No sooner have we brought you news that Hitachi has launched a 42in plasma claiming to have 1080 native lines of resolution than we find Philips proclaiming the very same thing for its new 42PF9631D.
Why does this 1080 business matter? The idea is that if a screen uses exactly the same number of pixel lines in its construction as there are lines of picture information in a 1080i high definition image, then that picture will look sharper and cleaner, as there’s no need for the TV to rescale it to fit a lower pixel resolution.
Before you get too carried away by this, though, a word of caution: as with the Hitachi 42PD9700, the new Philips model doesn’t by any means offer a completely scaling free 1080i experience. Its native resolution is actually 1,024 x 1,080 rather than the 1,920 x 1,080 you’d need for a true, totally unscaled 1080i rendition.
The Philips’ curious pixel ratio is achieved via a technology called Alternate Lighting of Surfaces (AliS) which manages to effectively double the perceived number of pixel lines in its screen by increasing the screen’s phosphor areas and applying some clever voltage conjuring tricks.
The 42PF9631 doesn’t just depend on its supposed 1080i resolution for its appeal, either. It’s also got Philips’ AmbiLight 2 technology on board, plus the company’s Pixel Plus 2 HD image processing system, key tricks of which include adding more detail to both standard and high definition pictures, and enhanced mapping of different source signals to that unusual native resolution.
Anyone expecting to sort themselves out with both a Sky HD box and an HD DVD player when they’re available will also appreciate the 42PF9631D’s provision of two HDMI sockets, rather than the stingy one still offered by most rivals.
The 42PF9631D is available now, with an estimated price tag of £2,300.