What you'll need to know about who makes your next TV
In this section we'll look at various TV manufacturers and cover some of the popular models from their lines. The older manufacturers like Sony, Hitachi and Samsung are Japanese companies whose very names imply the history of visual technologies. In North America, the RCA Victor Company created the first TV ever to be demonstrated to the public at the 1939 World's Fair. The first CRT TVs wouldn't look so alien to people in this day and age; the basic technology behind the picture tube remains the same. It's only been in the last several decades that we've received more options, display types and technologies that produce a picture. But the CRT remains one of the most popular types and is still in more homes today than any other.
Sony remains one of the most widely recognized TVs for presenting high end quality at reasonable prices. The Sony Trinitron gained legendary status by refusing to fail after many years of use in living rooms across America; possibly presenting the finest picture quality seen in CRT. Another manufacturer less known for its reliability and high end quality is Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi is that venerable Japanese company that has been part of the Japanese industrial machine since before the Second World War. Mitsubishi CRT TVs have had an amazing run due to the high quality phosphors that capture deep, rich colors. Today both Sony and Mitsubishi make a variety of TVs that use every available technology in display.
Hitachi and Samsung are two companies that have really come into their own in recent years. Hitachi is a very reliable set and makes some very high end LCD projector displays. Samsung has done amazing things with Texas Instruments DLP processors that match their own rear projector technologies. Sharp has formerly been a budget TV for decades. But their heavy investment in research and development in LCD technology has paid off. You cannot find a finer LCD display than those with the Sharp name on the front.
RCA today is generally a budget model. Sometimes they try things like adding a built-in DVD player to an HDTV- this is exactly the type of feature you should avoid. Unless you're getting one of their premium sets for a little extra money, RCA is probably going to show you the least favorable picture quality in comparison to the other major manufacturers. There are probably better names you can look at if you spent a little more.
RCA still works the budget line and there are worse budget sets you can buy. Apex is lower than budget- they're just a broker for tech-toy manufacturing. Getting them made as cheaply as possible is Apex's primary goal and it shows in both quality and customer support. Avoid Apex, it's better to read a book than to watch a TV by any brand in this extremely low budget tier.