Price - £695 Inc VAT
We know not everyone 'gets' Philips TVs, chiefly on account of their relative complexity and love of heavy-duty processing, which means you have to commit more time and effort than usual into adjusting their settings.
But even though it’s startlingly cheap by Philips’ usual premium-level standards, the 42PFL7404 for us justifies the effort required to keep on top of its powerful video processing engine. For when it’s running at its best, it produces some of the most vibrant, accurate colours in the affordable LCD TV world - ideal for showing off all those different World Cup strips.
Its Pixel Precise HD system also helps its pictures look mesmerisingly sharp, and its motion processing ensures players appear with a fluidity and clarity that’s rare indeed in the LCD world. Don’t set the motion processing to too high a level, though, if you don’t want to suffer with obvious image artefacts.
Price - £744 Inc VAT
When we first reviewed it, Sony’s 40in 40EX503 was one of the only TVs around with a built-in Freeview HD tuner. This is significant for the World Cup because it allows people in areas able to receive Freeview HD broadcasts to watch all the World Cup games in HD without needing a satellite dish.
The set also employs 100Hz processing to increase - with a decent if not spectacular measure of success - the clarity of the ball and players as they go about their footie business.
Colours, meanwhile, make up for not being the most vibrant around by portraying subtle shades and skin tones with unusual accuracy and finesse. And last but by no means least, it delivers an outstanding black level response - a virtue of its dynamic contrast system, which ensures that bright elements are punchy and shadow details remain in predominantly dark scenes.
Panasonic Viera TX-P42S20 42in Plasma TV
Price - £750 Inc VAT (www.directtvs.co.uk)
The main appeal of the 42in P42S20 (the 50in version is reviewed in full here) is simply that it uses plasma rather than LCD technology. Why is this important? Because plasma technology suffers scarcely at all with the response time issues associated with LCD TVs, and so the P42S20 can show the players charging around the pitch - and the frequent fast camera pans - with much more clarity than the vast majority of LCD rivals.
The P42S20 further bolsters its World Cup credentials by carrying a Freeview HD tuner for receiving World Cup footie matches in HD through your aerial, as well as 600Hz sub-field drive processing, which does a good job of reducing plasma’s judder issues.
It also comes into its own during World Cup parties, since your mates can watch it from a much wider angle than LCD TVs before the picture starts to lose colour or contrast.