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Philips 42PFL7603D 42in LCD TV - Philips 42PFL7603D/10

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Philips 42PFL7603D 42in LCD TV


Our Score:


Starting with the most basic specifications, highlights include a rather marvellous four v1.3 HDMI inputs; a USB port for playing JPEG, MP3 and .alb slideshow files; the increasingly inevitable full HD resolution; and a very high claimed contrast ratio of 30,000:1.

Obviously such contrast figures always need to be taken with a pinch of salt, and can only be achieved via a dynamic contrast system that dims the backlight when dark scenes are detected to boost black level response. But at the very least the 30,000:1 figure suggests that the 42PFL7603D will be able to reach the dark parts most other LCD TVs simply cannot reach.

Perhaps the most ‘controversial' feature of the 42PFL7603D is its image processing system. For while Philips introduced the outstanding Perfect Pixel Engine HD system on last year's top-end TVs, this new mid-range set ‘only' carries the slightly older and less powerful Pixel Plus 3 HD system. This means it lacks a few of the subtle refinements of the Perfect Pixel Engine - and this is reflected just a touch in

But let's be fair about this; the 42PFL7603D is reasonably priced for a 42in LCD TV, and by comparing it with other TVs in the same sort of price ball-park, Pixel Plus 3 HD - with its focus in particular on noise reduction, adding detail and colour management - looks like a more than powerful enough tool to give the 42PFL7603D a potentially decisive edge.

Especially as it's accompanied by Philips' HD Natural Motion. This is effectively a massively souped up version of the Digital Natural Motion circuitry Philips developed a few years back to remove judder from moving images. And if it works as well as it did on last year's PFL9632D range, we should find it working wonders here, too.

There are reams of other, smaller adjustments we could mention within the 42PFL7603D's onscreen menus, but for the sake of brevity - and possibly sanity - we'll restrict ourselves to quick nods to MPEG and standard noise reduction systems; Active Control (which automatically adjusts multiple elements of the picture based on assessment of the image content); the fact that you can adjust the potency of the HD Natural Motion circuitry; and a decent colour management system.

Before getting onto the actual testing part of this review, it would be remiss of me not to point out that the reams of picture options here do make it one of the more complex TVs to set up well. Especially since so many of the options can have a really profound impact on picture quality.

So I urge you to devote a considerable amount of time adjusting the picture to perfection for each separate AV input, since if you don't you could end up with a performance level that sells the TV - and yourself - seriously short.


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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