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Philips 42PF9631D 42in Plasma TV - Philips 42PF9631D

Another key – if more controversial – feature of the 42PF9631D is hinted at by a curious claimed native resolution of 1,024 x 1,080i. On the one hand this resolution looks pretty exciting with its ‘full HD’ 1080 line count. But then it also looks rather puzzling with its mere 1024 vertical rows when a proper full HD picture would have 1,920. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this TV is nearly square rather than widescreen (though it isn’t, of course).

The reason for this resolution curio is something called Alternate Lighting of Surfaces – or ALIS for short. As briefly as possible, ALIS combines an expanded phosphor area with electrodes that light the area between the pixels as well as the pixels themselves to deliver a perceived interlaced resolution of 1080 lines, even though the actual pixel count is only half that.

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Admittedly this sounds a bit dodgy when you strip it down as far as we just did - and there’s no getting round the fact that since the vertical rows only number 1,024 rather than 1,920, HD pictures are still going to have to be processed and resized more than they would be for a true 1,920 x 1,080 TV. But the system is deemed good enough by the industry to earn the 42PF9631D its HD Ready wings.

Another initially confusing feature discovery is Pixel Plus 2 HD image processing when other Philips TVs now use Pixel Plus 3 HD. But actually this merely marks the 42PF9631D out as a mid-range set, since it has become common practice for Philips to use different generations of Pixel Plus as a means of differentiating sets across its massive flat TV range. That’s not to say, though, that we won’t still feel the loss of the new noise reduction systems Pixel Plus 3 HD brings to the table.

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