It's a sign of the times now that 40 and 42-inch televisions are now considered 'small' in TV circles. With the increasing prevalence of 4K resolutions and the drive to upgrade to ever more vast screen sizes this scale of TV has taken a bit of a backseat.
Those home cinema folk are haring off towards 55-inch and above.
But unless your living room is on a relatively grand scale having a monster 75-inch panel in pride of place, looming over your sofa, is unfeasible. If you're living on a more modest scale though the 40 and 42-inch TV market can offer some surprising gems.
We've picked out the best 40 and 42-inch TVs you can buy right now, whether you're on a tight budget or want the latest in super high-resolutions without devoting a whole wall of your living room to the television.
1. Panasonic TX-40CX680B
"The TX-40CX680B could turn out to be one of the bargains of year"
Screen size: 40-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Firefox OS | Curved: No | Dimensions: 560 x 904 x 202 mm
Is the TX-40CX680B too small to show-off its 4K panel at just 40-inches? Though the 4K resolution is the headline-grabber, the emphasis from Panasonic on this 40-incher is on better pixels rather than more pixels. This highly talented and great value TV swerves that elephant in the room with some pin-sharp pictures to add to its impressive smart TV OS.
With Firefox OS it really makes use of its eight million pixels by boosting black levels, colour and upscaling prowess to make everything save for standard definition look sumptuous. With Freeview Play incoming, it's an early front-runner for the best value 4K screen around.
Read the full review: Panasonic TX-40CX680B
2. Samsung UE40F6400
"One of the UK's best value smart TVs."
Screen size: 40-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD and FreeSat HD | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Smart Hub | Curved: No | Dimensions: 617 x 928 x 265
It may not have all the shinies of Samsung's latest smart TVs, but it's still a quality full HD screen and now available for almost half the price that it launched at, making it fantastic value in 2015.
It's not the best upscaler, nor the slimmest TV, but we're quite taken by the Samsung UE40F6400. Packed with apps within a reasonably polished Smart Hub system, there's plenty of contrast, colour and detail to compete with pricier options. We're also big fans of the Smart Touch remote and of its integration with Samsung Galaxy gadgets, though it does stutter occasionally.
Read the full review: Samsung UE40F6400
3. Panasonic TX-42AS500
"A great smart TV for a very reasonable price"
Screen size: 42-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: myHomeScreen | Curved: No | Dimensions: 610 x 963 x 247 mm
A good value way to get into the world of smart TV, this 42-inch Full HD TV boasts plenty of apps, a fabulous and friendly user interface, Freeview HD, great viewing angles and wide digital file support. Two HDMI inputs and a touch of motion blur are the lows on an otherwise highly impressive effort that's ideal for a living room.
Its images may not be perfect, and nor does it have every single app in town, but this 42-inch is all about smart TV on a budget; there are few easier to use TVs around at this price.
Read the full review: Panasonic TX-42AS500
4. Samsung UE40H6400
"Crowd-pleasing clarity keeps this set's images looking pristine."
Screen size: 40-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Smart Hub | Curved: No | Dimensions: 598 x 918 x 267 mm
The UE40H6400LED has all the right credentials to become a best-seller for Samsung. Set up right, its crispy Full HD pictures, rich colours, and punchy contrast look great with most types of content. The brand's Smart Hub proposition remains strong, although some of the latest tweaks are less than compelling.
The Samsung UE40H6400 can be considered an extremely well equipped internet-connected mid-range Full HD flatscreen. From design to image quality, it barely puts a foot wrong. Although not exactly fresh, the translucent-edged frame remains perennially popular and Samsung's penchant for razor sharp, vibrant images is well represented here.
Read the full review: Samsung UE40H6400
5. Toshiba 40L3453DB
"A no-frills price that actually offers a few frills."
Screen size: 40-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Cloud TV | Curved: No | Dimensions: 603 x 933 x 249mm
Those aforementioned frills include a passable smart TV system complete with some video streaming thrills; it's unusually rich in connected features for this end of the market. There's also multimedia playback via USB and DLNA; and picture technology that includes a pseudo 200Hz engine and a full HD resolution.
While it's certainly no classic TV, Toshiba's 40L3453DB fulfils its brief. It provides cash-strapped buyers – or people after a cheap screen for a second room – with more features, more picture quality and, given the Toshiba name, more peace of mind than you'll commonly find at the £300 price level.
Read the full review: Toshiba 40L3453DB
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