Today we have mostly been wondering just how, in the name of all things AV, TV manufacturers are actually making money any more.
We really don't have to delve too deeply into the dank, dark, icky recesses of our memory banks to remember a time when 32in CRT TVs could sell for £1500 and more. Yet here we are at the rear end of July 2011 and we've got in front of us a high-performance, feature-laden 40in TV that costs just £522.90. Repeat: £522.90.
This price would look pretty attractive on an absolute bog-standard 40in LCD TV. But the Samsung UE40D5520 certainly is not just a bog-standard 40in LCD TV.
For starters, it looks as peachy as a baked peach served with peach ice cream. Its rear is slim with a capital s, and its bezel is glossy, exceptionally narrow and beautifully dressed in one of Samsung's trademark 'crystal' finishes. As well as looking great, the emphasis on slimness means that, like so many Samsung TVs this year, the UE40D5520 is able to fit its 40in pictures into the sort of space that would normally only take a 37in or maybe even 32in TV.
Obviously a TV as slim - and light - as the UE40D5520 would look great hanging on the wall. So it's nice to find it positioning all of its connection ports for side entry, so wall-hangers don't have to have cables sticking straight out of the TV's rear and, effectively, right into their wall. The number of connections provided is exceptional for such a cheap TV too. Its four HDMIs are enough to cater for an ambitious, multi-source enthusiast's set up, never mind the likely less source-heavy mainstream living rooms its price could well attract.
It's got a LAN port too, there as mandatory support for a Freeview HD tuner (something you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find on such a cheap set); as a means of streaming in files from DLNA PCs; and last but not least, as a portal for accessing Samsung's 2011 Smart TV platform.
There are also a couple of USB ports, capable of playing back photo, music and video files, and also able to take an optional USB dongle to enable the TV for Wi-Fi.
We've covered Samsung's Smart TV system in some depth in previous reviews, so we'll keep our mention of it here relatively brief.
On the content side it's got a healthy and seemingly continually growing roster of video content, including YouTube, LoveFilm, AceTrax, the BBC iPlayer, and a recently added BBC News video headline service. Plus it's also got dozens and dozens of smaller-scale 'apps', featuring simple games and infotainment for the most part.