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If you're not familiar with the whole Pixel Plus shebang, it was originally conceived as a processing system for adding extra fine detail to images, but in subsequent generations its remit expanded to take in colour controls and noise reduction routines. And in this reviewer's humble opinion, it was with the arrival of Pixel Plus 2 HD that the processing engine really came of age.
Of course, though, quite a bit of picture processing water has gone under the bridge since Pixel Plus 2 HD's debut. Philips' latest flagship TVs now sport Perfect Pixel Engine processing, which is nominally two generations on from Pixel Plus 2 HD. But so great a leap forward is the Perfect Pixel Engine that Pixel Plus 2 HD now kind of feels like it's three or four generations old. Hmm.
Other smaller features up the 32PFL7762D's sleeves include a contrast booster, standard noise reduction processing, ‘artifact' noise reduction processing predominantly aimed at smoothing away the blocky MPEG noise inherent to many digital broadcasts, and something called ‘Active Control'. This is actually an optional automatic picture optimiser that continually adjusts various picture elements to try and always make them look their best. But I have to say, without sounding cocky or anything, that I personally preferred to select the picture settings myself with the help of my trusty DVD Essentials disc than leave some computerised system to do it for me. Sniff.
Normally when you're talking about a 32in LCD TV around the £500 mark, you'd be looking at having to accept some pretty major performance compromises. But not today.
Take, for instance, the 32PFL7762D's sharpness with HD footage. For even though the screen is relatively small at 32in, the stunning amount of detail in an HD source like Casino Royale on Blu-ray is really quite breathtaking. You can make out individual pores in people's faces, the weave in people's shirts, even the lines on the bomb-maker's fingers as he reads his mobile phone text near the film's start… If there's a budget 32in TV out there that looks sharper with HD, we've not seen it.
The good news continues with the discovery that the sharpness is only slightly damaged when the image gets moving, as during Casino Royale's kinetic Free Running sequence. Presumably thanks to a combination of a good innate LCD response time and the Pixel Plus 2 HD processors, the 32PFL7762D does a great job of both retaining resolution over moving objects and avoiding smearing as things charge across the screen.
Not that the 32PFL7762D only makes HD look crisp and sharp, though. It also works wonders on standard definition compared with many more modern processing rivals, producing an upscaled standard definition picture that really does look at least mid-way between standard and high definition. Better still, this extra sharpness is achieved with remarkably little attendant grain or other video noise.