There’s one very important thing that you need to know about the Philips Cineos 37PF9731D – it’s the best LCD television that I have ever laid eyes on. Now, I’m not generally in the habit of giving the ending away at the beginning of my reviews, but in the case of this television I couldn’t really help myself, it really is that good. OK, now that I’ve got that out of the way I can get on with the nuts and bolts of the review.
The 37PF9731D is the replacement for the highly acclaimed Philips 37PF9830, a TV that walked away with a TrustedReviews Recommended award back in May. This new set therefore has quite a bit to live up to, but boy does it deliver! Like its predecessor, the 37PF9731D incorporates a 37in panel with a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. This means that the 37PF9731D can be considered a “Full HD” or “True HD” screen, depending on who’s marketing blurb you want to quote. In reality, it means that you’re getting 1,080 lines displayed to provide an even more detailed image than the more common 768 line HD TVs can muster.
Despite the resolution, this TV will not accept a 1080p input, but I am generally of the opinion that this isn’t too much of an issue. Many people are under the impression that a 1080i source will give you a poorer image than a 720p source, due to its interlaced nature. However, if you feed a 1080i signal into an LCD TV it will de-interlace it and display it as progressive video. Of course the downside is that a 1080i 60 signal becomes 1080p 30 video, so it’s not quite as good for fast moving footage like sports. But I’m not going to get bogged down with this right now, if you want to know the ins and outs of HD have a read of the feature I wrote on the subject a couple of months back.
So, obviously this Philips meets the HD Ready criteria when it comes to resolution, but it has all the other bases well and truly covered as well. HD inputs are well taken care of with two HDMI ports along with a set of component video inputs. Next to the component inputs you’ll find the usual corresponding analogue audio inputs, but rather more interesting is a coaxial digital audio input. You also get both analogue and digital audio outputs, in case you want to run the sound from the internal TV tuner to an external amplifier or processor. But the connection options don’t end there, you also get two Scarts, a D-SUB PC input, S-Video in and composite video in.
There’s also a CI slot for adding subscription services to the built-in digital Freeview tuner. Complementing the digital tuner is the 7-day EPG, which is well presented and easy to navigate, unlike some TVs we’ve seen recently, you can navigate through all the channels rather than just the one you’re currently viewing.