In fact, the set doesn’t even appear to carry a native pixel for pixel aspect ratio setting for watching HD sources. This means HD pictures are shown with overscanning, whereby the image is slightly magnified to push the edges of the image off the sides of the screen on the assumption that there will be messy data ‘strips’ there that you won’t want to watch. In reality, such extraneous data is hardly ever there on modern HD sources, so we’d much, much rather be able to watch such sources without any rescaling processing.
The SE40LMNB is not a particularly friendly TV to use. The remote control is basic in the extreme, and the onscreen menus annoyingly take over the whole of the screen so you can’t keep watching TV while you use them. There are organisational issues too; for instance, the auto tuning option isn’t contained within the set up menu as you would expect, but rather in a separate TV menu.
The only plus point with the menu system is the TV’s electronic programme guide. For this DOES keep a small version of the picture playing in the bottom corner, while still presenting you with plenty of information without making the screen feel cluttered.
First picture thoughts
The SE40LMNB’s picture quality initially disappoints. Why only initially? Because on later reflection, expecting anything more than average images from a 40in LED TV that costs under £350 is pretty much like expecting Christmas every weekend. But let’s go back to our first impressions for a moment, and look at the three main reasons why the SE40LMNB initially comes a cropper.
First, standard definition pictures look positively ropey. They’re extremely soft, with blurry edges, a lack of detail, and no sense at all that the TV’s upscaling engine is working even slightly hard. It doesn’t help, either, that the screen is rather susceptible to LCD’s motion blurring problem. Not surprisingly, at this point the set’s lack of an HD tuner looks all the more unfortunate.
Another issue is the SE40LMNB’s colours. They look rather simplistic, for want of a better word, lacking subtlety and that sense of a wide gamut that you see with so many premium TVs these days.
Switching to HD, meanwhile, reveals our third concern: a continuing lack of sharpness. Sure, pictures do look HD – at least compared with the fuzziness of the SE40LMNB’s standard def efforts. But they certainly don’t look as forensically detailed and crisp as we’re accustomed to them looking on most other modern TVs – including a clutch of recent almost as affordable Finlux TVs.
It certainly doesn’t help here that the set doesn’t carry a pixel for pixel HD mode.