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It’s worth adding here that although the 20PF5320D shines with HD sources, it’s also far from being a slouch with standard definition stuff, be it from its own analogue tuner or especially an RGB-connected Sky/Freeview box. Such material looks clean and, for the most part, crisp, suggesting that the 20PF5320D’s scaling system is better than you might expect in this segment of the market.
Philips has managed to largely conquer the response time issues that besmirch many small LCDs too, meaning that its screen’s pixels can switch fast enough to reproduce horizontal motion without making it look overly smeared or blurred.
Everything we’ve described so far is enough to place the 20PF5320D in the premier league of small-screen LCDs. But the set does have one small Achilles Heel: its black levels. To be fair, most LCDs under 26in have trouble making dark picture areas look black rather than grey, and in fact compared with most small TVs the Philips’ black levels are actually pretty decent. They’re certainly good enough to make normal daytime TV fare look punchy enough. But there’s no denying that the darkest corners of a contrast-rich movie like Scream lack a little depth and detail, as traces of the familiar greyness rear their ugly head.
Sonically the 20PF5320D is about par for the small LCD course – which means it’s pretty average, really. The biggest problem as ever is a severe lack of bass, which can leave trebles sounding, high, dry and harsh during loud action scenes. Under less demanding conditions, however, the soundstage is punchy and clear enough to get the job done – even with a bit of pop music via the built-in radio tuner.
If you thought that having HD capability on a 20in TV didn’t matter, think again. Thanks to this Philips model’s specification and sheer picture performance grunt, the joys of HD no longer have to be restricted to the main TV in your living room.