Something that we've learned from being stuck in our homes watching TV for so long is that, if we can't go out as much as we want to, we should at least have the best viewing experience possible.
That’s just not the case for those still settling for their old or sub-par television, and if that frustration sounds familiar then it may be time to bite the bullet and invest in a brand new set.
For most of us the dream would be to get the largest screen possible to enjoy our next Netflix binge, but a 40 inch TV can be the perfect combination of function and appearance - not overwhelming your space but still capable of offering a theatre -worthy experience. Usually measuring in at between 40-43in, it’s a solid option if you want to upgrade.
The other features you need to consider will depend on your priorities. Image quality needs to be measured by colour intensity, the depths of blacks and whether your set has 4K resolution, among other things.
Then there’s design, with Samsung recently winning our vote with The Frame Art Print that literally fades into the rest of your décor. Scroll down to see what we thought.
And if you’re not totally sure about which size to go for, then check out our ranking of the best TVs for a guide on the best screen, size and features.
The best 40 inch TVs 2021
This smaller LG unit doesn’t compromise on picture display and quality, with the 4K UHD reproducing even sharper picture quality. This makes the LG TV perfect for movie nights with your family or even by yourself, and the Filmmaker Mode, Auto Genre Selection, Dolby Vision IQ, upgraded video processor and HDMI 2.1 help create the ultimate at-home viewing experience.
We also love the magic remote that comes with this set, for gesture controls and how well it fits into the modern smart home. In-built Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa makes it so you can simply ask your remote to do things without having to attach an Echo or Home hub.
The Serif and the Frame, which you'll find below, are going to offer very similar performance to both each other.
Representing the lower end of Samsung’s excellent QLED range, Samsung scores them very similarly on its PQI (Picture Quality Index) rating. The major differences instead are aesthetic and that’s really down to what you’re looking for in your home.
What you get with the Serif is a set designed to sit on tall, freestanding legs anywhere in a room, independent of any other furniture. The other approach is to balance it on its frame on any flat surface — such as a sideboard — without its legs.
The Serif looks great but you definitely pay for the privilege. It comes in a 43in size and features an Ambient mode to turn the panel into a series of attractive images instead of just a black rectangle and you can connect your phone to it using NFC by resting your device on its top edge.
A TV for true design enthusiasts, The Frame from Samsung hides your set in plain sight with its Art Mode displaying photos and artwork that fit in seamlessly with the rest of the room. Basically, it’s a smart picture frame that you can use as a 4K television whenever you want!
Another of The Frame’s key selling points is its no gap wall mounting, which basically means that the TV sits absolutely flush to your wall with only enough space for a tiny near-invisible cable to run discreetly down to the One Connect box.
This box is where you’ll plug in all of your other devices - like a set top box, Blu-ray player or external speakers - and can easily be tucked away in a cupboard.
This 49-inch TV perfectly combines excellent picture quality with on-demand content. From using your voice to search for films to scrolling through the onboard YouView catch-up service, you have access to a plethora of entertainment.
As with the other screens in our guide, this Sony TV offers four times the number of pixels as 1080p HD TVs and will even upscale content so it can be enjoyed in the best possible quality. Driving the display is Sony’s powerful X1 4K HDR Processor, which ensures a smooth transmission of life-like qualities. Couple this with the TRILUMINOS display and the result is vivid, realistic imagery.
All this impressive tech is packed behind a narrow bezel, which reviewers enjoyed the aesthetics of. And cable management will make sure there are no trailing wires around.
A great TV with a smaller price tag, the Samsung TU8000 benefits from its top image and sound quality that wouldn’t be out of place in a higher-end model. The 2021 model has rectified one of the biggest complaints about the set, adjusting the stand so that it doesn't lift the TV too far off its surface.
Samsung's Tizen platform has a great reputation for ease-of-use and navigation, and the TU8000 makes it super-easy to find your favourite content across services like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime and countless others.
The TV is also one of the lightest on our list, so it’s perfect if you want a set that can be moved around with ease. While some may still complain about the bulkiness of the stand, it can easily be wall-mounted if you’re short on space.
How can I get the best possible image quality?
Make sure whatever you choose has 4K resolution for the best possible resolution. Look out for 40-inch TVs which are HDR-compatible to get the best from dark and light areas of the image on your screen. If possible, those which support HDR10+ and/or Dolby Vision are also preferable to just HDR10.
OLED or LED?
Even though you’re not likely to find an OLED panel at this size, LCD TVs still come in enough different flavours to make it worth knowing what you’ve got on your wish list. Those that are edge-lit by LEDs can be much thinner and often more aesthetically pleasing, but their direct or back-lit LED counterparts can produce a more subtle and nuanced picture even if their frames aren’t quite as easy on the eye.
Does my TV need to be smart?
Anything you buy these days should be a Wi-Fi enabled smart TV with at least three HDMI sockets around the back. You should also be sure that your favourite streaming services are available on its app platform. Very few TVs cover all of the bases, but remember that you can always add an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast or NOW TV Smart Stick etc. to plug those missing gaps.
How much should I spend on a 40 inch TV?
Even though all of the televisions on our list are of a similar size, you’ll notice that the prices vary wildly. This could be for a number of reasons including image quality, extra features or even just the brand, so it’s important to ensure you’re getting all the features you want for the best price. In general, you probably won’t be able to go any cheaper than £400-ish, but our top-rated choice will set you back close to £1,500.
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