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The great TV bargain bonanza shows no sign of letting up, despite recent pronouncements by some (so far conspicuously Japanese…) electronics brands to the effect that their prices will have to go up by as much as 25%.
For instance, the Samsung LE40A558 40in LCD TV I'm looking at today started life costing north of a grand. Yet while researching this review, I managed to find it for just 578 pounds and 99 pence - a steal for a seemingly well-specified 40in LCD TV from an increasingly respected brand.
Inevitably, though, your £579 is not getting you anything like the highest reaches of Samsung's current flat telly range. And so, for instance, while it's certainly attractive in its high-gloss, subtly curved and accented body, it lacks the red-tinged aesthetic flourish introduced by the step-up A656 range.
What's more, there's no sign of the Internet connectivity or Content Library functionality sported by models from the A756 series up, or the LED backlighting technology that so illuminated - pun very much intended - the A956 model we looked at.
Having said all that, it certainly wouldn't be fair to call the 40A558 basic. Its connections, for instance, include a very respectable three HDMIs, a side-mounted USB port for playing MP3 music and JPEG stills into the TV from USB storage devices, and a dedicated D-Sub PC port - alongside all the usual more basic stuff.
A trawl through the prettily presented onscreen menus, meanwhile, turns up a reasonable amount of user flexibility around the 40A558's pictures. Examples of some of the more esoteric stuff on offer includes a black adjustment, an optional, multi-level Dynamic Contrast system, gamma adjustment, white balance fine-tuning, fleshtone adjustments, Edge Enhancement, noise reduction, and, last but not least, Samsung's Movie Plus system, which interpolates extra frames of image data in a bid to reproduce motion more naturally.
The 40A558's screen, meanwhile, boasts the now increasingly de rigueur Full HD resolution, and a very attractive-looking maximum contrast ration of 30,000:1 with the Dynamic Contrast feature activated.
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