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Philips 42PFL8404 42in LCD TV review

John Archer



Our Score


Review Price free/subscription

From the front, the 42PFL8404 looks fully set to be another cutting edge, feature-packed, performance, rather than price-focussed Philips TV. For its bezel really is remarkably slim - less than an inch across. Plus the design enjoys an extra futuristic touch in the shape of a see-through shroud that curves around from the TV's back to stand a cm or so proud of the main black frame.

However, as with a large person wearing a tight corset, this seriously slender facade actually hides a rear end that sticks out surprisingly far, making the TV feel rather out of proportion.

Now that a chunky butt has alerted us to the possibility that the 42PFL8404 might not be quite so envelope-pushing as I'd first anticipated, my eye falls on another important clue: Pixel Precise HD video processing.

While it's easy to get confused by all the various pixel-focussed video processing iterations Philips has delivered over the past few years, I'm confident that Pixel Precise HD is not a name I've seen before. And further investigation of the name finds that it's a new mid-range system, sitting between the aging Pixel Plus HD processing system now found on the Philips' entry-level 5 Series models, and the all-singing, all-dancing, already proven Perfect Pixel HD system found on the brand's new 9 Series.

To put this in more accurate context, Pixel Precise HD is essentially an evolution of Pixel Plus HD 3 and some technologies of last year's generation of Perfect Pixel HD, able to process 250 million pixels per second compared with the 500 million pixels per second handled by the latest Perfect Pixel HD engine. It will be very interesting indeed to find out how this new mid-range processor performs 'in the field'. Especially since, at just £999 all in, the 42PFL8404 is much more affordable than the majority of Philips' recent TV output.

Also, it's fair to say that while the 42PFL8404's processing specification isn't the latest/most powerful, its remaining feature count is still pretty extensive compared with the majority of 42in TVs that come my way.

Starting with the immediately obvious stuff, we find Ambilight Spectra 2 shining colour light sympathetic to the image content from the TV's left and right sides; and connectivity which includes a healthy four HDMIs, a USB port, and an Ethernet port you can use for either accessing content on a DLNA-certified PC or the Internet.

As with the 32PFL9604 we looked at a while back, the 'Net TV' service on the 42PFL8404 is currently unique in the mainstream TV world for allowing you full access to the Internet, via a surprisingly usable interface.

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July 29, 2009, 9:37 pm

"However, as with a large person wearing a tight corset, this seriously slender facade actually hides a rear end that sticks out surprisingly far, making the TV feel rather out of proportion."

A photo of this would have been good.

Darren Burn

August 3, 2009, 10:55 pm

Quick question - does the Philips Net TV allow you to therefore go onto the iPlayer website and watch content directly from there on your TV - or would you need to hook up a HDMI laptop

Barry Heffron

December 1, 2009, 7:31 pm

As i see your main gripe with this seems to be that for the money, you can find better options from Sony and Samsung.

I have found this TV for £830 inc VAT so would this make it a more viable alternative at that price, which is closer to the price of the Philips 42PFL7404 42in.


December 2, 2009, 5:36 pm

Hi Barry,

Where did you see that price ?


Barry Heffron

January 12, 2010, 3:36 pm

Hi boomboomshake,

I saw it for 830 in Richer Sounds in Belfast but you can try their website for your local one.

However, they couldn't get stock of it so i didn't buy it.

Luckily enough, i did see it in Laser electrical a week later for 799 and bought one.

They are a Northern Ireland based retailer so i don't know of that is any use to you.


February 4, 2010, 3:59 pm

Nobody else find it strange that he almost only compare it to the 8k more expensive philips topmodell to trashtalk it, instead of just comparing it to the other tv's in its priceclass?

Also I would like to see in reviews a differencial between most natural look and a colourful fantasy world look, as it seems most reviewers are obsessed that it should look normal\natural....I want my tv to look magic with bright strong colours and good contrast not plain and boring like the panasonic g10 delivers....though this is the tv that gets the better review

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