Contrary to popular belief, the best time to buy electronics in general is not just before the Christmas period but during the whole of December when retailers are nervously desperate to end the year in fanfare.
And amongst the various gadgets that have caught our eyes are large screen televisions, more specifically, Plasma screens bigger than the normal 42-inch. The current sweet spot lies at 50-inch or 127cm in metric units where you can get even a brand new, full HD model for under £600 including delivery, with plenty of stock around.
And you will be surprised to find out that some well known retailers are actually charging a few hundred pounds extra on some of these sets, so it does pay to shop around.
1. Samsung 50PQ3000
You can get this popular Plasma television for a mere £604.90, a price that includes a whopping five year warranty. Sadly it is only available at this price instore at Richersounds and if you are lucky enough to have one near you then, you can always check here for more details.
Apart from being a 50-incher, The 50PQ3000 comes with a new 600Hz sub-field driving technology which apparently makes fast action footage like sporting events, look much better.
It comes with a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, a brightness of up to 1500cd/m and a number of features that include LG's proprietary SRS TruSurround XT surround sound system and Clear Voice II.
On top of that, the 50PQ3000 carries three HDMI ports, two SCART sockets, a PC Input, a side mounted USB to connect any removable storage but sadly no SD card reader.
Alternatively, you can snap it from Bennetts for £583, a price that includes free delivery (enter 15AW0110 at check-out for £15 Off) but only one year warranty.
Eco-conscious customers may be happy to learn that the 50PQ3000 has the lowest rate power usage at 217w which is more than 75 percent less than another Samsung gas-guzzler, the PS50A750. Not only does this translate into lower CO2 emissions but also a significantly lower operational cost per year at around £70.
2. Samsung PS50B430P2
If you don't have a Richersounds nearby, then you can always go to Argos where you will be able to buy a Samsung PS50B430P2 50in HD Ready Digital Plasma TV for only £555.80 including delivery.
The same television is on sale at shopping channel QVC for a jaw dropping £854.95, nearly £300 more. This particular model seems to be an exclusive Argos version though.
As for most plasma televisions in this price range, this one comes with a screen resolution of 1366x768 pixels which makes it a HD ready panel. The Freeview-enabled PS50B430P2 also integrates Samsung's own DNIe+ image enhancement feature, a Dolby Digital Plus processor and the SRS TruSurround HD sound system.
Like the LG model, it has a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio and has a screen refresh rate of 100Hz but comes with only two HDMI and one SCART ports. Other connectors include a component video socket, a composite and optical one as well.
3. Samsung PS50B451B2WXXU
Yet another Samsung television on the list is this deal from Marshall Ward (who are part of the giant Shop Direct group), the PS50B451B2WXXU can be had for £484, a significant discount - more than £300 - from the price you'd be charged at Asda or Argos.
You will have to use the voucher code XX945 and you can pay in February 2011 by entering the code XX937 at checkout. This makes it by far the cheapest 50-inch screen on the market.
The PS50B451B2WXXU is part of older but still perfectly capable, Samsung Series 4 and includes the usual improvements from the Korean Chaebol including FilterBright, Dolby Digital Plus, a host of connections and 18-bit colours.
The rest of the configuration is pretty standard including a 1366x768 pixels resolution which makes it a HD ready set, all of which makes this model a superb purchase especially at this price.
4. Panasonic TX-P50X10B
Should you not mind buying a graded Plasma screen, then it is worth checking the Panasonic TX-P50X10B from the award winning Viera range.
This HD Ready Freeview Plasma set comes with the new Vreal4 image processing engine and a 100hz double scan which promises a smoother and sharper image altogether.
This television set can be purchased from electrical-deals for £575, around £70 cheaper than at Dixons. It packs a number of much sought after features including a SD card reader, VIERA Link - which allows the user to control other Panasonic-built devices like the Lumix range of cameras.
There's also Freeview tuner, a slew of inputs and sockets, V-Audio surround capabilities and Natural Vision Filter AR technology. Interestingly, Panasonic is the only non Korean present in our shortlist.
5. Samsung PS50A416
Another deal from Electrical Deals is this Samsung (yes, the fourth one in this listing), a PS50A416 HD ready plasma with Freeview which is on sale for £570, significantly less than the competition.
Like all Electrical-deals items, this one has been factory graded by the manufacturer's engineers, comes with a one year warranty and a 7-day "no quibble" returns policy. As for other Samsung monitors, expect this one to come with the usual set of features; Digital DNIe, Dynamic contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1, VGA, HDMI, SCART sockets and much more.
6. LG 50PS3000
Cheap LCD TV, like the aforementioned Electrical Deals, specialises in factory graded models and should be "technically perfect" and come with 12 months guarantee. It is selling the LG 50PS3000 for £590, a price that excludes delivery.
In all fairness, Dixons sells it for £649, which means that if you are not comfortable with factory grading, you can get it new for roughly £50 extra.
This 1080p model goes a notch higher than other LG screens here with a 600Hz sub-fields driving technology that should help reduce motion blur, a Dolby Digital compatible audio system and other image improving features like 24p Real Cinema mode.
Add in the Dual XD Engine, USB port and a host of other LG-only technology and the PS3000 looks well set to become a best seller.
7. Samsung PS50B530S
Last but not least, for £599 from Currys, the Samsung PS50B530S might fit the bill and is the only brand new one in the list to come with full HD 1080p resolution (that's 1920x1080 pixels); that's two million pixels spread across 127cm.
Like the other Samsung televisions listed here, this one comes with DNIe+ image enhancement feature, SRS TruSurround HD sound system and a Dolby Digital Plus processor. Also notable are the extra connections including DVI and VGA ports, an extra HDMI port, audio in.