If you've started reading this in the hope that we've already got our hands on one of the upcoming new Philips models mentioned in Hugo's in-depth news story last week, then we're afraid to say we're going to have to disappoint you. For while the 32PFL9613D is new, it's what Philips calls a ‘rolling change' to their 2008 range rather than a completely new member of the incoming 2009 range.
Not surprisingly, given its 32PFL9613D moniker, the model the new 32in screen is ‘based on' is the 32PFL9603D, a TV that earned a pretty rave review from us back in July of 2008. This naturally bodes well for the 32PFL9613D. But at the same time it's hard not to reflect that the amount of time that's passed since we saw the 32PFL9603D is quite lengthy by technology standards. In other words, it's possible that the 32PFL9613D will no longer stand out from the latest crowd quite as stridently as its predecessor. Unless, of course, the ‘rolling changes' made to the 32PFL9613D really have an impact.
Aesthetically the 32PFL9613D appears no different at all to the 32PFL9603D. Which is no bad thing, as it happens, for it means that both sets qualify as being among the very finest-looking 32in TVs I've had the pleasure to clap eyes on. The glossy black bezel is a great start, but the set really makes its mark with the novel transparent shroud that curves forward around the bezel's edges.
Plus there's the small matter of Philips' Ambilight technology, which in this incarnation delivers pools of light spilling out of the TV's left and right sides. What's more, since the 32PFL9613D enjoys the latest ‘Spectra' version of Ambilight, the extent to which the colours coming from the TV's sides match the colour content of the image is frequently uncanny in terms of both the tone and geographical location of the colour.
The 32PFL9613D's connections also appear not to add anything to those of the 32PFL9603D. But again this is nothing to be concerned about when you consider that the connections include a very healthy four HDMIs, a USB input capable of playing MP3, .alb slideshows, JPEGs and MPEG-1 and -2 videos, a D-Sub PC port, and even a DLNA-certified Ethernet port so that you can access multimedia files sat on a networked computer.
It's when I start trawling through the 32PFL9613D's frighteningly long feature count that I finally stumble across the reason for the 32PFL9613D's existence. For the one thing this TV has that its predecessor didn't is 100Hz processing, the presence of which brings the TV's claimed response time down from an already good-looking 4ms to just 2ms.
Actually, this comes as something of a surprise to me. For I was told when reviewing the 32PFL9603D that it had an innate 2ms response time, and so didn't need 100Hz processing. Most curious… Oh well. Whatever the truth of all the response time figures, the bottom line is that the 32PFL9613D should deliver clearer motion than its predecessor.