Testers size up hundreds of TVs every year to find ones to recommend. One test is for motion blur test. It is designed to expose how well a TV can reproduce fast movement, such as you might find in sports or action movies. Some LCDs tend to have trouble. But plasma televisions don't have a problem with motion blur.
Then there's the black level test. Better performing sets have a nice deep black level that will give a nice dynamic contrast in bright scenes as well as dark scenes. Whereas worse performing sets have a brighter level that doesn't give you that deep contrast, so images will look flatter, especially in dark scenes.
Testers also evaluate how well each television displays color. A device takes a color temperature measurement from a solid grey screen to see how balanced the tones are.
Consumer Reports found plenty of high-priced sets that came in lower in the ratings than less-expensive ones. But testers did find several TVs to recommend, including the 55-inch plasma Panasonic Viera TC-P55ST50 for $1,200. It has an excellent picture and nice extras such as 3D and Internet access.
If you want to spend less, Consumer Reports recommends a 60-inch LG for $900. It's model 60PA6500. Though it lacks some bells and whistles, such as online access and 3D, it has an excellent picture at a great price.