Review Price £719.99
As we’ve noted before - such as in our recent feature on the best TV Internet platforms - Net TV is currently unique in the mainstream TV world for offering both ring-fenced, streamlined online content and access to the wider Internet via an integrated Opera browser.
This full Internet browser has its limitations, such as not handling video content and being cumbersome to use when it comes to inputting web addresses. But we still would rather have the option to surf at will than be left with ring-fenced content alone.
One final rather cool trick to mention is that the 40PFL7605 ships with an SD card slot, which you can use to store videos downloaded from Philips’ online services.
As usual with Philips TVs, the 40PFL97605H is pregnant with picture processing. It doesn’t boast Philips’ latest, most powerful Perfect Pixel HD engine, but it does get Pixel Precise HD. This has around half the power of Perfect Pixel HD, but is still powerful versus many rival processing systems. And it works on many of the same picture quality areas as its ‘bigger’ brother, including colour, motion clarity and, especially, sharpness.
The extensive onscreen menus of the 40PFL7605H allow you to adjust the ‘strength’ of many of the components of the Pixel Precise engine, as well as secondary processors like the 100Hz system and noise reduction routines. The flexibility on offer is admirable in many ways, but it undoubtedly makes the set more demanding on your time than many rivals.
Just as well, then, that when you have the pictures firing on all cylinders, they can look excellent.
The first thing we looked for after our recent troubles with Toshiba’s 40SL753 was signs of obvious backlight inconsistency. But we couldn’t see any tell-tale light pools at all, especially with brightness levels kept down to a sensible (‘50’ max) level.
This allows us to fully appreciate a generally hugely likeable black level response from the edge LED system. Sure, blacks look more milky than they do with the best plasma or direct LED TVs, but they look more natural and deep than those of most CCFL and other edge LED sets.
The 40PFL7605H’s intense natural brightness also helps the reproduction of dark scenes by ensuring there’s always an impressive amount of shadow detail on show. A particularly good example of this can be seen in the first big poker scene in Casino Royale where, even with the picture calibrated to a contrast point suited to movies and a darkened room environment, the black suits of the players look textured and natural rather than one-dimensional black hollows, as can happen with many other LCD TVs that try to deliver a black colour as deep and believable as the 40PFL7605H’s.
Another massive string to the 40PFL7605H’s bow is its sharpness. This is at its most obvious, naturally, when viewing HD material, as the screen effortlessly pulls out every tiny detail, from individual pores and hairs to whatever grain the HD source might contain.
Even more startling, in a way, is the immense crispness the set delivers with standard definition sources, thanks to the power and cleverness of the pixel interpolation element of the Pixel Precise HD processing. What’s particularly excellent about this is that the extra sharpness isn’t accompanied by a nasty increase in grain and other picture noise, as is often the case with standard def resolution boosters - including older versions of Philips’ own processing systems.