Other features of the TV are headed up by Pixel Plus 2 HD. Pixel Plus, for those of you not familiar with it, is a highly sophisticated Philips picture processing engine that delivers all manner of improvements to pictures, including better colour toning, superior edging, reduced noise and, most of all, enhanced fine detailing. As its name suggests, Pixel Plus 2 HD is the very latest, most powerful version of this technology, optimised for high definition pictures.
This latter point is important, since previous/lesser versions of Pixel Plus rather bizarrely have to actually downscale HD pictures to standard definition before they can then add their own extra detailing! Pixel Plus 2 HD works on HD in its native resolution, raising the prospect of the most detailed high definition pictures yet.
Another feature of the 37PF9830 that goes a long way towards explaining its relatively high cost is its native resolution of 1920x1080. This makes it one of only a handful of screens able to show full 1080i high definition sources without downscaling them to 768 lines or less. Now we’re talking specifications, other impressive claimed stats include a contrast ratio of 5000:1 (using the set’s Dynamic Contrast setting), and a response time of just 6ms – one of the lowest we’ve seen.
Before checking out if the 37PF9830’s native 1080 panel and Pixel Plus 2 HD processing makes all our HD dreams come true, it occurs to us that there is one glaring omission from this TV’s otherwise crowded feature table: a digital tuner. We know it’s hardly expensive to buy yourself an external Freeview receiver these days, but even so it’s surprising that such an otherwise cutting edge TV doesn’t save you the trouble.
Getting straight down to business by feeding the 37PF9830 HD signals from both an Xbox 360 and a JVC DVHS deck, the detail-boosting impact of Pixel Plus 2 HD is actually pretty amazing. HD images clearly exhibit even more texture and fine detail than normal, making you feel like you’re watching high definition times two.
Pixel Plus 2 isn’t just for HD stuff, though; it also works considerable magic on standard definition pictures from an attached Sky receiver, making the usually rather soft, unfocussed digital images look much sharper than we’re accustomed to seeing them.