watching VIZIO's latest LED-backlit HDTV, complete with WiFi, Bluetooth and integrated apps that bring Netflix, Amazon and more directly to the screen, and with 5 HDMI inputs, you can plug in as many extra set-top boxes as you'd like -- all for less than a grand.

Key specs: 42-inch, 1080p, LED backlit (128 zones), VIZIO Internet Apps, WiFi N

Price: $998 from Sam's Club

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Engadget's back to school guide Televisions

LG 46LD550

LG brings its own spin on a widget HDTV, which drops integrated WiFi, but keeps a focus on picture quality (ISF calibration ready) and can stream Blu-ray quality movies from VUDU.

Price: $999 at Amazon or Best Buy

Engadget's back to school guide Televisions

Panasonic TC-P50G20

If you're doing the long distance relationship then you'll enjoy Panasonic's integrated Skype app, plus the deep black levels of this plasma HDTV.

Price: $1,099 at Best Buy

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