The 40C8000 serves up what are unarguably some of the finest pictures ever seen on a 40-inch screen. As on its larger 46C8000 stablemate, the LED backlighting is flawlessly even and has more than enough brightness to hand.
It's still common to find Freeview products that are less watchable than West Ham, but the combination of a good quality tuner and excellent processing means that standard-definition Freeview images are a delight. Common defects such as video noise and mushiness on low bit-rate channels are effectively rendered unnoticeable.
Although they don't quite hit the heights achieved by the larger 46C8000 those 2,073,600 pixels are more than capable of delivering pin-sharp HD pictures. With the screen properly calibrated and the right viewing mode selected, both broadcast HD and Blu-ray sources look simply gorgeous in terms of clarity, although both can seem a little soft when the set is first switched on.
Colours are exceptionally accurate for an LCD screen and skin tones look completely realistic. Judder doesn't seem much of an issue and the various Motion Plus settings make it possible to have perfectly fluid pictures albeit with the usual side-effect of making filmic sources look like video. Happily, though, there's hardly any haloing introduced as a result of using Motion Plus.
Black levels are a revelation, showing how far LCD has come since the bad old milky grey days but despite tweaks for adjusting the intensity of the black level it's very hard to find a setting where you see sufficient levels of detail without cranking up the brightness to the detriment of the rest of the picture.
Watching 3D images on a 40-inch screen is not something we can readily recommend. Bearing in mind most 3D sources create an image that extends in to the screen rather than towards the viewer, when truly effective it's like looking at miniature objects or people that seem further away from you – and hence smaller – than in 2D. Combined with the loss of resolution of Sky's 3D channel, some crosstalk and the variable effectiveness of different material it can be a challenge to find something that looks better in 3D than 2D.
Of course, Blu-ray doesn't drop in terms of resolution, but the issue of crosstalk is more pronounced, for example with Monsters Vs Aliens as the camera pans down the church spire and on the Golden Gate Bridge. And once you notice crosstalk it's impossible to ignore it.