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Philips Cineos 42PFL7603D review

Barry de la Rosa
13 Feb 2009
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
780
inc VAT

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Specifications

42in, Freeview, analogue, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: , 3x HDMI

Philips' 42PFL7603D is a larger but slightly older version of the 32PFL9613D, and has the same stunning image quality.

The HD Natural Motion processing has to be seen to be appreciated. Watching the casino scenes in our Blu-ray version of Casino Royale, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in the room with the poker players. Watching an old colour John Wayne movie on Freeview was even more unsettling, as it made scenes look as if they were shot on a digital camcorder and then dubbed over with false colours.

Philips' Ambilight technology is stunning and makes the image appear as if it extends beyond the edge of the picture. Even with a 6cm bezel, the effect is to deepen the sense of immersion. The 42PFL7603D also includes other image-processing technology, but Ambilight and HD Natural Motion are the two that make this TV stand out.

The 42PFL7603D's default image quality is good, although colours were slightly dull and weren't improved much by the image controls. The clever Settings Assistant wizard leads you through a number of images with different settings applied to the right and left halves of the picture. By choosing which side you prefer, it builds up an overall profile. There's also a demo mode for some of the image-processing features that shows you a split-screen comparison.

The 42PFL7603D was unique here in not including a VGA input, so we tested a PC connection over HDMI and got a crisp desktop image. However, we noticed the screen shaking when we moved the mouse, and after turning off a few features were surprised to find that it was the Ambilight setting that caused this. Apart from this strange bug, the desktop displayed fine at 1,920x1,080, with clear text and accurate colours.

Setting up TV channels took three minutes and 20 seconds for both analogue and digital. The EPG is clear and shows eight channels at a time. It displays now and next information, and you can also scroll to the right to see later programmes. Scrolling to the left allows you to access filters and favourites. The menu system is quite complex, but once you've set up the TV you won't need to access most of it, so the remote control has fewer buttons.

According to Philips, the 42PFL7603D includes slightly older versions of some of the technology found on the 32PFL9613D, which is why it's slightly cheaper. We didn't notice a great difference between the two, however, and the fact that you're getting a larger screen makes this a better buy. The 37in LG 37LG5000 is much better value, but if you've got the money, the 42PFL7603D is the best large LCD TV here, and it wins our Ultimate award.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****

Physical

Viewable size42in
Native resolution1,920x1,080
1080p supportYes
Aspect ratio16:9
HD readyyes
Contrast ratio30,000:1
Brightness500cd/m²
Speakers2x 15W
Bezel (top/side/bottom)56mm/61mm/63mm
Screen depth111mm
Screen elevation128mm
Stand size (WxD)506x254mm

Connections

DVI inputs0
D-sub inputs0
HDMI inputs3
Component inputs1
SCART2
S-Video input1
Composite inputs1
Audio outputsoptical S/PDIF out, 1x stereo phono
Otherheadphone output, CI slot, USB slot

Tuner

Tuner typeFreeview, analogue
EPG7 day

Environmental

Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on192W

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£780
Supplierhttp://www.digitaldirect.co.uk
Detailswww.philips.co.uk