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Philips 40PFL7605H - Final Picture Comments and Verdict

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Philips 40PFL7605H


Our Score:


Yet more great news concerns the 40PFL7605H’s colours, which benefit from both the extra intensity kick edge LED frequently delivers and Philips’ own unusual talent for reaching saturation levels other brands struggle to reach. Though they do this without becoming overblown and unnatural.

We were mostly impressed with the 40PFL7605H’s motion handling too, with a few cautions we’ll get to in a moment. The 100Hz engine reduces motion resolution loss while causing practically no artefacting, while the Natural Motion system can pretty much eliminate judder, even at its lowest setting.

However, it’s also the Natural Motion system that introduces our first issue with the 40PFL7605H. For even at its lowest setting it can produce noticeable artefacts, such as the occasional halo around moving objects, or flickering with fast moving edges.

These issues are much reduced with Philips’ more powerful Perfect Pixel HD engine models, and in the end were sufficiently troublesome to cause us to turn Natural Motion off when watching Blu-rays. But the key point here is that you can choose whether to use Natural Motion or not; it’s not forced upon you.

Similarly, you can make the picture look way too bitty if you employ the 'Optional' advanced sharpness tool. And you can make pictures look laggy if you overdo the 'Optional' noise reduction systems. And you can make the picture look slightly flickery if you aren’t careful with the dynamic contrast and dynamic backlight settings. And you can make pictures flare slightly around very bright objects if you set the gamma level wrongly...

Actually, the occasional subtle flare or halo around bright objects in predominantly dark scenes remains no matter what settings you use. But this is a very minor point versus our main one, which is that nearly everything that can go wrong with the 40PFL7605H’s pictures can be put right via the multitudinous options at your disposal.

As ever with a Philips TV, the effort involved in optimising the 40PFL7605H’s pictures won’t suit everyone. But also as is often the case with a Philips TV, the rewards for your efforts really are outstanding. Precious few rivals have the ability to make our jaws drop open in admiration as we watch them quite as regularly as the 40PFL7605H does.

The 40PFL7605H even outguns most of its skinny rivals with its audio. There’s not quite the same outstanding clarity, bass punch and dynamism you get with the brand’s flagship 9000 series, but the two woofers mounted on the set’s rear certainly produce a bigger, more open and thus clearer sound than the paper-thin sound stages commonly witnessed with edge LED TVs.


As usual with a Philips TV, you can royally screw the 40PFL7605H’s pictures up if you’re not careful with its processing options. But honestly, it’s really not that difficult to learn your way round. And once you’ve figured out what works for your personal tastes and what doesn’t, and what works for certain source types and what doesn’t, you’ll frequently be left staring agog at arguably the best edge LED picture we’ve seen for under a grand.

So yes, the 40PFL7605H doesn’t have a Freeview HD tuner. So yes, aggravatingly you’ll have to add an external HD tuner of some sort. But for us, a TV’s heart and soul lies in its AV performance, and in this respect the 40PFL7605H is a TV you dismiss at your peril.


September 28, 2010, 12:58 pm

Looks a really nice TV. But I couldn't find a place for it in my life.

In the main room I could live without a FreeviewHD tuner as the TV is fed by SkyHD. However it's too small for that.

In the snug and the bedroom it could be the right size, but the lack of FreeviewHD is an instant killer as there is no other way to transmit "live" HD to those TV's.

I recently purchased the Panasonic 42G20 plasma for the snug and love it. Very similar price, slightly bigger, plasma and HD built in. I think this TV really only could beat it on style, but then the G20 looks perfect on the black gloss TV cabinet.

In the future there are things you can buy now but never use (like 3D) but FreeviewHD is going to be something you'd really miss in a year / two if you can't hook up to Sky or a FreeviewHD HDD based recorder.


September 28, 2010, 3:27 pm

Sorry John, but this is a long one because it's the principle.

I can't speak for anyone else but I'm not giving 800 quid to a company when it's nearly Q4 of 2010 and they can't even provide a basic television component. You make the point yourself - it's not exactly megabucks, so why don't THEY provide it just like everyone else do instead of me having to fork out for a new enclosure on a separately designed, separately costed device? HD is not some luxury anymore, it's a standard. No one's asking them to build in DVR features like Freeview HD+ or whatever. Maybe its omission is okay on a cheaper (smaller) telly where the picture quality makes it a bargain, but not at this level.

And before anyone makes the Apple/Flash comparison, Philips aren't fighting an ideological war here to force the rest of the industry's hand on a justifiably hated technology (which causes me daily headaches). Plus Apple would never have even dreamt of releasing their first iOS device if they couldn't implement YouTube which for most of us is the vast majority of video. Freeview HD isn't like that - I can't think of anyone serious who has anything against Freeview HD, apart from those who treat a Virgin or Sky subscription as a given. I'm definitely not railing against those services either since they provide us with the bulk of our HD channels. I just think it's hard to argue that the HD performance on this set is incredible, but they don't integrate the basic terrestrial receiver that handles it. What we have here is a TV that's like a 3D Blu-Ray player with 7 HDMIs and built in Wi-Fi but only goes up to 720p, i.e.; *no dice!*

"A TV’s heart and soul lies in its AV performance."

Well, you've been increasingly dismissive of audio performance too like all those highly rated Samsung tellies with the down firing speakers. Props to Philips for recognising decent audio should come as standard on a TV but that battle shouldn't need to be fought in this day and age. So well done for taking care of that Philips - could you now spare some change to buy this country's HD receiver from your supplier which costs you a hell of a lot less than us? We're not buying a monitor here - it's a package deal called *a television*! Man, if it's not the speakers, it's the receiver. It's always something.


September 28, 2010, 4:36 pm

This looks really nice to be honest. I think the lack of a Freeview HD tuner is even less of a big deal than you do. Surely most people serious about HD content have either Virgin or Sky, and almost everyone wants the Sky+ style PVR these days with pause, rewind and quick record functionality. Thus a V+, Sky+HD, FreeviewHD or FreesatHD PVR would be an ideal companion. If you are getting a dual tuner PVR anyway, then the inbuilt tuners are really of no consequence. Once I've done a few months at my new jobs if they could knock maybe another £100 off then I would snap one up (Its already great value, but cheaper never hurts!)


September 28, 2010, 8:45 pm

@GoldenGuy: I suppose with the UK being the only market that broadcasts DVB-T2 at the moment, Philips aren't putting the resources into producing UK-specific models. Maybe we get the same model that's sold in Europe. John might know more about this.

I've owned a DVR since I bought my first TiVo 10 years ago, and I'm never going back. To me, most internal tuners/PVRs just don't cut the mustard. Personally, I'd rather all manufacturers just took them out entirely so I wouldn't have to pay for one when I buy a TV. Of course that'll never happen, but I imagine I'm the kind of person Philips are aiming at here, or perhaps they wouldn't bother selling their TVs in the UK.

@AJ: Of course there's always Sky Multiroom for your second TV, which requires a galling £10/month expense.


September 28, 2010, 9:04 pm

@Chris: I've owned a DVR since I bought my first TiVo 10 years ago, and I'm never going back. To me, most internal tuners/PVRs just don't cut the mustard.

I agree, I wish manufactures would sell TV's more like monitors. So that I don't have to pay for stuff I don't need, like a digital Tuner, Internet TV etc..


September 28, 2010, 10:43 pm

Yeah I depart from the idea of selling TVs like monitors. I also like the route the higher end TVs are going down with being PVR ready, where you plug in your memory stick or hard drive and hit record whenever you want. If your telly isn't taking advantage of streaming yet - which isn't a guarantee with dongles being a pricey accessory and networking from a TV still having teething problems - then it's a good cheap surefire way to transport recordings and attach as much or as little storage as you like.


September 29, 2010, 12:30 am

This is the first TV that has captured my imagination for a while - I've been waiting for the one that will let me upgrade to Sky HD and I reckon this is it.

I really don't care about Freeview HD inside on this, but that's my own specific circumstances. Likewise, sound isn't too much of a concern as I have a surround system hooked up. I'm one of those users that actually DOES want a dumb monitor, but not too dumb - the ability to plug and play all sorts of media via USB or streaming is vital.

Get the price under £800 and I'm in.


September 29, 2010, 8:59 pm

Personally, I'm also after a really good, big 'monitor'. All i want it for is console gaming and as a secondary PC monitor since I never watch TV. Hence I do want generous connectivity, but would prefer no receiver equipment at all so I wouldn't have to pay a license fee for a service I will never use.

Unfortunately relatively affordable monitors offering IPS/plasma quality yet a screen diagonal bigger than 27in are almost impossible to find.


September 30, 2010, 12:02 am

I was going to echo what Chris above has said but since he has theres little point. However I'll mention visiting my local Richer Sounds earlier this summer and seeing the staff crowded around a Philips set to watch England's last World Cup group stage game. Thats testament enough of the quality of this companies televisions and something that it could build on.

For those wishing to set up a component based AV set-up theres still the professional/commercial displays offered by the likes of NEC and Panasonic amongst others.

Templar X

October 1, 2010, 8:12 pm

"Personally, I'm also after a really good, big 'monitor'. All i want it for is console gaming and as a secondary PC monitor since I never watch TV. Hence I do want generous connectivity, but would prefer no receiver equipment at all so I wouldn't have to pay a license fee for a service I will never use.

Unfortunately relatively affordable monitors offering IPS/plasma quality yet a screen diagonal bigger than 27in are almost impossible to find."

This. I've been looking/waiting for ages :\


May 10, 2011, 10:05 am

I want to find best calibration information. Anyone knows website about calibration this panel (for connection with PC)? Thanks

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