In What’s New, Shopper 251 we reviewed Philips’ Cineos 32PFL9603D and gave it an Ultimate award.
The 32PFL9613D is a ‘running update’, which means it directly replaces the older model. The only difference is a 100Hz panel, which brings it in line with the rest of the 9603D range. However, the benefit is relatively insignificant, since the 32PFL9603D’s motion was already excellent thanks to the Perfect Natural Motion processing. Ultimately, you’d be hard-pushed to tell one from the other in a blind test.
The Cineos looks smarter than the other LCD TVs here, thanks to its glossy black bezel and smaller translucent bezel. Its resolution of 1,920×1,080 lets you see the maximum level of detail in Blu-ray movies, but you’ll have to sit fairly close to notice the difference between this and the 720p 32in models.
All the inputs you’ll need are present, but note that the VGA and component inputs have a shared audio input, which could be frustrating. The USB port means you can connect a flash drive or hard disk for playing back JPEG slideshows and MPEG1 and 2 videos. Photo slideshows are impressively slick and look sharp and detailed thanks to the 1080p resolution. An Ethernet port lets you connect the Cineos to your network. You’ll need a DLNA server such as a laptop, PC or NAS to stream music, photos and videos to the TV, though – a standard UPnP server won’t do. The built-in speakers have plenty of bass, but you’ll still want to use a surround-sound system for movies.
Philips’ mighty processing power improves the quality of incoming signals. Compared to others here, the Cineos makes a good fist of standard-definition content, with Freeview broadcasts looking particularly sharp. It’s handy that you can apply settings per input, rather than global settings that are used for all inputs. Menus are relatively easy to navigate thanks to the jog dial on the well-designed remote control.
Image quality is excellent. Watching the familiar scenes in Casino Royale on Blu-ray, we were impressed by the smooth motion in pans. In fact, the absence of any motion blur made movies look more like video shot at a high frame rate and it took a while to get used to this. Blacks are impressively dark and colours are equally excellent, with skin tones looking particularly realistic. The Ambilight feature, in which strips of lights along the sides of the TV respond to the brightness of the image on the screen, makes the image look bigger and reduces glare.
Philips claims that this new model will cost the same as the old model, but currently it’s around £100-£150 more. Unless you can find it cheaper, there’s no reason to choose this over the 42in model, which is cheaper. Our best advice if you want a top-notch 32in TV is to watch the clearance corners for the 32PFL9603D, as you’re sure to pick up a bargain.