This 40-inch LCD TV from Samsung boasts a new colour-boosting technology called eXtended Wide Colour Gamut (XWCG), which uses a special backlight system that covers more of the PAL colour range than a typical LCD set. Samsung reckons this results in rich, vibrant pictures that more accurately reflect what you'd see in real life.

The set boasts some sleek and elegant looks, with a glossy black frame around the screen and a cute sloping transparent section underneath - all perched on a convenient swivelling stand.

Back scratching

Connections are also pleasing to the eye. Round the back of the TV are two HDMI inputs, component video input, PC input and two Scarts, one of which supports RGB.

On the side is a USB port and two memory card slots for viewing digital pictures on the 1366 x 768 pixel screen. These multimedia connections are joined by a PictBridge output, which allows you to print pictures directly from the TV.

The set's on-screen menus are attractive and self-explanatory, plus channel changing and digital text are very fast - though some of the remote's buttons are too small and poorly labelled.

The LE40N73 is totally in its element with high definition material. A screening of Star Wars Episode III on Sky Movies HD shows off this TV's picture capabilities to the greatest extent. High definition images are sharp and packed with detail, with the spellbinding level of clarity that HD is now famous for.

XWCG and DNIe also deliver on their promises, mustering a wide range of bright, lively colours that bring our test movie to life. The muted colours of the floors and walls in the Federation spacecraft are remarkably rich.

It's a shame that it's a different story with some standard definition material. Viewing the same film on standard-def Sky Movies, you can see that the drop in quality is huge - and it's not just because of the source's lower resolution.

Images look soft and noisy, while colour reproduction is more subdued. Sports footage further rams the point home and also shows up some motion blur and jagged curved edges.

That said, certain standard definition channels look great, such as BBC News 24 and Sky News. So do well-transferred DVDs (like Lord of the Rings) fed into the component or HDMI inputs look much better.

Hidden disappointment

Sonically the set is disappointing. The hidden under-screen speakers offer weedy audio with very little bass, which means you need to crank it up to three quarters before it makes any sort of impact. But if you do, the treble and midrange sound harsh and imposing. Even SRS TruSurround XT can't help matters.

But all flaws considered, there's no denying that the Samsung LE40N73BD represents good value for money at £1,500 - particularly when you take its plentiful features into consideration.