Philips 47PFL9664 47in LCD TV - Philips 47PFL9664

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Philips 47PFL9664 47in LCD TV

Summary

Our Score:

9

As has long been the case with Philips’ top-end TVs, it’s their extraordinary sharpness that’s arguably their single most eye-catching facet. HD images look stunningly defined and crisp, for a start. But it’s the 47PFL9664’s standard definition pictures which, for my money, truly set a benchmark, containing levels of detail and clarity that no other brand can currently match.

What’s more, this terrific upscaling performance doesn’t come at the price of loads of horrible video noise - this suppression of noise being for me the single biggest improvement Philips has introduced for its latest Perfect Pixel generation.

The general sense of clarity I experienced with the 47PFL9664 also owes much to its motion handling prowess. For the combination of the Perfect Natural Motion processing and a '200Hz' (scanning backlight plus 100Hz) system helps to produce the most fluid, totally blur-free moving objects you’ll see on an LCD TV.

Also much improved over previous Philips LCD generations is the 47PFL9664’s black level response. Dark scenes contain really very little of the grey clouding for which LCD technology is generally justly infamed. Yet the black level response isn’t achieved at the expense of too much shadow detail, ensuring that dark scenes look nearly as 'three dimensional' as bright ones.

The 47PFL9664 is a chip off the old Philips block when it comes to colours too, combining blisteringly intense saturations with a noticeably wide dynamic range and plenty of blend finesse. The latest tweaks to the colour part of the Perfect Pixel HD engine also seem to help the 47PFL9664 produce more consistently natural tones - a fact reinforced by the impressive colour range now being delivered by the Ambilight system.

As hoped, the extra size of the 47PFL9664 really does help emphasise just how good the latest generation of Philips picture processing really has got. As ever, though, we have to say that it’s still not perfect. Even after careful calibration, for instance, there’s still the occasional flickery or edge shimmery artefact where the processing can’t quite live up to its own ambitions. But these instances are rarer and less obvious than ever before, leaving all the positives of Perfect Pixel HD even more dominant than they have been in earlier incarnations.

Pictures as good as those of the 47PFL9664 clearly deserve to be joined by some rollicking, home cinema-standard audio. But surely this won’t be the case with the 47PFL9664, right, given how slim it is?

Well, actually the set sounds pretty darned good. For as with other slim sets in Philips’ range, the 47PFL9664 cunningly sticks a couple of subwoofer speakers on its rear, which do a good job of underpinning with some healthy bass the clarity produced by the fore-mounted dome tweeters. There’s an audio lesson here that the makers of all ultra-slim TVs - but especially Samsung - should heed.

Verdict

The 47PFL9664 looks expensive on paper, there’s no denying that. But by the time you’ve taken its slim design, unparalleled feature count and stunning AV performance into account, it actually starts to look like something of a bargain.

Martin Daler

December 2, 2009, 5:04 am

The guy in the basement room who they pay to name these tellies - he needs to be let out and feel the sun on his face!

cxs

December 2, 2009, 2:30 pm

Great TV. I looked for ages for a replacement to my old Sony KDL32MRX1 - I couldn't find a better telly than the 9664 considering the picture, sound and features for the price.





Mine is wall-mounted, but as four of the HDMI ports on the rear face the wall it is tricky to mount and connect using HDMI cables even using 90 degree heads. As a result it is not quite an Essence-like slimline look, but then being a couple of inches off the wall appears to assist in throwing the ambilight across the wall, and that feature works beautifully.





Philips' NetTV portal is fun but the system seems a little slow to respond to me, despite using wired ethernet and 8mb ADSL. Maybe they are wary of encouraging the increased load the system would receive if they were to make a keyboard available..

timple

December 2, 2009, 3:56 pm

I still don't understand why anyone would buy a telly now when they could wait to get one with a Freeview HD tuner next year (esp high-end TVs like this). Are tv sales stalling at the moment or do the great british public neither understand or care?

Ed

December 2, 2009, 4:01 pm

@timple: I think the vast majority of people don't realise. It's a very valid point you raise but I'd argue it's more like two or three years before Freeview HD really starts to arrive at sensible prices. Also, you can always buy a seperate tuner - not ideal but acceptable.

Stu 2

December 2, 2009, 4:40 pm

I regularly read how labour intensive Philips TV's can be to make sure you are getting the best out of them.. Does this set or any of the Philips line allow you to save presets?

Ripsnorter

December 2, 2009, 6:18 pm

Excellent review, John. Philips really are making some great TVs these days. Any chance of you getting your mitts on the Philips Pro-LCD 46PFL9704 (it's user-friendly, trip-off-the-tongue name here in Germany)? That appears to offer even more awesomeness, at a suitably much, much higher price, of course.

rav

December 2, 2009, 6:23 pm

@timple


Or you could just buy a TV with integrated Freesat HD now. Although I do think there are more important features to consider with a TV than the tuners. External tuners can be easily added but if the display is a dud you can't exactly upgrade it.

Beaky69

December 2, 2009, 6:25 pm

@ cxs: I couldn't agree more about the problem of wall-mounting TVs and maintaining access to the various connections, including HDMI. Why don't manufacturers simply angle connections at 90 or 45 degrees in the first place? It wouldn't be a huge inconvenience to users who stand-mount their sets, surely? My Panasonic plasma has three HDMI sockets, but even with right angle adapters, I can only access two of them.

Ironduke

December 2, 2009, 6:29 pm

what sort of LED back lighting does this have?





doesnt look like you can have this mounted tight to the wall

Chris

December 2, 2009, 7:00 pm

@Stu: I agree, presets with distinct remote codes would be ideal. One for the BluRay, one for Sky, one for your games console, etc. I imagine that the individual settings for each input would be saved at least.





@timple: I've never really cared what kind of tuner my TV incorporates since for the last 10 years I've always used some kind of STB, be it Sky, TiVo or a Freeview PVR. I would think that anyone spending this kind of cash on a TV would be the same.

LovelyHead

December 2, 2009, 7:58 pm

I find it a bit odd that it isn't even mentioned that the 9664 was already reviewed by you, althought it was not the 47" but the 42" model (http://www.trustedreviews.com/....


It's the same Design and Features, but you give different scores! And the Image Quality too, but okay, the panels often present differences between sizes.

timple

December 3, 2009, 4:31 pm

@Ed - I think once Freeview HD tuners are launched they will become tablestakes very quickly and certainly not in 2 or 3 years.

CountryBumpkin

December 3, 2009, 6:04 pm

Was thinking about the Sony 46z5800 but this would probably have better picture quality that makes the loss of freesat worth it... am i right?? idk!

ffrankmccaffery

December 3, 2009, 6:32 pm

@chris: many people do care whether theyre televisions tuners can recieve the now increasingly expanding selection of high definition broadcasts. Especially after the recent showing of the wonderfull natural history series 'Life' on the BBC and the realisation that it could have also been viewed in high definition aswell. An external tuner box for many is a needless addition aswell as quite often an added source of confusion.


Im sure it cant be that difficult for television set manufacturers to fit the tuner components in a modular structure. Pioneer did so with their most recent Kuro range even allowing for satellite tuner cards as an option.

CountryBumpkin

December 4, 2009, 12:56 am

Wait why so some people mention LED? What is Phillips' best LED tv at the moment?

Virbo

December 4, 2009, 4:36 am

Basically, it's between this Philips model and Panasonic's P50V10 model for the best TV available on the market right now. I'm buying one for Christmas to go with my new Denon AVR-2310 and Kef 2005.3 surrounds, Ive seen them both and cant decide between the two! Could someone sway me either way?...

Tony Koorlander

December 4, 2009, 4:29 pm

Regarding LED - there is an equivalent LED backlit version of this TV and unlike Samsung, Philips use LED array backpanels giving more even illumoination and better brightness. I've seen it and it looks gorgeous.

Orinj

December 5, 2009, 5:12 pm

@Virbo - Go for the Panasonic! I've bought a Philips and Panasonic TV in the last two years and they're both fantastic. In my opinion, Plasma TVs still have the edge on picture quality and viewing angles and since they are a dying breed, why not be part of that legacy. Besides, you're getting an extra few inches with the Panasonic.

knobbynoo

December 7, 2009, 5:50 pm

there is an hdmi socket which is perfect for those wishing to mount their tv as close the wall as possible. it's underneath where the 4 main ones are. fwiw, in these days of hdmi-switchable AV receivers (with quality scalers etc built in) there is far less reason to have multiple hdmi cables into the panel itself.





this tv is excellent. it even manages to upscale some shoddy AVIs I have to make for relatively decent viewing. it hasn't failed to play any AVI I've chucked at it yet.

hatbrox

December 7, 2009, 7:37 pm

This TV already has freeview HD tuner built-in.


At least it's the case in France, Germany and the Netherlands. I don't see why Philips would maintain 2 production lines just to sell the set without the tuner in the UK.

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