While the 40PFL7007T might not have the same level of video processing as the 8007s and 9707s, though, it does get the same active (or ‘Max’ in Philips’ terminology) 3D system versus the passive system used in the 6007T series. Normally the resolution junky in us would be pleased about this, though here we’ll have to reserve judgment given that the active system on the 9707 model suffered a lot of crosstalk ghosting noise while the passive system on the 6007 models actually worked terrifically well.
Two other points to mention while we’re on the subject of 3D are 1) that you get one pair of 3D glasses free with the TV and 2) that the ‘dual picture’ technology associated with 3D is also used on the 40PFL7007T to enable two gamers to enjoy full screen gaming simultaneously courtesy of a special mode on the glasses.
Firing the 40PFL7007T up with some HD broadcasts from a Sky HD receiver and the TV’s own tuner, it’s immediately obvious that it’s another classy Philips performer. Especially striking is the amount of detail apparent in high-quality HD feeds. In fact, they look so sharp for much of the time that they look more like low-compression Blu-rays than compressed digital broadcasts. This is especially true if you use the Pixel Precise HD’s Advanced Sharpness tool - though even if you don’t (it can, after all, cause images to look a little gritty and edges to appear slightly stressed) images still look remarkably crisp for a set two steps off the top of Philips’ latest TV ladder.
Helping the TV achieve its sense of extreme clarity is the subtlety with which it renders colours. Even the most gradual and subtle blends are rendered pretty much flawlessly, leaving no patchiness or striping and ensuring that you get the full impact of what’s clearly a very expansive colour palette.
Motion is well handled for the most part. Even using the Perfect Natural Motion system on its least powerful setting, judder and resolution loss over moving objects are pretty much removed. Though since this processing can cause a little flickering side effect over very fast motion (something the more powerful Perfect Pixel HD system better avoids), AV purists will be pleased to hear that judder remains a minimal problem even without the motion processing in play. And while there is noticeably more resolution lost when showing moving objects without Perfect Natural Motion switched on, it's still not by any means a severe enough problem to be a deal breaker.
Especially as the 40PFL7007T excels in another area where traditionally we might expect an ultra - and we mean, ultra - slim edge LED to fail: contrast. For starters, the 40PFL7007T is able to underpin its pictures with a startlingly profound black level response that leaves black colours actually looking black rather than grey or blue as is so often the case.
What makes this all the more exciting is the fact that the screen doesn't have to remove nearly as much brightness from its pictures to achieve its punchy blacks as we would normally expect - a fact which enables some pleasingly potent colours and punchy whites to rest right alongside those inky blacks we've already mentioned.
Strong dark colours
The ability to deliver a good black colour also helps the 40PFL7007T produce other colours very naturally during dark scenes, as they avoid the grey or blue undertone that tends to infuse dark colours on TVs with less impressive black levels.
Yet more good news where the 40PFL7007T's handling of dark scenes is concerned is how little backlight inconsistency and light 'pooling' there is. Clouds of extra brightness, especially around the edge of pictures, are common on edge LED TVs, especially those with bezels as thin as the one on show here. But while there are very faint traces of clouding in the 40PFL7007T’s corners, overall it keeps blacks looking impressively uniform - especially if you nudge the backlight contrast down a bit from its factory preset levels.
The quality of the image processing inside the 40PFL7007T, meanwhile, is arguably at its most obvious when watching standard definition. For starters it's great to see that unlike many upscaling engines, the one in the 40PFL7007T doesn't mess up colours, leaving them looking almost as naturally toned as they do with HD.