Four 40 - 42-inch LCD TVs Reviewed

LCD TV Fernseher

There are two driving forces behind the switch towards Full-HD. On the one hand we have the high-definition video discs Blu-ray and HD-DVD, on the other HD-compliant TV programmes. Unlike America, however, where the switch from the ancient NTSC standard (often derided as “Never The Same Colour”) to Full-HD is in full swing, Europe is still taking its time. At least the amount of HD content available via Satellite and TV cable is increasing. On the hardware front, so called HYBRID-blue that support both Blu-ray and HD-DVD disks may help ease the consumers’ indecision while the battle for HD video dominance is decided.

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Then again, it’s entirely possible that the switchover here in Europe goes a lot faster than expected once a critical mass is reached, with the PAL system quickly fading into memory. For this reason, Tom’s Hardware has taken a look at four current 40” and 42” TVs starting at £900 / €1250. The three 42” models offer Full-HD support at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Only Sony’s 40” unit is limited to the HD-Ready resolution of 1366 x 768.

Here are the TVs we’ll be reviewing in this article:

  • Toshiba 42X3030D
  • Sony KDL-40D3000
  • Acer AT4250
  • Samsung LE-40M86BD
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  • tedknowit
    Unless you use your TV for gaming (which is a bit odd anyway), plasma's have far outstripped LCD TV's technologywise in all areas, but especially in picture quality. This is especially true as Full HD 1080P plasma's are now the norm at 42" and over. The only possible downside is the cost, being a little bit moire than these LCDs reviewed here. The only reason you would not use a plasma for gaming - in principle it outshines LCD here too - just as it does for movies and TV etc - is the burn in issue, which probably will not be resolved 100% for some time.
    This reviewer needs to get with the program!
  • ChiLLed
    "Unless you use your TV for gaming (which is a bit odd anyway)"

    Is it really 'odd' to use a TV for gaming? I could have sworn everyone I know who has a console, has it plugged into a TV.... lol
  • schlock
    All I can say is OPEN YOUR EYES.

    Plasma colour reproduction is much worse. When you see dithered colour gradients, the only solution is LCD.

    I did some in-depth comparisons of picture quality w.r.t movies/tv signals/DVD, and a good quality LCD far outstripped the capabilities of Plasma's (that are more expensive).
  • schlock
    FYI: I've got the Samsung LE-40M86BD, which could explain my bias! ;)
  • melmac
    "This reviewer needs to get with the program"

    By your comments it sounds like you need to get with the program more than the reviewer.

    LCD's are much better for gaming and for computer use. While Plasma is much better for watching standard defination TV, like freeview etc.

    As for picture quality, they both have really good quality picture. The days of plasma having better black levels are gone with the M86 from Samsung already proven that it has deep black levels with some reviewers saying better than plasma. And now that samsung have released that F86 with black levels better than the M86, Well I guess LCD's have now got nearly all the advantages that plasma used to have without the burn in or the purple snakes!!

    The one area plasma is on top at the moment colour reproduction. But even that isn't as clear cut as a few years ago. The new Sony W3000 has amazing colour reproduction with the samsung F86 not far behind. Oh, and plasma are still bigger.
  • chuckmarcotte
    Why does every review website and print magazine forget that you can hook up a PC to an HD TV via a DVI <-> HDMI cable (about $20). I have been running an HTPC this way for years. The VGA port on HD TVs may not be the best way to hook up a PC. I know that both Linux and Windows have support for 720p and 1080i modes. I'd love to know if 1080p works over the DVI port. Can you guys include this type of connection in your testing ? FYI: This type of connection often requires some adjustment of the overscan. THANKS !!!
  • dobby
    What, your reviewing acer and sony, but not phillips, shame on you
  • leexgx
    1080p i think requres Dual link DVI HDMI connector for it (may be not right tho)
  • leexgx
    Unlike America, however, where the switch from the ancient NTSC standard (often derided as “Never The Same Colour”

    got to love that statement but true
  • monst172
    Hi, I think the 42x3030D has been treated a little unfairly in the review, I contacted Toshiba before I bought the unit and made sure that a DVI to HDMI 1080p connection was possible. Sure enough, the next day I get a reply from Toshiba's support department in the affirmative.

    I bought the unit, with Toshiba's reputation of well made products in mind and I have to say I am totally delighted with the unit.

    I turned down the red drive in the maintenance menu a bit, then tinkered around with the normal video settings till I was happy - wasn't too horrific to do.

    The result is a set that can deliver my PC gaming at 1920 x 1080, progressive (1080p). With the 'Exact Scan' option enabled, 1:1 pixel mapping ensures no overscan.

    Standard definition TV is great from the on-board freeview unit and Sky (SD I'm talking about) is acceptable - although picture quality does vary from channel to channel. Sky Sports I'm pleased to report looks fine.

    Obviously it's not perfect, but an acceptable level for most, although I do reccommend you be at least 7ft away from the unit to get the best out of it. True for many 42" LCD's at SD.

    At HD though, you might want to bring your chairs a little closer in...