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Philips 42PFL7603D 42in LCD TV review

John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Philips 42PFL7603D 42in LCD TV


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Everyone knows you've got to keep moving to stay alive in today's cut-throat TV marketplace. But nobody seems to take this mantra quite as seriously as Philips. Every successive Philips TV generation for the last few years has introduced not only major advances in image technology, but also radically different designs. And if the new 42PFL7603D is anything to go by, this trend shows no sign of letting up - at least on the design front.

For the 42in 42PFL7603D is the first set we've seen from Philips' new ‘Design Collection' series of products, which introduces a really quite radical new look to both the brand's TVs and some of its source equipment.

The key elements of this design are: the introduction of a much slimmer frame than we're used to seeing on a Philips TV; the fact that this frame is completely free of speakers or speaker grilles, giving it a lovely smooth, polished finish; and the addition of a cute little ‘extravagance' in the form of what Philips calls a ‘signature clear shroud' - a clear chunk of plastic that curves forward around the bezel's outer edge.

This curvature isn't just there for the sake of it, either; it serves two practical purposes too. First, it allows the shroud to capture light to give the TV a sort of halo effect. Second, it helps project sound forward towards the viewer from the ‘hidden' speaker system tucked away inside the TV's bodywork. Nifty.

When we talked about ‘capturing light' back there, we should add that we weren't just talking about the ambient light in your living room. For in keeping with all of Philips' reasonably high-spec TVs, the 42PFL7603D employs the company's Ambilight technology, whereby coloured light sympathetic to the image content can be set to spill out from the TV's edges, in a bid to make long-term viewing both more immersive and more relaxing on the eye.

The Ambilight system here utilises Philips' latest LED light sources in a ‘stereo' configuration, meaning coloured light spills from the TV's left and right sides, with each side able to be different. In other words, if the left side of the picture is predominantly blue and the right side of the picture is predominantly red, the left side of the TV will emit a bluish glow while the right side of the picture will emit a reddish glow. Simple, but very, very effective.

As usual with a TV that sits reasonably high up Philips' range, the 42PFL7603D features we've talked about so far are really just the tip of a vast feature iceberg.

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June 9, 2008, 6:07 pm

Damn, I wish I'd waited. I've got an early generation ambilight TV which is excellent but nothing like as stylish as this thing. Good value too. Maybe I can off load mine on e-bay and start again...


June 18, 2008, 5:06 am

You should start adding PC output evaluations in each HD set review. I.e. can you output unaltered 1080p signal through HDMI to your Radeon 3450 etc etc.

Mark 1

June 20, 2008, 6:38 pm

I would also be grateful for a section on how a PC performed with each TV (picture/text quality and if it achieves 1:1 Pixel mapping @ 1920x1080.

I know PC's can vary so much but if you refered to a reference PC with a .... graphics card it would give a good indication as to what to expect.

Currently I have to look through forums to piece together how different TV respond to PC use.


June 26, 2008, 4:31 pm

Does this TV support 1920x1080 pixelmapping for PC’s?


June 26, 2008, 11:49 pm

Dosent look like 7603 has pixelmapping, but 9603 might have.

Philips website says:


640 x 480, 60, 72, 75, 85 Hz, 800 x𧍘, 60, 72, 75, 85 Hz, 1024 x 768, 60, 70, 75, 85 Hz, Via HDMI-/DVI-inngang,


640 x 480, 60 Hz, 800 x 600, 60 Hz, 1024 x 768, 60 Hz, 1280 x 768, 60 Hz, 1360 x 768, 60 Hz, 1920 x�i, 60 Hz, 1920 x�p, 60 Hz


July 7, 2008, 11:48 am

I have the 47PFL7603D/10

You must read the user manual!You can download it. Her is a copy from my norwegian.

Yes! The TV support 1920x1080, 60 hz.

• PC-formater

Oppløsning Oppdateringshastighet

640 x 480 60 Hz

800 x 600 60 Hz

1024 x 768 60 Hz

1920 x 1080i 60 Hz

1920 x 1080p 60 Hz

Louis 1

July 11, 2008, 2:40 am

I purchased this tv 2 months ago because it was on sale for $300 USD off. I almost returned it because it didn't have the 120 Htz anti-blur technology that other brands tv's sold in the US have. I searched TR for a review on this unit but couldn't find one. I decided to evaluate it during my 90 day return window.

My evaluation was to simulate some of the viewing tests that some of the reviewers in TR performed on 4 other highly rated brands of tv's. I purchased the DVDs and forwarded to the scenes they used. The color, detail, picture quality, lack of motion blur, and full, rich, undistorted sound have all matched or surpassed the descriptions that TR wrote in the other tv brands reviews. And now after reading a post-hoc TR evaluation of the unit I can confirm John's review is spot on. And despite not having the latest Perfect Pixel or 120 Htz technology this unit easily performs at the top of its class. I'm so glad I didn't return it. Buy this TV.


July 15, 2008, 2:44 pm

I bought this TV and I am really happy with it. However the set had a manufacturing fault, I had it replaced and the replacment TV had exactly the same fault. I contacted Philips "Consumer Care" a number of times to inform them about the manufacturing / production control issue / fault but couldn't get them to take pro-active action, they just kept referring me back to the retailer for a repair or replacement. Well, a third replacement TV again had the same fault, still Philips took no proactive action. It wasn't until I received the fourth TV that I received a fault free TV. The fault in question was that none of the buttons on the side of the TV (power on/off, Menu, Volume, ect) worked.

Kevin Marshall

August 6, 2008, 3:00 pm

Looking at buying this TV but I find that most places that I would like to order from sell the 42PFL7603D/10 (notice the /10 at the end) this only has 3 HDMI ports and unsure what else is different. Can anyone help with this?


August 20, 2008, 4:54 pm

Is there a possibility that you might review the 32" version of this model (32PFL7603D) or even maybe the 100Hz version (32PFL7403D/12)? I am considering to buy one of these TVs and would like a second opinion. I was lucky to find such a site as this but unfortunately did not have the reviews I was after. Thank you


September 9, 2008, 8:30 pm

Please, Please, Please can you review the 37pfl7603. I think this is the model that suits most average size living rooms. I am considering one and I would like to see what others think

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