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9/10

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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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