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Philips Cineos 47PFL9603D 47in LCD TV review

John Archer



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Review Price free/subscription

If you're a fan of really high-end TVs - TVs with crazy feature counts, huge screens and exotic designs - the credit crunch is proving a bit of a nightmare. For so far as we can tell the crunch accounts for the apparent no-show in the UK of Philips' 52in 9603 and 9703 TVs, and the seemingly very limited stocks of the 47in 47PFL9603D we're looking at today. Dealers just don't seem to think us AV punters are interested in spending the best part of £1,600 on a TV right now. But surely if something's good enough, it will always find a market, right?

Our quest to discover if the 47PFL9603D is indeed good enough to overcome the crunch begins with its suitably opulent-looking design. This is really distinctive stuff, combining a gloriously glossy black bezel with a transparent shroud curving forward from the TV's outer edge. Plus there's the ‘small' matter of Philips' Ambilight Spectra 2 system, which sees bold pools of LED light being emitted from the TV's rear sides to make the viewing experience more relaxing and immersive.

You can, if you wish, set this light to be ‘static' and constant, and in any colour of your choosing. But we strongly advise you to set it to Active, which means the colour and character of the light changes in response to the content of the picture you're watching. Since this is a ‘stereo' incarnation of Ambilight, moreover, you can have different colours coming from each side of the screen if that's what the picture you're watching requires.

To be fair, the stereo Ambilight system feels a little distracting and aggressive at first. And there's definitely a problem with it if you regularly watch TV from quite an angle down the side, as you a) don't get the full immersion effect and b) can see the actual ultra-bright LED light source stuck down the TV's edges. But provided you can sit more or less right in front of the TV, based on my own experience I'd be pretty surprised if after a few days you don't find yourself wondering where Ambilight has been all your life!

The high-end feel established by the 47PFL9603D's design is merely reinforced by its connections. Four v1.3 HDMI jacks get things off to a cracking start, but these are joined by a couple of groovy multimedia aids: a USB 2.0 port, and a DLNA-certified Ethernet port so you can stream in files from your PC. The amount of file formats supported is unusually generous too, including MP3s, .alb slideshows, MPEG videos and JPEG stills. There's a standard PC input as well, along with everything else you'd expect of any decent flat TV these days.

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October 29, 2008, 1:17 pm

Having read quite some reviews on LCD and Plasma TVs from several sources, I'm beginning to get the impression that, although Philips' current 9-series are amongst the best of their kind, you have to keep fiddling with the settings to get the best out of them.

I haven't read any such 'reservations' regarding Sony's 40W4500 or any other high scoring sets.

It's as though in their search for optimal quality for any source, they've overlooked the fact that it would be nice to have such quality available by default. Or at least in one go.

Hopefully the 42PFL9803 set with LED grid backlighting will introduce this 'feature'.


October 30, 2008, 8:11 pm

...HELLO, anyone looking to buy a sony tv now, would have noticed alot of confusing moves on sony's part regarding HDTVs in the 4 months, eg;

1. canellation of the 40x4500- with only the bra pro 2 as an anvantage over the z and w 4500.

2. which is the better pick x3500 or w4500 (40 inches)- sure the x3500 is better at sd, dvd, free view, screen uniformed, build, looks, softer hd image and at the most darkest of pictures, it's black is deeper or on par....but the w4500 is better at brightness, contrast, features, viewing angle (poor uniformed screen), sharper at HD (weak on sd/freeview), cheaper build, uptodate menu system.?????? which does one pick,???? hellthe cost the same now


3. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PRO ENGINE?...anyone?.... they seem not to care for it, COZ WELL they jumped to pro 2 and Bravia Engine 2, the z model should have got the pro engine so there would be reason enough to get it over the w4500. maybe it seem the usefulness of the pros is pointless when you consider free hd freeview????????? IF AND WHEN IT HAPPENS AND WORKS????

4. the price of the 46x4500??? compared to the better, not as bright 50 pioneer 8 an 9th

...............well i have to say till two months ago i was set to buy a 40x3000, but now i am sooo so lost , i think will just buy a pioneer 50 and cover all the bases (future, value, image qaulity and build).

I would love to see you review the 40w4500, to round off everything, coz i respect your take and reviews?

kind regards,



November 2, 2008, 5:10 pm

Who can tell me how exactly Ethernet port in this TV can be used and how this TV is visible in your PC after it is connected to the local network. Having the TV connected only via Ethernet port, can you use it like external display, play movies and etc. or for this purpose you have to use another interface??

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