Very good picture that’s easy to adjust. Many owners rave about its built-in sound quality. Thin bezel, and lightweight unit overall. Little to no lag using apps. Included smart remote is a big plus.
Owners miss having a swivel on the base. A few reports of TV not working out of the box, or of firmware not working correctly. Issues with picture lag when gaming. Only 1 HDR-rated HDMI port.
Owners like the large, bright display, as well as its multiple inputs for HDMI and Ethernet, and wireless capability. Relatively lightweight. Built-in speaker sound is better than anticipated for many users.
Some owners aren’t impressed with the available bundled apps. Others find that apps like Netflix load very slowly. Wi-Fi connection can be spotty. Switching between inputs requires extra button-pushing.
Clear picture, owners note, and its 4 HDMI ports are a big plus. Audio outputs to auxiliary speakers work well. Gaming consoles interface well with this TV. Users like the 20-degree swivel of the TV base.
The two-step input switching process is annoying to most owners. Some aren’t impressed with the screen sharpness. Colors wash out in HD format, some report. Sound from the built-in 10-watt speakers is barely adequate.
Excellent LED display. WiFi is built in. Home screen can be personalized to suit your preferences. ENERGY STAR compliant.
Some owners say setup is difficult and the remote can be trying until you figure it out.
Good picture quality, once calibrated, and HD quality is good. Sound is adequate for most owners, with preselects available to improve its quality. Fairly lightweight.
Some reports of TV not working out of the box. Numerous reported issues with picture problems. Smart TV apps work very slowly and crash frequently. Changing channels “takes forever,” owners report. A few reports of dead pixels. Base legs seem flimsy.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
A 40-inch television is a great centerpiece for a living room or home theater without taking over a large wall. With a medium-to-large screen size, the screen space on the television is good enough to create a large image without sacrificing the resolution or quality. Even though 40-inch televisions have the same size, however, they aren’t all the same.
To find the right 40-inch television, you need to think about specifications like screen resolution, refresh rate, panel type, etc. These specs are the best way to compare different television options. Key features like voice control and internet connectivity can also make a difference in the overall viewing experience.
To help you with your search, we have created this guide that’s filled with important information and considerations you need to know. Our top recommendations will also give you a good starting point to see what is available in the 40-inch television market.
LED or OLED
Television screen technology has come a long way since the days of vacuum tubes. These days, most 40-inch televisions fall into one of two screen categories: LED and OLED. Both terms refer to the pixels a TV uses to create the colors that form the images on the screen. Much like plasma and LCD screens, these two technologies use thousands of little colored lights to create the image.
LED TVs are a more basic type of TV screen. Light shines through a crystal panel, meaning the TV has a backlight to produce the illumination required to see the picture. Compared to OLED TVs, LED technology is less expensive but has some limitations in terms of color creation and image contrast.
OLED TVs are more expensive but have some distinct advantages over LED technology. Each pixel on an OLED display emits its own light, eliminating the need for a backlight and decreasing the thickness of the TV. Since individual pixels can turn on and off, OLED TVs are also better at creating true dark colors for better image contrast.
Beyond the screen panel technology, one major factor to any TV is the image quality it can produce. Image quality will influence how crisp and detailed the screen looks. A higher quality is usually preferable, but the gains can come with a higher price tag depending on the resolution and refresh rate of the screen.
A screen's resolution is a simple measurement of the number of pixels it has to create the details of an image. More pixels equal finer details, especially when you view a TV up close. In the 40-inch range, most TVs have at least a true HD resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.
Televisions with 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) have become more popular and affordable since they quadruple the number of pixels the television has available. In most cases, this amount is enough for a great viewing experience.
The refresh rate is another important specification on televisions if you want a smooth-looking image. This measures how quickly the screen can refresh the image and is usually expressed in hertz (Hz). Lower refresh rates can struggle with faster movements like action sequences. A refresh rate of 120 Hz or higher, however, should be more than enough to offer a smooth view.
While external sound systems are a popular preference with many home viewers, you shouldn't ignore the quality of a television's sound. The built-in speakers can help supplement a larger sound system or drive the audio by themselves. Either way, the sound quality is just as important as the image itself.
All televisions come with some built-in speakers around the sides or front of the screen. While these aren't as good in quality as dedicated speakers, some televisions do have higher-end speakers. Beyond speaker quality, the number of speakers is also important. Having several speakers spaced around different edges or corners of the television will create a fuller sonic experience to complement the image.
If you want to buy a sound upgrade and acoustic accessories, the quality of the built-in speakers is less important. It's easy to find a good soundbar, main speakers, and subwoofers to create a surround-sound setup that rivals many home theaters.
Product in depth
VIZIO D-Series 40" Class (39.5" Diag.) 1080p 120Hz Full Array LED Smart HDTV (D40-D1)
High-end HD TV
This Vizio television does a good job of offering high-end features without venturing into the 4K territory and costs of more advanced models. Despite its HD resolution limit, the TV offers many of the same connectivity features that allow other televisions to stream high-quality content through a home network connection.
The days of plugging in a separate DVD player (or VCR) and cable box are long gone if you want. Many 40-inch TVs come with smart features that hook up to the internet for streaming videos, surfing the web, watching YouTube, and more, without any extra equipment required.
Television connectivity requires a consistent internet connection from a wireless network or dedicated cord. Each television manufacturer offers its own smart feature setup that differs from competitors in terms of the menu layout, streaming services, available movies, etc. Some smart features also work with other devices like a cable box or gaming console to simplify the control over the entire setup.
Higher-end televisions are also coming out with convenience features that can eliminate the remote control entirely. Some manufacturers include their own voice control designed to work with the settings and features of the television. Others are compatible with popular voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home to achieve the same effect.
No television is complete without a few accessories to expand your setup and viewing experience. Beyond extra media accessories like speakers and streaming devices, there are a few more basic options to consider depending on how you want to set up the television in your home space.
A mount, for example, is one type of accessory that can actually free up space in the room you watch TV in. Nearly all televisions come with a stand you can set up on any flat service, but a dedicated wall mount is a space-saving solution that doesn't require much money or installation outside of a few holes and screws. You will need to consider the TV's compatibility with different mounts to find the right one.
Adjustable wall mounts are the best solution for securing your television to the wall regardless of its size. These mounts have sliding support bars that screw directly into the mounting holes in the back of the television. Some mounts also have an adjustable bracket that pivots, changing the viewing angle for larger spaces or awkward corners.
A 40-inch screen size offers a good sweet spot between being too small and too large. It’s a good size for most rooms and even some apartment spaces.
Many 40-inch televisions are quite affordable compared to large-screen TVs several years ago. Prices vary depending on the screen technology/resolution and the feature set the television provides.
There are a few 40-inch television options under $150. With basic specs like an HD resolution limit, these models are good as a basic or secondary television setup but don’t expect too much for a high-quality viewing experience if you want a clear picture.
Between $150 and $500, the available televisions at this size increase in number. More manufacturers offer televisions in the range that include 4K resolution capabilities and some smart features. Most televisions use LED screens to keep costs down.
Above $500, you can find OLED TVs with better colors and image contrast. Certain models also include luxury specs/features like upgraded built-in speakers, voice control, and access to numerous streaming services.
Consider purchasing an energy-friendly television if you watch TV often and want to keep costs low each month. OLED televisions are a good type to check out.
Some televisions come with a curved display. While the screen size is the same, the screen arc offers better viewing from different angles.
If you are looking for a basic or starter 40-inch television, the Spectre 40" TV is one to check out. While it doesn't win any awards in terms of screen resolution, its large size can present any HD channel, movie, game, or television show in crisp detail. The four HDMI ports on the back make the television a great option for expanding your media setup with gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, cable boxes, and more.
The range of 40-inch televisions is quite expansive in terms of resolution and features. This means it's easy to find something that either has the capabilities you want at a price you can afford. On the lower end, the Sansui TV LED Television is a good introductory model to consider if you are upgrading your TV setup or buying a second unit for another room. Higher up, the Samsung UN40NU7100FXZA Flat is one of the few sub-$500, non-OLED televisions that come with true 4K display capabilities and smart connectivity/control features.
Q. Do I really need a larger television screen?
A. You don’t need the largest screen you can afford, but the larger screen real estate does improve the viewing experience, especially from greater distances or larger spaces.
Q. Is 4K resolution a must have?
A. For the best viewing experience, yes. A true 4K television will display greater details that make the viewing experience immersive than an HD TV. With that said, HD televisions are still perfect for enjoying visual content.
Q. When is the best time to buy a new television?
A. If you want to save money, wait until major holidays. Special events like Black Friday, the weeks before the Super Bowl, and back to school (in the fall) offer the best deals, even on the latest televisions that came out at the start of the year.
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