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Of course, though, all the colour intensity in the world counts for zilch if it only comes at the expense of hideously forced, unnatural tones. But here again the combination of the wide colour gamut panel and ultra-sophisticated processing plays a blinder, delivering tones that are actually phenomenally natural in terms of both their toning and blend finesse.
It doubtless doesn’t hurt in this latter regard, either, that the 42PFL9703D/10 sports a Full HD pixel resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. And this fact also joins with the superlative sharpness-boosting elements of Perfect Pixel HD to produce an image of almost outrageous sharpness and detail.
Every pore, every rippling muscle, every tensed sinew, every bead of sweat, every blade of grass, every face in the 90,000 crowd – no TV I’ve seen to date has brought the Full HD impact of all these Olympic traits home quite so sharply and clearly as the 42PFL9703D/10, thanks in no small part to the extra ‘three-dimensionality’ introduced by the wide colour gamut functionality.
Also key to the impression of clarity delivered by the 42PFL9703D/10 with HD sources, is how little unwanted noise the TV’s picture processing induces. For as anyone who’s been following Philips TVs over the years will know, while Philips TVs have long excelled at looking vibrant and sharp, there’s traditionally been a trade-off in the form of troublesome processing side effects such as shimmering around moving objects and a rather ‘gritty’ overall feel.
However, the massive extra power Philips has thrown into the latest Perfect Pixel Engine in conjunction with some clearly significant tweaks to its processing algorithms means this TV can really deliver all of the processing benefits with practically none of the old, unwanted side effects. Even standard definition pictures look great, for heaven’s sake, as the Perfect Pixel Engine does a great job of resizing standard PAL sources to the Full HD resolution.
Once you’ve got over the picture’s sharpness and vibrancy, it’s time to also take in the sensational fluidity and clarity of its motion reproduction (with HD Natural Motion set, sensibly, to its minimal level, and with 100Hz engaged), and the really outstanding depth of its black level response.
This doesn’t touch the levels seen with Pioneer’s KURO plasma sets, of course, but it’s unquestionably as good as anything we’ve seen from an LCD TV, and is easily enough to make dark scenes look packed with detail and generally free from LCD’s traditional grey clouding.