While we're on the topic of contrast, we found that the Sanyo had a usable amount of black with the lights on. Blacks looked "black" instead of "green", as can sometimes occur. However, there is no backlight control, so it didn't look as good with the lights off — so a quick brightness adjustment was required. There was also a small amount of backlight-bleed, as well.
Unlike, with its LG heritage that we suspect the Sanyo shares, there were no signs of contrast enhancement when quickly switching from a dark scene to a bright one.
Running a series of synthetic tests on the LCD40XR10F, we found that it performed well, with decent support for different resolutions and frame-rates without much in the way of dreaded "jaggies". Only when subjected to the noise tests did the picture appear overly noisy.
Watching One HD proved that the TV can do sport, unlike thethat we compared it against. Where the Sony created a slideshow effect on pans and fast movement, the Sanyo was smooth and free of blur.
With Blu-rays, the picture was suitably lifelike. When given the bridge scene from Mission Impossible III there were no moire effects visible on the railings of the bridge. The camera movements were a little jerky, though, as there is no official support for the nativeafforded by Blu-ray. Detail levels were very good, with every pockmark on Tom Cruise's not-so-smooth face visible. Mosquito noise effects, as with the synthetic tests, were a small issue, though.
When you're buying a TV, sound quality is a secondary concern. So, too, it seems, for the Sanyo designers. Sound was dynamic, but when compared directly against the Sony EX420, voices were noticeably less intelligible. You could pump the sound up to decent levels, but the results had definite "chugging" effects on explosions and a brittleness to the treble.
The TV's time-shifting feature worked quite well, though you'll probably need to experiment with using physical disks rather than USB keys. An 8GB thumb drive gave us a "USB disk speed too low" message, while an external 5.25-inch drive worked fine.
When using the additional media playback facility, we found that the playback screen was attractive, but again the speakers let the side down with a lack of treble detail and a "ringy" quality. Outputting sound to an amp via the digital coaxial port helped enormously.
We're at a period of changeover now, and at its retail price, the Samsung isn't the best deal when we've seen excellent TVs such asrunning out in the low AU$1000s. Sniff around for a good deal, as the Sanyo is also expected to be replaced in the next few months. But be assured that the company has done its utmost to reinstate its reputation for value-for-money and performance with the LCD40XR10F.