It's indicative of Philips' determination to move its TV range upmarket that this rather expensive LCD television is from the Dutch company's midrange ‘7'-series.
But in this instance, ‘midrange' really isn't a euphemism for ‘compromised' – your money, as the old Hollywood axiom goes, is up there on the screen. The 32PFL7404 is a svelte, robust device. Specification is extensive (1920 x 1080 resolution, four HDMI inputs, 100Hz motion processing, ‘Pixel Precise' picture enhancement – a version of Philips' top-of-the-shop ‘Pixel Perfect' – and USB input).
Long set up – but it's worth itSet-up is laborious. Philips seems to delight in concealing menu within set-up menu, making the process of getting the best out of the screen more involved than with any rival.
Fortunately, the menus themselves are big, bold and easy to navigate, and the effort put in is well worth it.
More after the break
Aside from indifferent levels of detail in very dark scenes, the '7404 serves up eminently watchable TV pictures.
There's a little grain and noise, but the stark contrasts, grippy motion-tracking, wide-ranging colour palette, believable skin-tones and all-round stability make for a strong performance.
Stable DVD upscalingDVD upscaling is stable and composed too. The steady edge-definition, high levels of detail both great and small, exemplary motion tracking and subtly judged colour palette more than make up for the small amount of picture noise in the most testing scenes.
A Blu-ray of The Damned United shows the Philips to its best advantage, and it's a deeply impressive performer.
Motion (after the obligatory half-hour's menu manipulation) is beyond reproach, and '7404 offers a greater sense of depth than any rival – by a margin.
Detail levels are sky-high, skin-tones and textures utterly credible, and blacks are deep and lustrous. Glaring contrasts are handled with aplomb, and colours are entirely convincing.
Sound is a disappointment compared to picture, but compared with competitors it's inoffensive enough: it has some weight, some scale and some sibilance.
All of which makes the Philips a product to get genuinely excited about.