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Philips Aurea 42PFL9903H 42in LCD TV - Philips Aurea 42PFL9903H

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Philips Aurea 42PFL9903H 42in LCD TV


Our Score:


If you've got a good memory(!), you might remember that I said there were two reasons why the new Light Frame technology used by Aurea II is better than that used by the original Aurea. And the second reason is that the new Aurea approach brings much more precise frame colour matching to the table.

In other words, Philips has improved the light frame's colour reproduction to the point where it can produce shades much more tonally consistent with the content of pictures. This perhaps doesn't sound such a big deal when you just write it down like that, but believe me when I say that it actually has a profound impact, enabling the frame to forge a much closer bond with the image - and thus with you - than was the case before.

I should add at this point that the 42PFL9903 has LED lights on its rear as well as around its bezel, so that pools of immersive coloured light - dubbed a ‘sensorial halo'! - also spill across the wall behind the TV. This means that in an ideal world you'll be able to stand the TV in front of a white wall, or even hang the TV from a white wall to best appreciate everything the TV has to offer. But if this isn't possible in your home, then at least you still get the impact of the forward-firing light frame - something you wouldn't get with a standard Philips Ambilight set, where the coloured light only comes out of the TV's rear sides.

Having established that the 42PFL9903's Light Frame/Ambilight Spectra system is far more accomplished than that of the previous Aurea model, it's nice to find, too, that the new set is impressively loaded with other features. The set's connectivity, for instance, includes four HDMIs, a DLNA-certified Ethernet jack so that you can access MP3, .alb slideshow, JPEG, and MPEG1/2 movie files on your PC and home network, plus a USB jack for playing the same sort of multimedia files from USB storage devices.

It's also good to find the 42PFL9903 sporting not only a Full HD resolution and a Wide Colour Gamut backlight system, but also Philips' Perfect Pixel Engine HD image processing engine - the same key technology that recently made the Philips 42PFL9703D such a winner.

Since we've necessarily had to spend a large chunk of this review focussing on the 42PFL9903's key Ambilight/Light Frame technologies, I won't go into detail here on exactly what the Perfect Pixel Engine does, referring you instead to the 42PFL9703D review. But what I will say is that as with the 42PFL9703D, the Perfect Pixel Engine HD really helps the new Aurea TV produce picture quality to die for.

Fine detail levels are absolutely outstanding with standard and high definition sources alike, for instance, and the image is extremely bright. Also, motion is superbly handled thanks to the TV's 100Hz Natural Motion processing, and colours are luxuriously rich and vibrant. Plus, of course, colours gain an extra boost thanks to their reinforcement by the whole Ambilight Spectra/Light Frame situation.


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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