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Philips Cineos 42PFL9703D/10 42in LCD TV - Philips Cineos 42PFL9703D/10

John Archer

By John Archer


  • Editors choice
Philips Cineos 42PFL9703D/10 42in LCD TV


Our Score


Review Price free/subscription

It should be said, though, that all the superb qualities I’m talking about are dependent to some extent on how carefully you’ve been with the 42PFL9703D/10’s phenomenal array of picture adjustments.

For instance, leave noise reduction settings on while watching HD, and the picture won’t look as sharp as it should. Leave HD Natural Motion on high while watching sport, and you’ll definitely get some twitching over edges of fast-moving image components. Leave the Dynamic Contrast function set too high while watching a film and you might see some slight flickering in dark areas. Leave sharpness high while watching standard definition, and edges can look bitty and forced. Apply HD Natural Motion without additionally engaging 100Hz, and edges can start to flicker quite aggressively during fast camera pans. Leave Advanced Sharpness on with an HD source that’s got quite a lot of inherent grain, and that grain can be exaggerated quite distractingly.

In other words, the 42PFL9703D/10, as with its less well specified Philips siblings, demands rather more love, attention and quality time in its menus than most TVs if you want to continually get the best from it.

But honestly, by the time you’ve had the TV a week and experimented fully with everything the TV has to offer, all the key tweaks will likely have become second nature, leaving you free to amaze your friends with what are, for my money, the finest LCD pictures I’ve seen.

Yes, it’s possible that even with everything calibrated to within an inch of its life you might still see the occasional little glitch, especially with HD Natural Motion switched on.

But while one or two people writing in the comments section may be willing to disagree with me, it’s my considered opinion that the positives of all the processing on show outweigh the remaining negatives by so huge a margin that the 42PFL9703D/10 is capable of delivering the single best picture quality I’ve yet seen from an LCD TV.

The only real negative I can raise about the 42PFL9703D/10’s images, in fact, concerns the set’s viewing angle. For if you watch from even as little as 40 degrees off axis, the picture’s black levels start to drop off quite markedly.

After all the 42PFL9703D/10’s picture glories, it’s nice to be able to report that the set’s audio is very good too. Not as rich in bass as that of the WooX-equipped 42PFL7603D, but certainly possessing levels of power, clarity and dynamics demoralisingly absent from most of its flat TV rivals.


In the 42PFL9703D/10, Philips has brought together its latest picture processing engine with a cutting edge wide-colour gamut LCD panel to deliver what is undeniably one of the best pictures we've yet seen from an LCD TV.

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August 19, 2008, 1:56 pm

Is the LCD vs. Plasma dilemma slowly drawing to a close with this TV? I'm still glad I bought the Panasonic TH-50PZ70 plasma screen a few months ago but have to admit that LCD is improving all the time. Then again, with the latest Pioneer KUROs, the differentiation remains. Well done Philips!

Matt G Baish

August 19, 2008, 2:33 pm

Is there any chance we can get an indication of current reliability of manufacturer products in the reviews? (like an AV version of the JDPower survey). I have had problems in the past with Philips products (plasma telly kaput just after warranty ran out, DVD+RW player locking up on a firmware update and repeated missing of timed recordings, Streamium product just, well, rubbish) but am being lured back by all the recent good reviews. However, looking back over time, Philips consistently seem to do well at review (apart I am sure from a few hiccups) so it would be nice to know how products performed in the long term (i.e. after Philips have well and truly binned support or made it too expensive to consider repair - as per most manufacturers I guess to be honest). Maybe there is a site somewhere detailing this sort of stuff?


August 19, 2008, 2:54 pm

The advanced video processing in the Phillips models is all well and good, but when it comes to gaming they are left behind by the other LCDs in this regard. As with many other Phillips LCDs, the response time is so high that when playing games on a Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 etc you can actually feel the input lag.


August 19, 2008, 5:26 pm

A nice review but the relatively poor viewing angle of this panel, and probably every other LCD TV out there, is the deal breaker for me.

The Pope

August 19, 2008, 6:29 pm

Phantoma - this model is rated at 176º (H)/176º (V) viewing angle (which is fairly typical) so is that really so bad? How small is your lounge room? I have no problems with L/R viewing angles on my 50" Samsung, and that's DLP rear projection...


August 19, 2008, 6:55 pm

Hmm nice but I'm not going to pay top dollar for a TV that I have to tweak every time I change video sources. I'd still go for a Kuro.


August 19, 2008, 8:26 pm

I'm also curious about comparisons in picture quality between plasma & LCD TVs...if the latest 'Kuro' sets represent '10' on a 1-10 scale, where would this Philips TV come? Echoing Matt G's comment, I'd also be interested in a reliability survey, as I've also had reliability issues with Philips equipment in the past.


August 21, 2008, 3:55 am

Am really want to ask the reviewer how the Philips Cineos 42PFL9703D/10 42in LCD TV manages to perform with the PS3 since am intrested of buying the TV with PS3 console. Are there any kind of input lag?

andrew 9

October 25, 2008, 2:11 pm

I would love to be able to confirm the 10/10 score for this TV but I have not yet been able to view HD from my sky HD box via HDMI. I have spoken to Philips who claim that it is an incompatability problem they are having since Sky updated their software about a month ago! At present they claim that they have no solution for this. When I call Sky they seem unaware of this issue. If you are planning to get this otherwise wondeful TV to view Sky HD then I would advise that you look into this issue before forking out the best part of two grand! I would be interested to know if anyone else has experienced this problem.


October 1, 2009, 1:57 am

I like reviewer to comment on viewing angle of this set and every other TV's when reviewed.

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