We’ve spent the last month playing with an Emotion 40” 40/69-FUSB LCD TV from Sainsbury’s (we’re reviewing a paid-for retail model, not a loan or freebie set) which offers full 1080p HD viewing.
Our unit cost £299 in a sale but the price has now risen to the previous cost of £499. Although it wasn’t the only factor, price was a big part of the purchase decision.
While we’re the sort of people happy to pay where there’s a real differential – an iPad is SO much better than the Android wannabe’s – like many Brits, we’re not convinced that own and low-cost label TVs really differ from the bigger brands.
We’d need even more persuading that the sets sold by the supermarkets aren’t near-identical products with different labels – especially as many share the same support site!
As with pretty much all TVs on the market today, the 40/69-FUSB includes Freeview and also offers the ability to record and live pause if you plug in a standard USB drive to the rear connector.
We tested these features using an cheap indoor aerial from Argos and an old 4GB USB stick we found in the bottom of the drawer – you can use a USB hard drive if you prefer.
Even in a moderately good signal area the box picked up all the Freeview standard definition channels available in London and the picture was stable. With a properly fitted outdoor aerial the set should deliver fantastic picture and sound quality.
The USB record facility worked great with live pause and does allow timed recordings but the limitation of only being able to record the channel you’re watching means it’s not really a replacement for a proper Freeview+ box.
The set offers three HDMI connectors – we used these with our Virgin Media TiVo, Blu-ray player and Apple TV – plus a scart socket (ideal for the Wii) and a component input we used for the X-Box.
There’s also a VGA port so can hook up your PC if you fancy totalling up your VAT return on a 40” monitor.
In an ideal world we’d have loved a fourth HDMI port but at £299 you have to be prepared to make some compromises.
On each of our devices the picture quality lived up to expectations, some of the SD pictures on the TiVo were a little underwhelming but the HD versions of the same channels were superb. When viewing the Blu-ray edition of Harry Brown we were genuinely impressed with how good the picture quality was.
The two speakers push out Nicam Stereo which was great for general TV and gaming use and you can toggle the preset sound options to find the right mix for you. A digital co-axial connection will allow you to hook it up to your sound system if you wish.
One of the most obvious differences between a big brand and cheaper TV is the remote control, the emotion’s lightweight and utilitarian design is no exception.
This wasn’t a huge issue for us as the TiVo found a code to enable its remote to turn the set on/off and adjust the volume and the support site suggests the Sky+ remote is capable of doing likewise.
Externally the 40/69-FUSB looks great with a nice glossy black case. Other than the brand name on the front the average telly-watcher would be hard pressed to tell it from the big brand sets we suspect roll off the neighbouring production line.
If the TV were still on sale at £299 we’d have no hesitation recommending it but for the current £499 asking price you can get a big brand TV of the same or higher specification.
If you’re on the lookout for a decent large TV which won’t break the bank keep an eye on Sainsbury’s website for their next price drop.