So far we’ve looked at a couple of 6007 models from Philips’ new TV series, an 8007 model, and a 9707. Which means, according to our brilliant maths, that we’ve somehow missed the 7007 series. So let’s put that right straight away, by running our eye over the 40in 40PFL7007.
Immediately this upper mid-range model sets itself apart from the 6007 series courtesy of a startlingly extravagant design. For starters its bezel is spectacularly slim. But what little there is of it is given real punch by the application of a glinting metallic finish.
The set’s rear is trim too, and boasts a startling white finish that makes a refreshing change to the usual boring blacks and greys. Though of course, you’ll generally get the best results from a TV if you look at its front rather than its backside...
That said, its slimness and white colour aren’t the only eye-catching things about the 40PFL7007T’s posterior. Four strips of LEDs down each side alert us to Philips’ Ambilight system, which casts out coloured light pools to either side of the TV that can, if you wish, automatically match the colours in the picture you’re watching.
Ambilight takes some getting used to, and we guess some people will never warm to it. But personally we’ve grown rather fond of the way its effects reduce the stress on your eyes - especially if you’re watching in a darkened room.
Connections, meanwhile, are all mounted sideways on, allowing you easy access to them even if you’ve got the TV hung on a wall. They’re also reasonably abundant, with highlights including five HDMIs (one more than you’ll find from any other brand this season), three USBs for playing back a good range of video, photo and music file formats, and both LAN and integrated W-Fi options for accessing either files stored on a networked computer or Philips’ latest NetTV online service.
NetTV arrives with a new, improved but still rather inefficient (in space and navigation terms) onscreen interface; a rather brilliant QWERTY keyboard built onto the remote control’s reverse side; and more content than we saw on it last year.
However, despite the recent addition of Acetrax and Blinkbox to a service roster that already includes the BBC iPlayer, iConcerts, YouTube, Viewster, CNBC Real Time, Absolute Radio, Funspot, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, NetTV still feels a little off the online pace being set by the likes of Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic.
To be clear, we’re not bemoaning the absence of rubbish one-screen games and endless trivial infotainment apps that take up so much space on particularly the Korean brands’ online TV services. What we do want to see Philips bringing in, though, is more quality video streaming fare like the ITVplayer, LoveFilm and Netflix.
A TV as short of chassis bulk as the 40PFL7007T inevitably uses edge LED lighting to deliver its pictures. The implementation in the 40PFL7007T uses the same sort of microdimming automatic picture optimisation technology Samsung’s TVs use, while other aids to picture quality come from an ‘800Hz’ Perfect Motion Rate (meaning a 200Hz panel with a scanning backlight and frame interpolation) and Philips’ Pixel Precise HD video processing.
The use of the Pixel Precise HD system is a significant factor in placing the 40PFL7007T below the 9707 and 8007 models in Philips’ 2012 pecking order, for this processing system is far less powerful than the Perfect Pixel HD system found in the two higher-end models. This isn’t necessarily a reason for despondency, though, for Pixel Precise HD has delivered some fine results on the 6007 models, and here it’s backed up by a more advanced motion handling system than the 6007 models have.