If you still have a CRT TV you'll probably be used to looking at a screen that's around 20-28 inches. There were CRTs made that were larger, but they generallyso weren't enormously practical. These days, someone with only moderate strength can easily pick up a 40-inch TV on their own without risking a hernia. How times have changed.
If you're looking to build a decent home cinema, or you just love watching sport on a big screen, a 40-inch TV offers the right balance between 'too small to see from across the room' and 'so big it takes up an entire wall'. Forty-inch screens also start at a reasonably sensible price. The Samsung LE40M87, for example, can be bought online for around £800, which puts it almost in the bargain-basement range, despite being able to show material.
Despite its budget price, the LE40M87 still boasts the same classy design as its bigger brothers. The smooth piano-black finish and stylishly rounded corners are both present and correct.
Round the back, there are two HDMI inputs, with a third at the side. Set-top boxes, DVD players and games consoles routinely use HDMI now, so it's good to see three of them on a relatively budget set such as this. There are VGA, component and Scart inputs too, for hooking up all your older stuff.
Our standard gripe with Samsung TVs is the remote control. They always feel cheap and nasty and although they're light, they don't have a pleasant balance to them.
The Samsung features the usual picture modes. It can support 1080p at 24Hz, which is an added bonus for PlayStation 3 owners and fans of HD DVD and Blu-ray. HDMI 1.3 is also supported, so you'll get the benefit of wide colour, if your player supports it.
You'll also find Samsung's movie mode, which aims to reduce the level of motion judder found in film-based material. You'll either love this mode, or switch it off, but it's a handy option to have.
Samsung has also kept its popular game mode in this screen too, which is designed to improve your experience if you're an avid gamer.
Firing up the Samsung for the first time yielded the usual menu system and set-up routine. There's nothing especially painful about this -- if you're in a Freeview area, the TV will tune itself in, configure everything and you're good to go.