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Philips 65PFL9708 4K TV review – hands on

Philips 65PFL9708 4K TV

The Philips PFL9708 looks the business and costs significantly less than its rivals

TP Vision is the last of the big TV retailers active in the UK to announce a 4K set, but we finally got our first look at it this week during IFA. The Philips 9000 series, available in 65in (65PFL9708) and 84in (84PFL9708) models, adds Ultra High-Definition resolution to the range for the first time, and it’s fair to say that 4K images have never looked sharper.

Philips 65PFL9708 4K TV

That’s partly because Philips has traditionally cranked up the image sharpening on its TVs out of the box, and the 65PFL9708 appears to be no exception. Ultra Pixel HD image processing is used to full effect in the TV’s Vivid mode, although it tones down the effect significantly once you change to a different pre-set. Part of that picture engine is now called Ultra Resolution – it takes a Full HD pixel, splits it into four same-coloured pixels and creates differentiation between them by amplifying the intensity. It works astonishingly well in practice, creating detail where there was none before and adding extra depth to the forest scene being used for the demo.

The increase in resolution is still breathtaking when watching the right footage – Philips had set up two magnifying glasses to show the difference between 4K and 1080P, where it was difficult to make out the pixel grid on the former but clear as day on the latter.

Philips 65PFL9708 4K TV

Perfect natural motion frame interpolation is also present, which should smooth out playback when watching films and sports, but it’s not all top-end stuff. The backlight system uses Micro Dimming Pro rather than the range-topping Micro Dimming Ultimate last seen on the previous 9-series TV. It’s using a passive 3D panel running at 100Hz, rather than the active 3D panels normally used for top-end Philips TVs. The 9000 series also lacks any HDMI 2.0 ports, although we’re told an adapter will be provided to customers once it becomes available.

The 65PFL9708 is a Philips TV, so naturally it has the company’s unique Ambilight ambient lighting along the rear top and sides, creating a glowing effect that gives a greater sense of immersion when watching films or playing games. It’s a shame TP Vision hasn’t moved to a 4-sided Ambilight setup, as we thought it looked stunning on the one-off Elevation TV launched earlier in the year, but even three sides creates the same sense of immersion with 4K footage as it does with regular Full HD.

Philips 65PFL9708 4K TV

The Smart TV platform makes a return, up-scaled to 4K resolutions, and will include the new Cloud TV app. It will stream video from BBC World and BBC Entertainment in the UK, with a promised 600 IPTV channels available on the continent. Cloud Explorer will also let you stream media files from a Dropbox account, directly to the TV. Linking your account to a Philips TV will automatically net you an additional 2GB of storage. Finally, TV schedules and on-the-go recording will soon be added to the Philips MyRemote smartphone app.

Philips 65PFL9708 4K TV

With the 65in 65PFL9708 due to go on sale in the UK at £4,500, and in no less than a few weeks, TP Vision has one of the least expensive 4K TVs on the market. From what we’ve seen, it has plenty of features that ensure Full HD content looks superb at the higher resolution, and the presence of Ambilight is almost enough to convince us by itself. Although we can already spot a few limitations, notably the lack of HDMI 2.0, Philips seem committed to an adapter so early adopters should have nothing to worry about. We’re eagerly awaiting its arrival into the office so we can bring you a full review.

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