Philips 47PFL9603D review

It looks pretty and pictures are excellent, but this Philips has a glut of picture options and is a bit of a pain to set up and use Tested at £1800.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

It looks pretty and pictures are excellent, but it’s a bit of a pain to set up and use


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    Gorgeous looking set with Ambilight on or off

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    fantastic detail and edge definition

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    one of the most balanced and natural colour performances around

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    great spec

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    decent sound


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    Pointless processing modes

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    ill-conceived remote

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    more noise than most

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Styling-wise manufacturers have two options: make a flatscreen that blends in, or make one that looks lovely.

Once you get above 42in, though, blending in isn't much of an option, so it's good news that this top-of-the-range (Full HD and four HDMIs) 47in Philips is a real stunner.

However, initial set-up isn't so great – you get pleasant menus, but you also get a nightmarish picture calibrator, which is exacerbated by an unresponsive click-wheel remote.

The problem is the glut of picture options – on top of the standard adjustments, you get a whole host of Perfect Pixel HD preferences. We spent hours experimenting with each one, and in the end decided that our favoured picture involved turning them all off. That's right: every one.

An extremely natural colour palette
Once that's done, the picture this Philips produces is lovely. The colour palette is one of the most natural and neutral around, so the Forgetting Sarah Marshall Blu-ray looks as vibrant as the Saving Private Ryan DVD looks subtle and subdued.

Both optical formats and the onboard Freeview tuner benefit from one of the sharpest and most detailed pictures of any TV in this class, revealing wrinkles on faces as well as delivering lovely three-dimensional scenery, the depth of which is enhanced by the Ambilight.

There is a price to be paid for this detail, though – noise. There's fuzziness in areas of flat colour, even when viewing high-definition material. This can be fixed by turning the noise reduction feature on, but this increases motion-smear.

Nevertheless, we're still very keen on the 'PFL9603D thanks to that exceptional detail and colour balance. Throw in a terrific sonic performance and you've got a great premium TV

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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