If we’re all going to be stuck in our homes watching TV for the foreseeable future, then 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 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 TV 2021
Shiny and new for 2020, the LG CX is among the latest OLED models to launch. And it’s very reasonably priced for an OLED TV, too.
The smaller 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.
LG’s magic remote
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.
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!
Personalised to you
The 2020 Frame TV brings some updates with it, including a new AI-based auto-curation feature that draws suggested artwork from the Frame’s Art Store (£3.99pm subscription) based on your tastes.
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.
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. It let itself down slightly with its design, as reviewers complained that the stand lifted the set too high off its surface, but it's still a super-choice for anyone on a budget.
Tizen Smart TV
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 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 complained about the bulkiness of the stand, it can easily be wall-mounted if you’re short on space.
The Panasonic HX800 TV for 2020 isn’t so different from the 2019 model, but for those looking for a great-quality television with a mid-range budget, it offers pretty much everything you’d want. Impressive universal HDR support, brilliant Dolby Atmos sound and a compact 40-inch screen size, it’s an easy recommendation.
Those with a healthy Netflix habit will benefit greatly from streaming 4K content (which is also available on many other services and channels) on the 4K HDR screen, but be warned that the My Home Screen 5.0 smart TV platform doesn’t yet include the Disney+ app so, if you’re keen on all the Star Wars and Marvel content coming out, it might not be for you.
While most TVs will do an okay job when it comes to console gaming, enthusiasts will want a set with a low input lag. The Panasonic HX800 boasts 10.2ms, so it’s a good choice for anyone with gamers in the house.
We are rather fond of the Ambilight televisions, and the PUS7805/12 is no exception. The Philips screen packs in a host of fab tech that will make how you watch and navigate through your favourite shows virtually effortless, and the Ambilight itself adds that extra cherry on top of your movie night.
This TV oozes picture quality, filling your living room with mood-setting colour as it projects around the TV screen. With 4K UHD and HDR10+ you can enjoy those sharp images, but be aware that you’ll want to position the set central to the room if you want the best viewing experience.
Built-in voice control
Integrated Alexa means you can control your Smart TV with just your voice and, if you don’t want the Ambilight feature, you can simply turn it off!
This 43-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.
How to buy the best 40 inch TV
Our recommended retailers for the best 40 inch TVs
When it comes to buying the best 40 inch TV, there are a few factors worth considering to ensure you get the most for your money. There include:
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.
What is the best 40 inch TV?
To recap, if you want the best 40 inch TV, then we’d wholeheartedly recommend the LG OLED48CX. It’s one of the smallest OLED televisions on the market, and it’s packed to the brim with quality tech that’s unrivalled for the price.
Coming in at a close second is the Samsung The Frame Art Mode TV, which would be the smarter choice for anyone who hates having to incorporate a television into their gallery wall or minimalist design tastes.
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