Trust me, there aren't many dads out there who wouldn't flip out if they got an HDTV for a Father's Day present instead of a collection of bad shirts, ties, and cologne. If your budget matches your pappy's big screen dreams (even if you are the pappy in question), here are five great sets for five different types of paternal viewers.
If you want a great plasma set at a moderate price, one from the PG series will cover most of the bases. You get the superior black levels you'd expect from a Panasonic (with a claim that they won't slowly fade over time as with previous models) and great color accuracy and saturation along with it. You also get THX mode for a sharp picture without a lot of manual tweaking. Sizes range from 42 to 54 inches, so there's a perfect size for the deserving poppa's living room.
Maybe your dad believes the long-standing (and mostly inaccurate) myths about plasmas, or maybe he'd like a more energy-conscious alternative. Then a LED-backlit LCD TV is your best bet, and you could do worse (much worse) than these latest LG sets. That's because they can nearly match the best plasmas for black levels and color reproduction, while sporting super-sexy panel design that's a mere 1.4-inches thick. They may be pricey, but the 47-inch and 55-inch Infinias are worthy competitors to Samsung and Sony's LED best.
If the father in question needs to experience the best Internet experience on his set, Vizio is the current leader with its 2XVT series. Unlike many "connected" sets, these TVs come with built-in Wi-Fi, which means you don't need to have a nearby Ethernet port -- or tear up a wall to put one in close by. The apps on Vizio's platform, including Netflix and Rhapsody, benefit from a superior interface, and you even get a Bluetooth-enabled remote with slide-out keyboard for tweets and Facebook chatting. These LED-backlight displays don't deliver as good a picture as the LGs, but your dad may be typing too much to care.
He saw Avatar and now he needs that 3D experience at home, whether there's anything in 3D to watch or not. While manufacturers are announcing new 3D sets seemingly every week, some of the first on the market are seen as the best. In addition to having all of the positives of Panasonic's two-dimensional plasmas -- awesome black-level performance, THX certification, and so forth -- the TC-PVT20/25 models come with a pair of active-shutter 3D glasses and deliver excellent picture quality in all three dimensions, which should come in handy as more compatible programming and Blu-ray discs emerge. If your dad already has a 3D set, he could always use another pair of glasses so others can join in the fun.
The company may not have the same cachet with younger folks, but for men of a certain age, Sony represents the pinnacle of style and quality. Such a dad, or grandfather, can still believe in Sony when he sets eyes on the Bravia NX800 series of LED-backlit LCD HDTVs. That's because their design is simply sexy, down to the comfy remote, while bringing cutting-edge features like built-in Wi-Fi for its Bravia Internet Widgets like Netflix and Amazon Video On Demand. It may not provide the best image quality on the market, but it is a Sony -- and that may be saying a lot to certain fathers.