Until we get our hands on Philips’ new generation of Aurea TVs, with their unique light-frame design, the brand’s PFL9703D models represent the pinnacle of the brand’s current TV range.
So not surprisingly we’re pretty excited to have the 42in 42PFL9703D/10 sat in our test rooms today. Especially considering how impressed we’ve been recently with many of the sets further down the Philips TV tree.
Without doubt the simplest way to start getting a handle on what makes the 42PFL9703D tick is to consider what it does differently to the 42PFL9603D/10 we looked at a couple of weeks back. Especially as it turns out there are actually only two differences of note.
The first and potentially most important extra trick of the 42PFL9703D/10 is its use of a wide colour gamut LCD panel, designed to produce a more brilliant and wide-ranging colour palette. When we think how aggressive and vibrant colours have been on previous recent Philips sets, the thought of things being ratcheted up another notch is actually a touch scary!
The other big trump card in the 42PFL9703D/10’s hand is its step up to Ambilight Spectra 3 versus the Spectra 2 incarnation found on the 42PFL9603D/10. What this means is that the 42PFL9703D/10 pumps out coloured light from its upper edge as well as its left and right sides, producing a true ‘wall of colour’ around the TV.
While we’ll come back to the wide colour gamut situation later, we might as well make the point right away that adding the third side of Ambilight for the 42PFL9703D/10 really does have quite a profound effect, enhancing Ambilight’s immersive, stylish and relaxational properties to a surprising degree.
Let’s not forget, either, that the Ambilight 3 system is working its magic around one of the most attractive LCD TVs we’ve seen. The way the set’s slender glossy black bezel works in tandem with a distinctive transparent shroud curving forward around from the rear really is a sight to behold.
As is the fashion, these days, the 42PFL9703D/10 doesn’t sport any speakers on its fascia; that would be far too ugly, obviously! Instead sound emerges from around the TV’s rear, with the transparent shroud potentially helping to focus the sound forwards at your seating position.
One interesting little point about the rear-firing sound is that the 42PFL9703D/10 doesn’t have the WooX technology used to up the bass quotient of Philips’ lower-end 42PFL7603D LCD model.
On the surface it seems odd that the top-end 42PFL9703D/10 should ship without a performance-enhancing feature found on a lower-end model. But Philips claims there is method to its apparent madness. For it believes the sort of buyer likely to invest in a TV as luxurious as this one will likely have a separate sound system to run alongside the TV, and so is less likely to need the same sort of audio oomph as buyers of the cheaper model.
Personally, I would have preferred to have the WooX audio onboard the 42PFL9703D/10 so that I could make the decision myself as to whether I use it or not. But hey - I’ve always been demanding that way.