The 7 Best 40 Inch LED Televisions

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This wiki has been updated 30 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.

1. Samsung Q60A

2. TCL S525

3. Samsung TU8000

Editor's Notes

March 30, 2021:

In truth, there aren't a ton of brand new TVs in the 40-inch class, as manufacturers tend to reserve their most advanced features for larger models. But that doesn't completely preclude small spaces from having good-looking TVs, as evidence by the Samsung Q60A. While it's not exactly cheap, its picture quality is essentially unrivaled by others its size. The Frame by Samsung preforms marginally better and is much sleeker, but costs notably more, and the Samsung TU8000 is a good choice for movie buffs on a budget.

Last year's TCL S525 remains one of the top mid-range options and punches far above its weight class as far as cost goes. If you want to save even more money, the TCL S435 is a passable solution, but performs notably less well than its more expensive relative. Finally, if daytime television like sitcoms and sports matches are your goal, the LG UN7300 is an excellent low-budget choice, although it's not going to deliver immersive, cinematic productions the way most others will.

Moving forward, LG announced at CES 2021 that they will be releasing a 42-inch OLED called the LG A1. When that's released, it will almost certainly be the best performing and most expensive TV in the size class.

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 relatively little 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 cost per square inch.

4. Sony X800H

5. LG UN7300

6. The Frame by Samsung

7. TCL S435

LED TVs Are All In How You Look At Them

Before we get into that, though, we need to tackle something about the term LED.

The earliest big-screen TVs were massive things that took up entire portions of the living room, evoking images of the first computers in the mid-20th century. Possibly the most memorable thing about them was their 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. A curved television, is ideal if you plan on gaming or watching movies by yourself, as the curvature helps minimize washout, distortion, and light bleed at the edges of the screen. However, unless you intend to use your TV as a PC monitor just a couple feet from your face, a 40-inch curved TV isn't going to be terribly effective.

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.

It's measured in hertz, but you'll see that a number of manufacturers use terms like TrueMotion or MotionFlow.

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. Luckily, most modern releases have at least three, and often four HDMI inputs.

In the 40-inch size class, you won't notice a massive upgrade from 1080p to 4K resolution, but the truth is that high-quality FHD TV sets are increasingly rare, and not even any less expensive than UHD models. So, you should generally avoid shelling out for a new 1080p TV.

Finally, there's our good friend the refresh rate, which refers to the number of times per second that each pixel produces a new output. It's measured in hertz, but you'll see that a number of manufacturers use terms like TrueMotion or MotionFlow. These odd terms are actually misleading, as instead of listing the actual rate at which the TV can accept and output a video signal, they are simply advertising their motion extrapolation feature, something that doesn't help (and can in fact hurt) many viewing modes. Ultimately, a higher refresh rate can mean a smoother picture, but you will rarely encounter anything other than 60-hertz refresh rates in the 40-inch class, so it's easy to see through the misleading marketing terms.

The Television By Any Other Name

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.

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 horizon.

Christopher Thomas
Last updated 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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