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Philips 42PFL9803H 42in LED LCD TV - Philips 42PFL9803H

John Archer

By John Archer


  • Recommended by TR
Philips 42PFL9803H 42in LED LCD TV


Our Score


Review Price free/subscription

Another interesting side effect of the 42PFL9803H's relative motion talents is the way I found myself more comfortable with the ‘max' setting of Philips HD Natural Motion engine than I have with Philips' normal LCD TVs. With those other LCDs the processing glitches I experienced using HD Natural Motion on Max were often very distracting, but with the 42PFL9803H, perhaps because the processing doesn't have to continually work quite so hard, I sometimes found the Max setting to seem more natural looking and less glitchy than the lower setting! That said, I'd still recommend turning the HD Natural Motion off completely while watching sport or particularly frenetic action films such as, well, pretty much anything directed by John Woo...

The main focus of HD Natural Motion is, of course, to counter the usual LCD problems with judder and resolution loss as objects cross the screen. And it works so well on the 42PFL9803H that its pictures, when there's movement going on, are way cleaner and clearer than you'll see with practically any other LCD TV we can think of.

This plays a key role in another 42PFL9803H talent: outstanding detail and sharpness with HD footage. Philips' processing engines have long been ahead of the curve when it comes to bringing out or even adding detail to pictures and the 42PFL9803H continues the trend. Its HD images frequently look breathtakingly packed with texture and the lovely image minutiae that makes HD so utterly lovable. Especially since, as we've seen, the 42PFL9803H's HD images don't break down nearly as much as with normal LCD TVs when image elements start moving about.

Don't assume from all this talk of HD that the 42PFL9803H doesn't care for standard definition, though. On the contrary, the Perfect Pixel Engine can upscale standard def images to the screen's Full HD resolution uncannily well, adding sharpness and detail without nearly as much accompanying video noise as usual.

The 42PFL9803H has two final aces up its sleeve, meanwhile, which actually mark it out as superior even to Samsung's LE55A956 LED set. The first of these ‘aces' concerns blooming, where particularly bright elements can appear with a noticeable misty ‘halo' around them. This is markedly less pronounced with the Philips than with the Samsung - so much so that you may not ever be aware of it on the 42PFL9803H unless you deliberately set out to look for it.

The 42PFL9803H's other big advantage over the Samsung LED model concerns viewing angles. We found we could watch the Philips from much further down its sides without the picture degrading. In fact, in this respect the 42PFL9803H also scores another plus over the vast majority of standard LCD TVs, too.

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November 17, 2008, 6:49 am

what does the "Danish water supply" have to do with this television? Philips is a DUTCH company.


November 17, 2008, 8:35 am

There might be 'something pretty amazing in the Danish water supply' indeed (especially considering the ladies of Copenhagen), however in conjunction with Philips, the 'special' ingredient would more likely be in the Dutch water...

Matthew Hunt

November 17, 2008, 10:12 am

Danish water supply? Shouldn't that read Dutch water supply? Good looking TV though, nice review.

Jacob 1

November 17, 2008, 1:35 pm

yeah, I did also stumble upon that =) Did you write the review late =D

And I'm Dansih, so you should have heard me last night, talking to my girlfriend, looking like 1 big questionmark, saying, "Philips ISSN'T DANISH, IIIIIIIIIIS IIIIIIIIIIT?" =D

Geoff Richards

November 17, 2008, 1:42 pm

An honest slip of the keyboard I'm sure guys. This has been corrected. The Dutch and TrustedReviews - both orange, so let's stick together :)


November 17, 2008, 1:47 pm

Two things. The aluminium surround - not sure about that - and the price - eek! ٠ grand for a 42" TV. Is is really worth 100% more than say a Panasonic TH42PZ81?

James Egginton

November 17, 2008, 4:54 pm

Hey all. I got this set myself on Friday and I agree with this article completely. The level of details in this screen is amazing and the balcks are fantastic. one thing to note which was picked up on in this review is that it is really important you get your setting right. One example is that if you set you Brightness too hi you are going to see severe cases of Blooming whereas get them just right and you'll be amazed at the picture.

One thing I would like to point out which I don't think was mentioned in the review is how this TV set deals with Game consols. As people may know the previous Philips LCDs have had a terrible time with Lag making some games unplayable. Well I am pleased to report that this is no-longer the case with this LCD tv. They have create a GAME mode that minimises most of the processing the TV is doing whilst not compromising the picture quality. i was able to play Guitar Hero on hard and still achieve my usual high scores so that is another import thing that Philips have got right for this tv.

Jordan McClements

November 17, 2008, 5:25 pm

I think (and I am sure many would agree these days) that you should have 'Power Consumption' in the spec sheet.


November 18, 2008, 6:38 am

I wonder if they will be making a new version of the HTS8140 Ambisound Home Cinema System in the same aluminum/silver as these TVs. If I were to get one of these (I'm in the US so I think I have to wait) I'm glad the sound got good praise as I'd like to get a soundbar from Philips to match.

My guess is Philips will upgrade other products to have the same look and match them all; they're good at that. :)



November 26, 2008, 11:35 pm

So, the ultimate question - this or a 50" KURO?


November 27, 2008, 6:36 pm

One of the best LCD Tv's what i have ever seen. If some one ask me, what i choose. I answer. I choose Philips 42PFL9803H.

It's realy something amazing in LCD TV


February 14, 2010, 5:20 am

does anyone have a recommended list of settings for various/general viewing?

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