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Philips Cineos 32PFL7404H review

Barry de la Rosa
17 Feb 2010
Philips Cineos 32PFL7404H
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
544
inc VAT

A good-looking HD TV with good image quality, but the stylish menus aren't easy to use. You can get a better 37in model for less money.

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Specifications

32in, Freeview, analogue, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: , 4x HDMI

The Cineos 32PFL7404H is one of Philips more basic TVs, but still has the company's pioneering HD Natural Motion and a 100Hz panel, which smoothes the jerkiness in films. Movies are recorded at 24 frames per second, which leads to a juddering effect during camera pans or with objects moving across the screen. Natural Motion has three levels of intensity, and can make movies look as if they were recorded on a video camera. The effect is quite disturbing, especially with old black-and-white films where your bran doesn't expect smooth motion.

At default settings, the 32PFL7404H wasn't as bright as other TVs in our side-by-side tests. Colours were vibrant and contrast reasonably good, but to correct the dimness our only recourse was to increase brightness, sacrificing contrast in the process.

In our DVD test, the white titles were noticeably duller than we saw from other models and, although upscaling was generally good, we saw a hint of ghosting. Connected to a laptop, the 32PFL7404 benefits from being set to PC Mode, which disables image processing and ensures no scaling is applied.

Brightness may not be its strong suit, but the 32PFL7404H certainly makes up for it in the looks department, with rounded edges and a clear plastic trim around the narrow bezel. It's not ideal for wall-mounting as Philips has made no effort to recess the rear-facing ports. The menu system is also stylish, with large, clear text and icons, but in practice it's a pain to use as you can't scroll past the end of a list to get back to the first item, and it's not as responsive as others.

The USB port on the left side of the case accepts both flash drives and external hard disks, and as well as MP3 music and JPEG photos it also supports a number of video formats. These include H.264, MPEG1, MPEG2 and DivX AVI . The 32PFL7404 will automatically zoom video files to fill the screen without changing their aspect ratio.

The internal speakers are excellent, and at 50 per cent volume were loud enough to fill our labs. Bass was impressive, and you'll find you can watch music channels without wincing at the poor sound quality. There's also surround sound control that adds extra depth to the sound stage.

Following the design of the menus, the EPG is a minimalist affair, with a Now & Next display that shows only the next two programmes on each of eight channels, but splits the two vertical columns into half-hour slots. Large figures in the background tell you the date and time being shown, and the current time in large numbers, but these are hard to read at a distance. You have to press the Options button to search by genre, set reminders or change day.

Philips HD Natural Motion is a welcome feature, but we miss the excellent Ambilight of more expensive models. With good image quality, the 32PFL7404H is let down by its relatively dim brightness and unintuitive controls. It can't compete with this month's crop of cheaper 37in models: LG's 37LF7700 has a built-in Freesat HD receiver for over £50 less.

Basic Specifications

Rating***

Physical

Viewable size32in
Native resolution1,920x1,080
1080p supportYes
Aspect ratio16:9
HD readyyes
Contrast ratioNot disclosed (80,000:1 dynamic)
Brightness500cd/m²
Speakers2x 10W
Bezel (top/side/bottom)29mm/30mm/30mm
Screen depth86mm
Screen elevation89mm
Stand size (WxD)434x218mm

Connections

DVI inputs0
D-sub inputs1
HDMI inputs4
Component inputs1
SCART2
S-Video input1
Composite inputs1
Audio outputscoaxial S/PDIF out, 1x stereo phono
Otherheadphone output, 3.5mm minijack audio input, CI slot, USB port

Tuner

Tuner typeFreeview, analogue
EPG8-day, Now and Next

Environmental

Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on129W

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£544
Supplierhttp://www.pixmania.co.uk
Detailswww.philips.co.uk

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