First of all: Is the tv maker who offers you the model or you have to get in touch with them and ask for a model to review?
Both. Most often we request a sample but they also give us the some hints as to when new TVs are coming in (a hint as in "this could be an interesting one"). But it is entirely up to us. If we don't want to look at a TV we just decline.
We have never had a TV manufacturer decline one of our review requests.
We are free to say whatever we want and that is extremely important to us. Even if we slam a product for whatever reason it has no implications on future review requests (if it had I would be the first to tell it on the front page as I think it is wrong for manufacturers to dictate the review process and select only media that they believe will give positive reviews).
Do you think the TV makers choose or 'prepare' the unit to be reviewed in order to get the best results?
For instance, users complain of clouding in LEDs or buzzing in PLASMAS but it's hard to find those issues in reviews.
We get of-the-line samples that are similar to those in store but I'm sure that manufacturers pick the ones without a major clouding problem for example. Nothing we can do about that but it just underlines that feedback from you readers are important to "create the full picture" of a product.
And for the last this year it seems (at least for me) you're receiving less TVs than in previous years.
Is that a personal decision or maybe TV makers are not offering you models?
Yes, a personal choice. I believe that the TV industry is in a coma and the innovation rate is extremely low. No major breakthroughs on picture quality. Instead TV manufacturers try to push their inferior Smart TV platforms. I also believe that there are too many products in the market. When you start to analyze the business angle of the market you will find that many TVs are based on the completely same chassis and each manufacturer only has very few different TVs. They just add or remove a few functions or change the design.
That is why there is no point in reviewing for example the Samsung’s 8 AND 7 series LED as they are identical. Some reviewers seem to have missed or ignore this point but personally I just don't want to run through everything again as it is very time consuming to do a review. So I'm trying to pick the most interesting models and make our users focus on the primary factors instead of supporting this trend towards 20-25 different TVs models each year - from each manufacturer. And we don’t want to review discount models or other TVs that disappear from the market shortly after a review.
I hope the TV industry will start innovating again soon. All research and innovation happens in the smartphone and tablet fields right now. Even the display innovation has shifted away from TV panels to mobile panels so they dictate the display innovation which is a shame. Hopefully it will change when the smartphone and tablet markets are more saturated and the Smart TV age (with real Smart TVs or smart media boxes, not like those Smart TVs on the market now) kicks in.