Still going strong as we plunge headlong into the summer of 2014, the 32-inch TV is one of the most popular consumer electronics products in the UK.
It was always the most popular TV size by far, mainly because many British living rooms can't physically take a TV much bigger than 32-inches in size. But in recent years as living rooms graduate to bigger sizes, 32-inches has become the de facto size option for a 'big' bedroom or secondary TV.
Within the 32-inch TV division there's plenty of choice, too. A basic HD-ready 32-inch TV can be found for well under £300 if you search hard, though it's just as easy to spend over £1,500.
Best TV 2014
All the buying advice you need to choose a new HD TV in the modern era!
But there is one certainty at this size - your new TV will be an LCD TV.
If you're lucky it could have LED backlighting, but it won't be a plasma; LG used to make plasmas at this size, but there's not one on sale these days.
A typical £500 purchase will sport a Full HD screen, have at least three HDMI inputs, and some kind of 100Hz scanning, though the latter feature varies so much in effectiveness that you've simply got to see it in action in the shop before you shell out any extra cash.
Full HD, media streaming and even built-in Freesat HD or Freeview HD - it's all possible on these small TVs.
So what's the best 32-inch LCD TV for you? Read on to find out...
Lots of cool features possibly compromised by under-powered hardware
On paper the TX-32AS600 is perfect for the modern living room or bedroom. Freeview HD is a given, but on this 32-inch Full HD TV it's complemented by Freesat's Freetime catch-up TV service. Offering the BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport, BBC News, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand Five apps, Freetime is a revelation, but here it lacks the processing power to make it truly usable. Netflix is present and works great, and Swipe & Share two-way file-swapping is the highlight on this surprisingly file-savvy set. However, some motion blur, a general lack of Full HD sharpness and some rather poor contrast performance, as well as a lack of processing power, mark this down as an over-ambitious TV that's bitten off more than it can chew.
A great value 2014 TV ideal as a second screen
NEW! The 32A400 makes a good value second TV. It lacks the ultimate in Full HD detail needed to drag the most from Blu-ray discs due to its use of a (now relatively rare) HD-ready panel, but its Freeview HD channel and compatibility with a host of digital music, video and photo files via USB make it surprisingly versatile. Two problems that dog all Full HD TVs of this price are terrible-looking standard definition channels and motion blur. However, it's the 32A400's main presumed weakness – its HD-ready panel – that actually helps play down those issues to the extent that there are few TVs around with pictures as all-round clean and well-contrasted as on the 32A400. Add a 7mm screen surround and you've got a great value and thoroughly modern TV that will suit anyone not concerned with smart TV apps or 3D.
An excellent high performance, if expensive, 32-inch option
NEW! The UE32H6200 is a rare thing these days: a small-screen (32-inch) TV that wants to inject some real quality into your AV life rather than following the lead of most of its peers and just focussing on saving you money. Among its many charms are a quad-core processing engine driving a startlingly feature and content-rich smart TV engine, complete with all the key UK broadcaster catch-up TV platforms and a sophisticated learning/recommendations system. The heavy duty processing also benefits the UE32H6200's pictures, helping them deliver excellent sharpness, colour resolution and contrast for the small-screen market. Some aspects of the UE32H6200's operating system are a little inscrutable and the set is, perhaps inevitably, quite expensive by the 32-inch TV market generally. But if you're flush enough to put quality first even on a small-screen TV, the UE32H6200 is a great option.
Read: Samsung UE32H6200 review
Impressive HD-ready LED telly with smart TV apps and Freeview HD
NEW! It doesn't offer perfect pictures and nor does it have all the apps you ever dreamed of, but the TX-32AS500 has enough of both to make it a strong candidate for second rooms in HD homes. Colour and contrast, in particular, are a delight, though it's the TX-32AS500's My Home Screen smart TV interface that will attract many. For the first time ever a smart TV's web browser impresses, with web bookmarks allowed on the My Home Screen's info screen, and text entry possible via the excellent Remote 2 app. Standard definition TV channels and DVDs look soft and noisy, and there's little in the way of upscaling or noise reduction to help. That will trouble anyone who regularly watches minority TV channels on Freeview. Audio, too, is a low point. It's not perfect, then, but there's no arguing about the TX-32AS500's status as a good value option for HD fanatics.
Solid features and a bargain price make this one to watch
With Full HD, Freeview HD and those four HDMIs on offer, the Finlux 32F8030-T is terrific value, though just as important are its naturally coloured, contrast-heavy and richly detailed pictures that don't suffer from the kinds of problems we'd expected to see.
There is, however, a slight issue with judder that won't go away, and the lack of dual-core processing makes smart TV a box-ticking exercise rather than an unbridled joy to use. That's being harsh, though, because the user interface is mature and easy to use, and by adding the likes of Netflix,Now TV and Lovefilm to its smart TV interface, Finlux could have a hit on its hands.
OK, so the Finlux 32F8030-T has a poor EPG and the audio is terrible, but that's pretty normal even on big brand's 32-inch TVs; we're all going to have to think wisely in future about spending a penny over £300 on a smart TV of this size.
Read: Finlux 32F8030-T review
Carries a built-in DVD player despite its exceptionally low price.
Despite being the cheapest 32-inch TV in our hot 10, the 32D1333 has a pleasant surprise tucked away down its side: a built-in DVD player. This means it isn't as slender as most of Toshiba's other TVs, but it's still reasonably easy on the eye. It also surprisingly offers multimedia playback via either DVD discs or USB devices - though there's no PC or Internet connectivity. Nor is there a Freeview HD tuner, sadly.
However, aside from a bit of motion blur and a slight general lack of fine detail it performs comfortably well enough for such an exceptionally cheap combi TV.
Read: Toshiba 32DL933B review
Another impressive second room TV from Tosh
At a time when we're obsessing about Ultra HD TVs, curved TVs and all manner of fancy new smart TV technologies, there's something reassuringly 'mainstream' about the 32D3454DB.
It's clearly been created with laser-like precision to target a specific, relatively undemanding 'second room' market, focussing on utility features like DLNA streaming, its built-in DVD player, built-in Wi-Fi and a few online video streaming services.
It partners these extremely useful second-room features, moreover, with an aggressive price for a product from a household name brand, and while neither its pictures nor its sound are in any way exceptional they get the job done adequately for such a cheap TV.
Read: Toshiba 32D3454DB review
A minimal-frills but effective budget option
Despite being widely available for less than £350, the L32X5B boasts a Freeview HD tuner and is capable of playing back of a good selection of video, photo and music files via both USB device or SD card.
it also boasts an IPS Alpha panel that can be watched from a wider angle than most LCD TVs without losing contrast, and its pictures are overall much more watchable than those of most similarly cheap 32in TVs.
There are inevitably compromises, such as a 1366x768 native resolution rather than a full HD one, a little motion blurring and some rather 'hollow'-looking dark scenes. But L32X50 is still by any stretch of the imagination a bargain.
Few features, but exceptional pictures for its price
The UE32EH5000 32-inch TV is unusual by budget TV standards in that it sacrifices features to focus on delivering better picture quality. So while you do get a Freeview HD tuner and multimedia playback from USB sticks, you only get two HDMIs; you don't get 3D; you don't get Smart TV online features; and you don't get network streaming from DLNA PCs.
Nor do you get one of Samsung's famed skinny designs. In fact, the UE32EH5000 is one of the fattest TVs we've seen.
Its picture quality really is excellent for a sub-£400 32-inch TV, though, delivering better contrast, colour, sharpness and motion handling than you've any right to expect for so little money.
A solid mid-ranger with step-up 2D pictures but no 3D
The L32E5 32-inch TV slots between the L32X5 and L32ET5, offering mid-level motion processing, multimedia playback from two USBs (versus the one and three of the L32X5 and L32ET5 respectively), and access to Panasonic's Viera Connect online service. It also supports streaming from DLNA PCs unlike the cheaper L32X5, though it doesn't carry Wi-Fi.
Picture quality is good. Colours are bold, and HD sources look sharp and detailed. Motion is a big improvement over the L32X5 too, and the set's rich colours and high brightness create at least the impression of a strong contrast performance.
There's some backlight inconsistency during dark scenes, but overall the L32E5 comfortably outperforms its price point.
Panasonic turns to passive 3D with impressive results
The L32ET5 32-inch TV gets off to a great start by sporting an unusual and attractive smoky grey colour and glass-like finish. It's also richly featured, including among its attractions passive 3D playback, a Freeview HD tuner, multimedia playback from USB or a networked PC, and access to Panasonic's Viera Connect online platform, with its solid selection of video, game and infotainment apps.
In many ways the L32ET5's pictures are good too. Its passive 3D pictures are clean, bright and untiring, while its 2D pictures are punchy, sharp and colour-rich.
Dark scenes reveal a lack of contrast, but this is only a big problem for serious film fans.
The ultimate trickle-down TV?
As versatile a TV as we've seen, Toshiba's diminutive 32RL958 is one of the best value 32-inch televisions around. Freeview HD channels are handled exquisitely, with the relatively small Edge LED-backlit LCD panel offering clean standard definition and HD images that have plenty of detail.
It's also great to see Wi-Fi and some semblance of smart TV apps - including BBC iPlayer and YouTube - on a TV of this low price. It won't do much of a job in a home cinema, where its size and lack of black level and contrast will soon become apparent, but as a living room TV there are few better options for such little spend.
Read: Toshiba 32RL958 review
Impressive mid-range performer with expansive multimedia features
Although not as outstanding as Sony's brilliant HX853 models, the step-down 32HX753 32-inch TV is still a fine 32in option.
For starters it's very well featured, with a Freeview HD tuner, Sony's excellent new video-rich SEN online service, streaming from DLNA PCs and Macs, and even active 3D playback (though you don't get any free glasses).
Its pictures, meanwhile, look sharp and richly coloured, and handle motion well. The set also does excellently with 3D, largely ducking the dreaded crosstalk problem.
The only catch is that pictures aren't very bright after they've been calibrated to produce a good black colour. But provided you're not looking for a TV for a kitchen or conservatory, it should do you just fine.
Read: Sony KDL-32HX753 review
Slim, fast and fat with features, this is a great connected TV
A fast-working, dependable and great-looking Edge LED TV with a smart TV user interface as impressive as any we've seen, the Panasonic TX-L32E6B is one of the smartest choices for a bedroom or second room that's currently around.
Picture quality isn't quite as impressive as on bigger iterations, such as the Panasonic TX-L42E6B, but it's mighty fine nonetheless, handling all sources with enough care. The icing on the cake is the free Viera Remote 2 app for smartphones and tablets, and in particular its Swipe & Share 2.0 feature that trade files back-and-forth between mobile devices and the TV. Now that's pretty advanced for a bedroom TV.