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Philips 42PFL5008T review

John Archer



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Philips 42PFL5008T
  • Philips 42PFL5008T
  • Philips 42PFL5008T
  • Philips 42PFL5008T
  • Philips 42PFL5008T
  • Philips 42PFL5008T
  • Philips 42PFL5008T
  • Philips 42PFL5008T
  • Philips 42PFL5008T


Our Score:



  • Good all-round picture quality
  • Fair price
  • Above par audio


  • Content-light Smart Features - unless you like porn
  • Haloing issue
  • Needs care with set up

Key Features

  • 42-inch LCD TV with edge LED lighting
  • Passive 3D playback with 2 pairs of glasses included
  • Smart TV online system
  • multimedia playback via USB and DLNA
  • Ambilight
  • Manufacturer: Philips
  • Review Price: £699.00

What is the Philips 42PFL5008T?

One thing the Philips 42PFL5008T definitely is not is the Dutch brand’s eagerly-awaited, EISA-winning, IFA-wowing 4K/UHD TV. In fact, the 42-inch 42PFL5008T sits at pretty much the opposite end of the Philips 2013 TV spectrum, being available for a reasonably aggressive £700. Even so, it still boasts 3D and Smart TV features, so it’s certainly not been stripped down to brass tacks in the bid to make it affordable.

Philips 42PFL5008T - Design and Features

Philips has developed a handy knack in recent times of making even its relatively cheap TVs look cute. And this trend continues with the 42PFL5008T, which combines a slender, high-gloss black bezel with a sleek metallic trim on the bottom edge angled to catch the light and a fetching, well-built open-framed stand for the TV to sit on.

Philips 42PFL5008T

This being a Philips TV, there’s also Ambilight to consider. This finds LED lights ranged down the set’s left and right rear sides pumping out coloured light that can be set to match surprisingly accurately the colour content of the image being shown.

As well as enabling the TV to create a truly unique physical presence, Ambilight can also make viewing in a dark room less fatiguing and your viewing experience more immersive.

There are a couple of potential issues with the 42PFL5008T’s design if you’re thinking of wall hanging it, though. For while it certainly CAN be wall mounted, you need to be aware that a) the set’s rear sports a woofer speaker that we won’t react too well to being pressed against a wall, and b) the majority of the TV’s connections stick straight out of the TV’s rear, rather than being positioned for side access.

These connections include three HDMIs, two USB ports for playback of video, music and JPEG photo multimedia files, and the increasingly inevitable LAN and built-in Wi-Fi network connections.

The HDMIs are built to the v1.4 spec, reflecting the fact that they’re designed to receive 3D signals. The 3D system employed is a passive one, with two pairs of passive 3D glasses included free.

The network connections support both multimedia streaming from networked, DLNA-capable PCs, and access to Philips’ latest online ‘Smart’ content and app delivery system.

We’ve explored this new Philips Smart TV system in depth in a previous feature. But we’ll quickly cover the most important points – starting with the bad ones. These kick off with the disappointingly limited selection of video streaming service providers (most notably Netflix, the BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Viewster, CNBC, iConcerts, Euronews plus a startlingly large array of adult channels including Playboy, Hustler and Brazzers!). Particularly noticeable by their absence are LoveFilm, ITV Player, 4OD, and Demand 5.

Philips 42PFL5008T

The Philips Smart TV service doesn’t go a bundle on other, non-video apps either, with just a handful of social media, informational and gaming apps versus the dozens now sported by some rival online TV platforms.

The system also runs sluggishly, and on our test sample the picture-in-picture box that lets you keep watching the TV picture when you hit the remote’s Smart TV button didn’t resize the picture, so all you could see in the PIP window was a small corner of the image. Very odd.

In the plus column, the Smart TV platform is pretty easy to use and built on bold graphics, and the Twitter app is more useful than most on-TV Twitter apps in that it automatically tracks down the hashtag Twitter feed associated with whatever you’re watching. Though the fact remains that social media tools still seem much better left to external smart devices.

Turning finally to the 42PFL5008T’s picture technologies, the set uses edge LED lighting, carries Philips’ second-tier Pixel Precise HD picture processing engine and delivers a 300Hz-emulating motion handling effect.

Philips 42PFL5008T - Set Up

As usual with a Philips TV, the 42PFL5008T needs more care with its set up than most TVs. This is chiefly because Philips tends to be heavier on the video processing than most if not all rival brands, meaning you have to subdue some of the processing elements if you don’t want the picture to start looking unnatural.

Philips 42PFL5008T

In particular, when watching Blu-ray or any HD source, come to that, we’d recommend that you turn the set’s noise reduction systems off completely to avoid softness; turn off the Advanced Sharpness feature in the Pixel Plus HD menu as this can lead to some pretty unpleasantly over-stressed object edges; select Standard for the Dynamic Backlight feature (as ‘Off’ causes black levels to take a really painful hit while the other two options cause the image’s brightness to leap around too distractingly); and set the backlight contrast to between 75 and 80.

If you’re a real purist you may want to opt for the Movie preset on Philips’ long list of preset options, since this essentially turns off the majority of Philips’ processing systems. But personally we didn’t feel this mode delivered by any means the 42PFL5008T’s maximum image potential, especially where contrast is concerned.

For standard def viewing you can experiment with the lowest settings of the noise reduction modes, but other than that our standard def set-up advice remains broadly the same as for HD.

We have to say we found ourselves revisiting the 42PFL5008T’s set-up menus more regularly than we would those of most TVs. But at least the results of your efforts are mostly worthwhile.

Kuba Pietrzak

September 24, 2013, 6:52 am

thanks soo much for the review , i actually bought model 42pfl5008h (i'm from Poland). And i'm soo excited about that tv it cost me 498.5 GBP.


September 26, 2013, 5:02 pm

I don’t think I’m sold on it.


October 2, 2013, 9:07 am

Can you turn off the Perfect Motion effect completely? (can you watch native 25 fps or 24 fps without any motion effect)

Paul H

October 2, 2013, 1:55 pm

Not sure about the native 24 / 25 fps comment, but I already have a Philips TV and I can turn off the feature you mention. I don't know about this particular set though. Philips seem to concentrating on adding as many picture enhancements as possible, but in my experience the picture is far better with them disabled. If everything is turned on the picture becomes over processed, and the natural motion feature seems to cause picture judder and blurred motion - it is truely terrible. Turn everything off and just add the things that improve the picture for you. It does take a while to set up but the results are worth it. I have just ordered this TV and I'm looking forward to using it. I love the ambilight feature, and in my view the picture (with all the enhancements turned off), is clear and natural looking. It is a very personal choice, but my preference is Philips every time.


October 4, 2013, 12:25 pm


once you get the TV, can you share your settings since im trying to find the best for me.


October 12, 2013, 5:00 pm

Great tv to watch Netflix in Full Hd mode. Ambilight is useful cuz it helps to keep eyes nontired when you watch movies even without lights. I like this tv so much.

Paul H

October 15, 2013, 10:57 am

I have received the TV. The setting options are pretty much the same as my previous TV. When it's first turned on you go through a smple set up procedure, including picture and sound settings, but these are very basic. In my opinion the picture and sound quality is terrible after that first set up. I really don't understand why Philips have so many settings turned on when the picture quality is excellent without all the extra digital processing.
To get to all the detailed settings press the home button, then select settings, then select the option that isn't the quick settings (sorry I don't recall what it's called as I'm not with the TV right now). That brings up a screen full of settings for the TV, including picture, sound, network and so on. In the picture settings go through each menu, and I suggest you simply turn everything off. As a minimum I always turn off anything to do with improving the sharpness and the natural motion setting (or whatever they call it). Once it's all off, see what you think of the picture quality and then add back in any settings you feel you need. It's all down to personal choice. If you notice a resonance to the sound, like a sharp echo, it's probably caused by the 'clear sound' setting being turned on - I suggest you turn this off as well then adjust the bass and treble settings manually. I've now got the TV set up to my tastes, and the picture is excellent. It can take some time to get the picture how you like it, but when you get there it's worth the effort.


November 2, 2013, 12:19 pm

I agree. Got the 50" model from Philips after a malfunction on another set that I had (PFL3708, I think), and the quality of the set is really good. Im a videophile, so a good video quality is a must for me and this set checks out by a mile. Like Paul said, just turn off the processing and tweek the contrast and brightness to your taste and you will not be disappointed. The 3D works great too. Tested it with Prometheus and Man of Steel, and I am impressed.


November 12, 2013, 2:55 pm

Just go this tv, the 47" and tried Despicaple Me 2 in 3D and I must say I am impressed far far beyond my expectations! I'm really happy with this tv but I have still to fine tune it and connect it to my PC through DLNA...


November 22, 2013, 11:12 pm

I just got 42PFL5028. Only difference is that i got 6 3D glasses. Great picture, solid sound, SMART app's that i need. Only problem is tv's software that needs immediate update. It can be done directly from the set after connecting to network via wi-fi or cable.


January 12, 2014, 10:10 am

Is there skype in it?


January 29, 2014, 2:23 pm

Yes it is. But you need to purchase Philips camera to use it.


May 28, 2014, 7:48 am

I just bought this tv. The picture quality is fantastic in general!! Colours are amazing and natural, and far far better than the Samsung 6505 which I had on trial and returned. The weakness is motionblur on fast moving objects. Watching football can be a bit frustrating. Smart tv is not fast but its ok. Work well. When you use the remote control you have to press hard before somethings happening.


June 6, 2014, 10:27 am

Just bought this TV, very impressed with the slim and beautiful exterior but when watching even HD of a lower resolution (such as 624x352) picture is pixellated. Now I'm not a tech genius so maybe that's to be expected?

Any further calibration tips for this model would be much appreciated!


July 9, 2014, 5:30 pm

me facing problem with this tv, it restarts automatically.. really make us irritated...


March 29, 2015, 8:02 pm

Hard reset tv, eg. go to settings and click Reinstall tv. Should work.

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