With 2D footage, the UE40D7000 exhibits all the impressive image trademarks that have made Samsung's sets so successful - commercially and critically - this year.
The edge LED illumination is able to kick out prodigious amounts of brightness, for a start, giving pictures an immediately arresting appearance that looks all the more eye-catching thanks to the fact that the images are emerging from seemingly nowhere, thanks to the see-through and tiny nature of the bezel.
The brightness is put to good use in pumping out frequently spectacular colour tones and saturations, enabling light, colourful content to look exceptionally dynamic and punchy. Actually, if you stick with the TV's presets, the dynamism is a bit too strong, leaving some colours looking slightly over-wrought. But it doesn't take a great deal of effort in the set-up menus to get tones looking natural and well balanced while still retaining plenty of vibrancy.
Underpinning the 40D7000's cloud-pleasing colours and brightness is one of the LCD world's finest black level performances. Make sure the set's backlight adjustment is nudged down to around its half-way point on Samsung's scale and you'll enjoy dark scenes that suffer remarkably little with the grey 'mist' effect associated with low-contrast LCD TVs. You're not quite talking a level of blackness to rival what you might get from the best plasma or even direct LED TVs, but it's hard to think of any edge LED model that does black levels better.
What's even better about this is that the blackness is achieved without having to take anywhere near as much brightness out of pictures as might have been expected. This means that where predominantly dark shots have a couple of bright, colourful elements within them, those bright elements still look punchy and believable. It also means that all but the very darkest areas of the picture retain more shadow detail than you might expect, giving them a sense of depth comparable with that evident during bright scenes.
The UE40D7000 also scores serious points with its sharpness. HD 2D footage looks incredibly rich in detail and exceptionally crisp, helped considerably by the screen's intense brightness and some very good motion response.
There's precious little blur and only minor judder to report even with Samsung's motion processing turned off, but if you want to experiment with this processing system, your best bet is to manually adjust the processing's judder and blur components, setting them to one of their bottom two 'power levels'. If you don't, you might find that the picture starts to look a bit artificial and processed, with flickering and artefacts around the edges of moving objects.
More good news concerns the UE40D7000's standard definition 2D video, as the onboard upscaling processing system proves arguably the best in the consumer TV business right now when it comes to adding detail and sharpness while simultaneously suppressing noise and retaining colour accuracy.
There are a couple of flaws with 2D material to report. First, there are minor signs during dark scenes of backlight inconsistency/clouding, where the edge LED system causes some sections of dark scenes to look slightly brighter than others. This issue is actually quite distracting using many of the screen's presets, but if you're sensibly brutal with the backlight control you should find the residual minor lighting inconsistencies a small price to pay for all the strengths elsewhere.
The only thing worth adding here is that it might be interesting to see if Samsung could get rid of this backlight issue if it wasn't so obsessed with making its top-end screens so painstakingly thin.
The other issue is common to practically all LCD TVs; namely that colour and contrast levels reduce during off-axis viewing.
When it comes to 3D, the UE40D7000 isn't quite so assured, for one simple reason: crosstalk noise. Bright scenes don't suffer much with crosstalk's double-ghosting flaw, but bright objects set against dark backgrounds certainly can suffer with noticeable 'echoes' of themselves. This can make dark 3D scenes rather fatiguing to watch, as well as giving the impression of reduced detail.
In other respects, though, the UE40D7000's 3D images are good. Detail levels are very high off 3D full HD Blu-rays when crosstalk isn't in play, and 3D images look quite bright and vibrantly coloured - certainly compared with Panasonic's otherwise exemplary 3D plasma images.