Given the cutting edge impression the 46PFL9704H has created so far, of course, it seems a bit clunky to depend on an Ethernet port for the TV’s online capabilities. So it comes as no surprise to find that the 46PFL9704H also carries built-in Wi-Fi support, without any need for an optional dongle of the sort most rival brands insist you use to make their TVs Wi-Fi ready.
All this and we’ve still barely scratched the surface of everything the 46PFL9704H has to offer. So let’s move swiftly into its Perfect Pixel HD processing system - a frighteningly powerful and comprehensive engine that I believe delivers the most profound impact to picture quality of any picture engine around today.
As I’ve noted many times before in Philips TV reviews, the sheer power of Perfect Pixel HD can actually become problematic if you don’t commit to regularly adjusting some of the picture tweaks provided in the voluminous onscreen menus. For instance, the Perfect Natural Motion element of the system can cause distracting processing artefacts with motion-heavy content. So you should turn it down or off when there’s a chance of this cropping up.
Provided you spend time getting the best from it, though, the results achieved by the latest Perfect Pixel HD engine can be nothing short of spectacular, as we’ll see presently.
Before we get into image performance, though, there are still more key specifications we should cover. Starting with the fact that the direct LED engine at the TV’s heart features local dimming, whereby the TV can individually control no less than 224 different LED light clusters behind the screen. This means the set has the potential - to an impressively ‘local’ degree - to have some LED clusters running at full brightness at the same time others are turned almost completely off.
As you might guess, the result of this should be a contrast performance that thrashes the living daylights out of anything a typical, CCFL-lit LCD TV can do. In fact, Philips puts a number of 5,000,000:1 on the 46PFL9704H’s contrast performance, which actually humbles the figures of many plasma TVs, never mind LCD ones. It’s hard not to feel impressed/excited by this contrast ratio, despite the wariness with which all such figures need to be treated.
The final important 46PFL9704H feature to mention is its 200Hz processing. As with Panasonic and LG’s 600Hz systems, the 200Hz label is a touch misleading in that the screen doesn’t actually refresh its image fully 200 times a second. But the Philips combination of 100Hz and a scanning backlight has achieved impressive results in the past, to the extent that we’ve even heard rival manufacturers talking enviously about how well it works.
The only obvious and genuinely slightly painful feature omission - especially given the TV’s cost - is a Freeview HD tuner. But then I feel reasonably confident that anyone considering forking out for a TV as sophisticated and ‘premium’ as the 46PFL9704H will already have either a Freesat HD box or, more likely, Sky HD.