Yet more good news concerns the 40B550's standard definition performance. This used to be a weakness for Samsung, but this year, thanks to a new chipset that's been two years in the making, Samsung has turned into one of the best upscalers of standard def material. This trend continues even with the relatively ‘low-rent' 40B550, which makes even low-quality standard definition sources look sharp, naturally coloured and impressively free of video noise.
There are inevitably one or two issues surrounding this remarkably affordable TV's performance. As hinted earlier, it's not as clear or fluid with its motion reproduction as Samsung's higher spec models. Also, its black levels, while good, somehow don't seem quite as profound as those of Samsung's B650 range.
Also, in common with most LCD TVs, the 40B550's presets need to be tweaked to produce the best picture quality, and the contrast level drops off rapidly as soon as you have to watch the screen from much of an angle - horizontal or vertical.
This set also fits the unfortunate Samsung LCD pattern of not being very hot in the audio department. If you're just watching normal, undemanding TV it sounds okay, but there isn't enough power or range on hand to let the soundstage open up to accommodate an action scene. Instead, action scenes sound a bit thin, forced and unnatural.
Yes, the main review of the 40B550 finished with a few negatives. However, it's the positive points about this in some ways quite remarkable TV that really dominate, leaving the few flaws to be easily swallowed up by the allure of its astonishingly low price.