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Samsung LE40A856: Size 14 features in a size 8 case

Samsung always enjoys pushing the envelope of technology, and now the company seems to have set its sights on reducing the thickness of TVs, and we can't stop them

TV manufacturers currently have a bee in their collective bonnet about the depth of TVs. Of course, Joe Six-Pack doesn't give a flying moose about how shallow his TV is -- he wants something that looks the part and will fit in the gap in his home-entertainment centre. Still, the relentless onward thrust of technological advancement must not be abated by what the consumer wants. So, whether you care or not, the Samsung LE40A856 is very thin indeed.

Aside from its diminutive 44mm depth, the LE40A856 is finished in the now frustratingly ubiquitous 'rose black' style, which means it's got a hint of red in the bezel. You'll either hate this particular look or you'll barely notice it, but we still aren't sure why Samsung was desperate for red across so much of the range.

Looks out of the way, what does this TV have up its rosy sleeve to keep us happy? It's a 1080p TV, and Samsung has included a 100Hz picture mode, designed to make film look a little less filmy and more like video. Personally we think this ruins the whole style of movies, but some people seem to like it, and who are we to argue?

You get the usual selection of inputs, including four HDMI sockets -- three at the back, one on the side -- component and VGA connectors are also present, as are Scart sockets, in case you have a strong aversion to high-quality video. With this TV being so thin, we aren't quite sure how Samsung has managed to fit everything in the case -- Hitachi had to resort to using an external media receiver with its (admittedly thinner) XV700 LCD.

Also included are Samsung's most recent revisions of WiseLink -- the photo, video and music playback system -- and InfoLive, which displays news, weather and stock market data, based on RSS feeds from Yahoo, so you can keep an eye on the global financial apocalypse while you watch Strictly.

As a series 8 TV, this is pretty close to the high end of Samsung's line-up, so all being well, it should be a solid performer. We'll find out exactly how solid when we review it in the coming days. Keep an eye on the televisions review channel for our official musings. –Ian Morris