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Philips Aurea 42PFL9903H 42in LCD TV
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.