Why are there so many models?
There's a very simple answer to this question: TVs that measure around 40'' represent the middle ground between affordable entry-level screens and more expensive high-end options. The cheapest TVs, which start at around 26'', often have versions in larger sizes up to around 40'' or 42''. Equally, the best 37'' TVs can go all the way up to 52''. As a result, TVs measuring forty or so inches—whether that's 40'', 42'', 46'' or 47"—represent a major battleground for manufacturers, and that's why they offer so many different options.
You'll find all of the most interesting recent models here, but once you've got your TV, don't forget to set it up properly. Many TVs come with a Cinema mode, which often reproduces colours accurately enough for you to start enjoying the Home Cinema experience ... all you need to do is worry about the popcorn!
The Panasonic Viera ST50 really has nothing to envy of the higher-end VT50. In fact, image quality is just as good in this model. We therefore don't see much point in shelling out for the pricier model, as the ST50 won't disappoint home cinema buffs.
Best of the rest
Home Cinema LCD
The Samsung ES7000 is a good TV with all the latest technology. It has 3D support, Smart TV services and uses an effective motion compensation system to keep fast action flowing smoothly. It also features voice and motion controls, which some users may like (we can't help thinking they're a bit of a gimmick).
Sharp Aquos LC-60LE636E
The Sharp LC-60LE636E is a good giant TV. It will be a big hit with most viewers, but real Home Cinema fans will probably prefer a plasma TV to avoid problems like clouding, an uneven performance across the whole surface of the screen and slightly disappointing viewing angles.
Giant Budget Plasma
If you're looking for a cheap TV, the LG PA6500 is no five-star show-stopper, but it has plenty of plus points thanks to plasma technology (deep blacks, responsiveness, wide viewing angles, no clouding, perfect display consistency).
3D LCD TV
Sony Bravia KDL-55HX853
The Sony Bravia HX853 delivers excellent picture quality in 2D and 3D, with high contrast, accurate colours, a near-perfect gamma and great responsiveness. It's a must-have LCD TV.
The Samsung ES6300 does a great job in 3D mode with practically no crosstalk (images for the left and right eyes overlapping). There's still room for improvement, though, with colour fidelity that could be better (average Delta E 4.7) and contrast that may prove a little on the low side for watching TV with the lights off (2260:1).[