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Philips Cineos 32PFL9603D/10 32in LCD TV review

John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Philips Cineos 32PFL9603D/10 32in LCD TV


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Boy, is Philips' TV range complicated, or what? Before typing a single word of this review, I've had to do a good hour of research with various press kits, online materials and a huge instruction manual before I could pinpoint exactly where the 32PFL9603 fits within the Philips hierarchy.

The simple fact is that Philips is rare in the TV world for employing a wide range of different technology generations across its current TV models. To some extent these different generations are signposted by pricing, but that only tells part of the story.

And so questions I've had to answer have included what sort of Ambilight system the 32PFL9603 carries; which generation of Philips picture processing the set uses; whether there are any quirks within that processing ‘suite' (there were!); what native resolution it's got; and even what type of sound system is onboard.

I tell you all this not simply to make you think that reviewing TVs is a hard life (!), but simply to alert anyone thinking of buying a Philips TV to the fact that you have to be more careful to read the ‘small print' than you do with any other brand I can currently think of.

Anyway, now that's all out of the way, let's get down to business. Starting with the fact that the 32PFL9603 could just be the most attractive 32in TV Philips has ever built, and is at the very least a rival for the classiest moments from design-minded brands such as Loewe and Samsung.

The black panel around the screen gets the ball rolling with its intensely reflective finish and tastefully rounded corners, all offset by an elegant silver trim. But where the set really stands out is with its distinctive translucent ‘cowl' that curves forward from the TV's rear to stand proud from the rest of the TV bezel by a centimetre or so.

As well as looking attractive in its own right, this cowl serves two handy practical purposes as well. First, it helps push sound from the TV's ‘invisible' speakers down its sides towards your seating position. And second it adds a subtle extra dimension to the set's Ambilight Spectra 2 system.

Ah yes, Ambilight Spectra 2. Ambilight describes the situation - still unique to Philips, so far as I know - whereby LED lights built into the TV's sides can emit coloured light in sympathy with the colour content of the image being shown.

The Spectra 2 bit shows that the Ambilight system in the 32PFL9603 is a) a ‘stereo' incarnation, meaning light spills only from the TV's left and right sides, not the top edge as well, and b) that the Ambilight processing includes a new ‘timing delay' element that enables the light reproduction to more effectively present movement, emphasising the sense of brightly coloured objects passing from one side of the screen to the other.

Needless to say, as well as making long-term viewing more relaxing, all this Ambilight Spectra stuff merely enhances the 32PFL9603's aesthetic glories.

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July 9, 2008, 6:51 pm

Are you planning on testing the 42" version? If you are, do you know when?

I’m really keen on buying it, but it would be nice to see a review first.. :)


July 9, 2008, 7:53 pm

Philips couldn't be any more confusing with their naming schemes even if they tried - i can't understand why they don't just say "TV 1" and "TV 2" and "TV with little glowy bits on it"...

as far as i'm concerned the Philips 42PFL7603D is the closest 42 inch equivalent to this set.


Luan Bach

July 9, 2008, 10:07 pm

No, the Philips 42PFL7603D is lower down the range. The 42" version would be Philips 42PFL9603D, note the L9 instead of L7.


July 10, 2008, 12:59 am

Another vote for a review of the 42PFL9603 here. I've read some forum posts that the black level is lacking on the 42 inch version, so would be really interested in Trusted Reviews verdict on it.

Thanks for the reviews :-)


July 10, 2008, 1:54 am

I would vote for the 42PFL9703. This one has extra's Ambilight Sepctra 3 and a Wide Colour Gamut LCD (what that may be..). Strange that de 32" has a dynamicc ontrast ratio 55000:1 and all 37" and 42" (9603 and 9703)models 'only' 30000:1.

Andrew 1

July 10, 2008, 3:15 pm

I'm torn between 2 TV's, the Sony KDL-32W4000 or the Philips 32PFL9603? Which one would you go for?


July 12, 2008, 12:24 am

where else can i get this from cos its only avalible from one shop and all the comet links dont work

Jack Maks

July 14, 2008, 6:30 pm

After two months of research on 32" lcd's, there is simply no better product on the market at this point in time. Got mine last week at 𧾈 that price represents outstanding value. Pictures look freakishly real with levels of detail and black on another level to anything from Samsung or Sony.


July 15, 2008, 2:26 pm

Can you guys tell me what settings you are using for your 32" sets?



August 18, 2008, 2:29 pm

where did u get this tv for 𧾈? sounds amazin

the 32w4000 freeview is terriable, saw it at a friends house and was shocked, only a few channels looked good


November 4, 2008, 9:19 pm

Ordered this TV yesterday, so excited now after reading the review, playing around with the settings is half the fun for me! The Sony 32kdlw4000 was a possible other option and though it is cheaper the look of the Philips makes it worth it (very shallow of me I know).


November 4, 2008, 11:03 pm

Forgot to say that I got it for 𧽳 with free delivery from PRC Direct.

iain coghill

November 26, 2008, 11:23 pm

I have tried to buy one but it seems that all the places with an OK price are now out-of-stock. RGB Direct are now saying they have been discontinued :( I hope Philips come up with a replacement soon.


November 27, 2008, 1:46 am

Ah - that is just great! I have had the same issue trying to find a stockist, but surely it can't be discontinued (review was only a few months ago)ts not the Philips, then my back up is the Panasonic X32LZD85.

Geoff Richards

November 27, 2008, 2:43 am

I didn't have much luck trying to find you guys a stockist, yet it's still listed on Philips' website and there's no obvious replacement model(s). With two potential sales up for grabs, I'll try Philips PR in the morning to see what they can suggest.


November 27, 2008, 11:02 pm

I sent an email to priceless electronics as their site listed it as "awaiting stock". The reply to my question about when they expect to get more in stock was that the 9603D has been discontinued and no longer available. May be there is truth in this story?

Would be intersting to find out why esp if it is as good as it sounds

iain coghill

December 3, 2008, 3:16 pm

Well it seems Philips do have a replacement, the new 32PFL9613D/10 - similar spec but 100Hz. See http://www.p4c.philips.com/fil.... A review would be nice :)


December 30, 2008, 4:13 pm

I have a 32PFL9603D and it really is the best TV I've ever seen by far, both for picture quality and looks. Just superb.

Originally Philips stated that they didn't need 100Hz technology for the 32" because the panel came from a different manufacturer to those used in the rest of the Cineos range, so had different response characteristics. Will be in interesting to see how much better the 32PFl9613D is. Perhaps the original panel supplier got too expensive, so an upgrade was needed?

(As far as stockists, I got mine from Digital Direct - http://www.digitaldirect.co.uk... - very good price and service.)

Sam 3

January 5, 2009, 8:45 pm

I happened across a 32PFL9613D in House of Fraser with a 5 year warranty for 𨀻, that another customer had ordered but not taken. I can't compare it to the 9603 but i love it. As I upgraded from a 15" CRT it's very difficult to judge the benefits of the 100Hz tech over 60Hz, but the motions seems pretty nice. I have noticed whilst playing games via my PS3 that if you don't use the game setting you get major motion blur and lag but the game screen settings sort this out quite adequately.

Barry Hawkes

January 8, 2009, 9:27 pm

I have a 32PFL9613D. I managed to pick it up in Totenham Ct Rd, London. I think the shop is Shansonic! Since getting it I've had some friends over and they couldn't beleive how good this TV's picture is. Wall-e' is amazing and Batman Dark knight is fantastic. I have seen a lot of good pictures but as LCD's go this is remarkable, If you can find a stockist I would recomend having a look at one hooked up to blueray it may just make you buy it then and there!! but it does take some setting up. Best 𧾈 Ive spent on tech.

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