Updated January 29, 2020 by Christopher Thomas

The 9 Best 40 Inch LED Televisions

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Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive

This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in March of 2015. For the vast majority of rooms in your house, especially bedrooms, a 40-inch LED television (or just above) is the perfect size. It won't take up an inordinate amount of space, but you also won't need to sit right on top of it to enjoy your viewing experience. Our selection features the cream of the crop from among this TV size class, with both 1080 HD and 4K resolutions available. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best 40 inch led television on Amazon.

9. TCL S325

8. The Frame by Samsung

7. TCL S425

6. Sony X800G

5. LG UM7300

4. Samsung Q60R

3. Samsung RU7100

2. TCL S525

1. Vizio M437-G0

Editor's Notes

January 24, 2020:

While they're nowhere near as impressive as today's largest displays, 40-inch TVs are still pretty big, and you can sit relatively close to one without being able to make out individual pixels. For this reason, they're often pretty good alternatives to PC monitors, although you won't be able to take advantage of full 4:4:4 chroma at 4K resolutions while also displaying HDR content -- but that just means they're not very future-proof, because that limitation is based on the bandwidth ceiling of HDMI 2.0b. In truth, the biggest drawback of the 40-inch class is that because they're not incredibly popular or very expensive, there aren't as many high-end models around, you'll miss out on things like high-quality HDR processing and OLED technology. On the plus side, though, they're considerably more affordable than larger models.

Now that we've just said that, the Vizio M437-G0 is one of the rare ones that actually goes against the general convention of these low-cost TVs. It features premium specifications and great contrast levels, using the same quantum dot filtration found in the Samsung Q60R, which is an excellent TV in its own right. Speaking of the smartphone giant, the Samsung RU7100 is a mid-range option that, while a bit short of high-end features, delivers a very good picture that most users will be quite happy with. The same can be said of the LG UM7300, and in fact, some users prefer its webOS interface to Samsung and even the TCL-adapted Roku. But not everyone feels that way, so if you're looking for a user-friendly streaming experience, you should definitely check out the TCL S525, which costs below $300 and offers perfectly good image quality.

If you're okay with dropping a bunch of cash, check out the Sony X800G, which looks simply great but is still pretty expensive when compared to the performance of most others. And if you have plenty of money to burn, The Frame by Samsung should be on your radar; it's one of the most aesthetically pleasing TVs ever released, but it's also one of the most expensive in terms of dollars to square inches.

LED TVs Are All In How You Look At Them

The light comes from the LEDs shining at brightness levels determined by the data of the incoming picture and by the flexibility of a given TV's diodes.

I remember the first big screen TV I ever encountered. It belonged to my uncle in the days when big screen TVs took up half the room like computers in the 1950s. What I remember most about it was that it had an atrocious viewing angle, meaning that if you tried to watch it from too far to either side of the room it suddenly looked like there was a grey bed sheet between you and the picture.

Modern LED televisions, on the other hand, have tremendous viewing angles, mainly because it's no longer a matter of projecting light from a single source against a much larger piece of glass or other intermediary. Instead, modern LED TVs project light locally, right below the surface of the screen.

Before we get into that, though, we need to tackle something about the term LED. LED TVs are actually Liquid Crystal Display (or LCD) TVs that are either backlit or edge-lit by Light Emitting Diodes. The light comes from the LEDs shining at brightness levels determined by the data of the incoming picture and by the flexibility of a given TV's diodes. That light pumps through the color LCD screen to give you your image.

The only break from this more or less standard design schematic is the curved LED TV. You see, light travels in straight lines (most of the time), but our eyes receive light along their natural curve. There's then some physical interpretation in the eye, and a lot more going on in the brain to flatten out our image of the world.

A curved television, viewed from a proper distance, sends its light information toward your eye at angles complementary to its shape. Some viewers claim that this improves the image, while others can't see a difference. What is undeniable, though, is that it does mildly cut down on the strain that all that data correction puts out your eyes and your brain, so you'll experience less fatigue while binging through six seasons of your new favorite show.

A Few Things Left To Consider

You've narrowed down your television search to the 40-inch class, so you've probably got a handle on the concept of viewing distance, as well as the fact that inch classification is just a classification and not an exact measurement. At this point, it may seem like the differences among your options is menial at best. But there are still a few specific things that could make your choice a heroic one or a tragic one.

At this point, it may seem like the differences among your options is menial at best.

Let's start out by discussing inputs. Unless you want to spend the extra money and space on an HDMI splitter, you'll want to make sure that the TV you're thinking about has enough inputs to support all of your devices. That's a cable box, a streaming box, a gaming system, a DVD player, and more. If you've only got two or three HDMI inputs, you're liable to get frustrated rather quickly.

There's also the big debate between 1080HD and 4K, but that debate will rage on for only another year or two at most. 4K is coming, and 1080HD will go the way of 720HD. What's 720, you ask? Exactly.

Finally, there's our good friend the refresh rate. If you've ever noticed strange artifacts or inexplicable motion blur in your digital content that suddenly seem to disappear and then reappear a few seconds later in new and annoying ways, you likely need a TV with a greater refresh rate. The problem is, refresh rate hasn't a standardized measurement. Sure, they're all listed with a reference to hertz, but any time you see a refresh rate with a fancy name like Motionflow or a modifier like "effective," know that the number is inflated, usually by about 100%.

The Television By Any Other Name

The boob tube. The idiot box. The brain drain. The decline of Western civilization. Whatever you call the TV today, it has endured an enormous amount of criticism through the ages, not just for the content it presented, but for its effect on the humans watching it.

For now, display resolution seems to be increasing at a faster rate than the screen technology itself, with promises of flexible, paper-thin screens on the distant horizon.

Sometimes, when I was a teenager, I'd walk the streets of my home town, gathering my thoughts about life and love. It was great, free therapy. Every once and a while, I'd walk by someone's house and see through large and open windows a slack, thoughtless face illuminated only by the glow of the television. There was a vacancy to their eyes that always scared me, though not enough to stop watching TV myself.

When the first TVs came out, they were a ridiculous luxury item, and there was very little programming to enjoy. It wasn't until the 60s that the units became much more popular in the average person's home, and that popularity peaked in coincidence with the airing of footage from the Vietnam war in ways that would forever change both our perception of battle and the press's coverage of it.

The vacuum tube technology of these older TVs stuck around well into the 1990s, when advancements in LED technology brought about the thinner flat screen TVs that seem now like they've always been with us.

For now, display resolution seems to be increasing at a faster rate than the screen technology itself, with promises of flexible, paper-thin screens on the distant horizon.

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Christopher Thomas
Last updated on January 29, 2020 by Christopher Thomas

Building PCs, remodeling, and cooking since he was young, quasi-renowned trumpeter Christopher Thomas traveled the USA performing at and organizing shows from an early age. His work experiences led him to open a catering company, eventually becoming a sous chef in several fine LA restaurants. He enjoys all sorts of barely necessary gadgets, specialty computing, cutting-edge video games, and modern social policy. He has given talks on debunking pseudoscience, the Dunning-Kruger effect, culinary technique, and traveling. After two decades of product and market research, Chris has a keen sense of what people want to know and how to explain it clearly. He delights in parsing complex subjects for anyone who will listen -- because teaching is the best way to ensure that you understand things yourself.

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