Awards

  • Recommended by TR

Summary

Our Score

9/10

Pros

  • Picture quality beats price-point rivals
  • Attractive design, screen only 30mm thick
  • Great connectivity, plus net TV

Cons

  • No Freeview HD tuner
  • No Power Pixel HD engine
  • Some visible artefacting

Review Price £719.99

:
Key Features: 1080p LCD panel; Pixel Precise HD engine; SD card slot; Net TV; 500,000:1 dynamic contrast

Manufacturer: Philips

Philips’ latest mid-range TV, the 40in 40PFL7605, doesn’t have a Freeview HD tuner. Sorry to start so abruptly, but we really need to get this bare fact out there right away, just so there can be no confusion about it later, and so that people dead set on having a Freeview HD tuner built into their next telly have the option to stop reading now and move along to something else.


Just before all you Freeview HD lovers out there pop off, though, it’s worth pausing momentarily to consider whether Philips’ unquestionably short-sighted omission of Freeview HD tuners on all of its current and upcoming TVs really ought to be considered an instant deal breaker.

For as we’ll discover, in many ways the 40PFL7605H is a startlingly accomplished TV, considerably better in picture and sound terms than arguably any of its rivals. So dismissing it for the missing tuner might actually be cutting off your nose to spite your face, especially as external Freeview HD tuners aren’t exactly megabucks these days.

Anyway, we’re getting way ahead of ourselves here. So let’s get right back to basics by saying that the 40PFL7605H is a startlingly attractive TV for a mid-range model. Its distinctive grey frame with neatly rounded corners and fashionable outer transparent ‘shroud’ differs pleasingly from any other ‘look’ right now.


The screen is also extremely slender - under 30mm deep for a good portion of its rear - a result of using edge LED lighting. This makes it the first mid-range Philips TV to adopt this trendy tech.

Even better, despite the screen’s slenderness Philips has retained a ‘stereo’ incarnation of its increasingly clever Ambilight technology. It’s worth noting, too, that the Ambilight system features the newly introduced wall colour adaptability, where you can tell the TV what colour the wall behind your TV is so it can ‘remix’ its colours accordingly.

The only problem with the 40PFL7605’s exterior materialises while you’re fixing it to its stand or the wall. For it squeaks and ‘scrunches’ quite alarmingly while being manhandled, raising questions about its underlying build quality.


Connectivity is outstanding, however. Given the need to add an external HD tuner, it’s nice to find things leading off with a healthy four HDMIs - one built to v1.4 spec for Audio Return Channel functionality.

The set also sports a USB port that can either take Philips’ optional USB Wi-Fi adaptor (the PTA01), or else play back a wide variety of photo, music and video codecs. These include JPEG, WMA, AAC, H264/MPEG-4 AVC, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV9/VC1 and the AVI and MKV containers. All of which really highlights the inadequacies of the multimedia ‘support’ reported with the Toshiba 40SL753 a couple of days ago.

Impressively for a mid-range TV, the 40PFL7605H also allows you to play the same sorts of codecs from networked, DLNA PCs via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. And even better, we’re pleased and surprised to find that the TV gives you access to Philips’ Net TV platform.

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