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Philips Aurea 42PFL9903H 42in LCD TV review

John Archer




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Philips Aurea 42PFL9903H 42in LCD TV
  • Philips Aurea 42PFL9903H 42in LCD TV
  • Philips Aurea 42PFL9903H 42in LCD TV
  • Philips Aurea 42PFL9903H 42in LCD TV
  • Philips Aurea 42PFL9903H 42in LCD TV
  • Philips Aurea 42PFL9903H 42in LCD TV
  • Philips Aurea 42PFL9903H 42in LCD TV
  • Philips Aurea 42PFL9903H 42in LCD TV


Our Score:


Whether you loved it or loathed it, one thing you certainly couldn't do with Philips' debut Aurea TV was ignore it. For the way its bezel used a sophisticated array of LED light sources to provide a luminous, multi-coloured frame around its pictures was as outrageous as it was unique, making it a must-have background item for any self-respecting daytime TV show, and a consistent ‘stand out' product at technology shows the world over.

Even better, the original Aurea TV didn't just look fancy. Its so-called ‘light frame' effect actually seemed to improve the experience of watching the set's already impressive core picture quality.

There were only two big problems with the original Aurea from our point of view: its relatively high cost, and the fact that it seemed to be the televisual equivalent of Marmite, with people either being drawn to it like moths to a flame, or repelled by it as if it was some sort of TV antichrist.

Happily the second generation of Aurea TV, the 42in 42PFL9903, has a stab at tackling both of these original Aurea objections. Its price of £2,500, while certainly not cheap, is at least a few hundred pounds cheaper than its predecessor. And the new design Philips has created for the 42PFL9903 is a really striking improvement over the original Aurea, making it much easier to tempt people into the ‘love' rather than ‘hate' camp.

For starters, the light frame bezel looks much slinkier and cool thanks to the application of a full sheet of glass that uniformly covers both it and the screen. Second, the set now benefits from the chic transparent ‘shroud' effect curving forward around the TV's edges that's so illuminated Philips' other 9 Series models.

Next, Philips has considerably toned down the impact of the little 1.5cm or so ‘strip' that runs directly around the image just before the light frame starts. This inner frame was pretty much black on the original Aurea and so made a significant barrier between the picture and the supposedly complementary light frame. On the new Aurea, by comparison, this inner frame is almost white, and so creates much less of a distraction.


November 5, 2008, 4:05 pm

Is it me, or does Phillips use its Aurea technology to take away from the fact that at the core, their TVs are generally above average, and never at the top of the pile? I can't remember the last time someone mentioned Phillips in the same sentence as Sony, Samsung or Panasonic, who currently have some of the best TVs on the market, in a positive light.

Andy Vandervell

November 5, 2008, 4:29 pm

Not sure why you have that impression. We've always regarded Philips TVs very highly and with good reason. Aurea is simply an adjunct to the normal TV features.

Paul 7

November 5, 2008, 5:12 pm

Video review please???


November 5, 2008, 5:22 pm

A stunning set and I absolutely love the Aurea Light Frame effect. But I just don't think I could bring myself to shell out � for a 42" screen. In fact having just seen a full HD 1080p 42" set with a Samsung panel at Ebuyer for under 𧻞 (with 96 customer reviews giving an average 5/5 rating for the set) I wonder where the extra � of value comes in with this Philips one.

Geoff Richards

November 5, 2008, 5:54 pm

@Rsaeire - I think the number of 9 and 10/10s disagrees with you:


@Paul - sadly, the logistics of shipping these large TVs around the country means we aren't doing video reviews of TVs at this time. We are still developing our portfolio of video reviews and I can assure you TVs is on the list for the future. :)


November 5, 2008, 9:08 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watc... is apparently a video of the set in question.

prag fest

November 5, 2008, 10:15 pm

> 2 grand for a 42" telly? Nah, you're alright.

Matthew Bunton

November 5, 2008, 11:15 pm

No matter how good it is supposed to be that price is crazy imo.

I'll take a 50" Pioneer Kuro anyday over this.

lams 007

November 6, 2008, 5:50 am

Does this Tv looks better than a pioner Kuro?? maybe the second generation KUro


November 7, 2008, 3:19 pm

@Geoff - One needs only look at the users’ comments on AVForums and other such forums for their experience with Phillips TVs. I appreciate your comments regarding the review scores, but dozens of users can't all be wrong.

Jake Santman

November 8, 2008, 10:14 am

This may be a good TV, but it is the ugliest piece of furniture in my living room. I also hate this "neon light displäy" called Ambilight by Philips

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