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Philips 42PFL5008T - Picture Quality

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


Philips 42PFL5008T - Picture Quality

As usual with Philips TVs, the 42PFL5008T’s sharpness levels are extreme, delivering exceptional impact from HD sources as well as upscaling standard definition to a more HD-like level than the majority of its peers. This sharpness does come with strings attached, though.

First, the sharpness can look over-egged and noisy with both standard and HD footage at times unless you reduce the sharpness level to around its 8 setting as well as turning off the Advanced Sharpness as mentioned earlier.

Also, the more we watched the 42PFL5008T the more we became aware of an occasionally quite distracting glowing halo artefact around some very crisp edges and areas of small detail. And we couldn’t find a way to calibrate this glowing effect away.

Philips 42PFL5008T

Still, with some respectably judder-free and clean motion handling joining the set’s impressive innate sharpness, overall the image’s high levels of clarity are an emphatic plus point of the 42PFL5008T’s pictures.

It’s worth pointing out that the 42PFL5008T does not carry the processing provision to remove all judder from the image like Philips’ higher-end TVs do. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when it comes to film viewing, where many people find the smoothing effect of Philips’ Natural Motion processing to be too heavy-handed. Certainly there’s an argument to be made that the relative simplicity of the affordable 42PFL5008T’s processing actually results in a more natural picture than Philips usually delivers using its TVs’ out-of-the-box settings.

The 42PFL5008T does mostly quite well where contrast and black level response are concerned. So long as you’ve got the Standard setting for the dynamic backlight feature activated, dark parts of the picture look pretty black, with less evidence of the tell-tale low-contrast grey mist than we might have expected at the 42PFL5008T’s price. What’s more, this good black level performance doesn’t ‘crush’ out shadow detail too much, leaving dark scenes enjoying a good sense of depth and texture rather than looking hollow and flat.

Similarly, the cleverness of the dynamic contrast system enables the 42PFL5008T to leave bright parts of predominantly dark scenes looking engagingly bright and punchy, rather than taking so much brightness out of the image that they end up looking dull.

It’s also great to see that the set’s backlight uniformity is pretty solid, with minimal signs of backlight clouding, even in the set’s corners.

Philips 42PFL5008T

We should remind you at this point that the contrast results just described are very dependent on you using the Standard setting for the dynamic backlight feature. Turn the dynamic backlight feature off to reveal the panel’s native contrast performance and you’ll likely be pretty shocked at just how unimpressive it is, with excessive greyness hanging over any part of any image that should look black.

Given what an uninspiring contrast ‘base point’ the 42PFL5008T has to work with, our admiration for the cleverness of the dynamic backlight feature merely grows. But at the same time it’s hardly surprising that dark scenes do sometimes still look a bit milky if they also have some bright elements within them.

The last key part of the 42PFL5008T’s picture performance to cover is colour. And this is actually one of the set’s strongest suits thanks to a level of flexibility that sees you able to pick between ultra-vivid saturations if that’s your taste right through to a subtle, nuanced palette more satisfying to home cinema fans.

Colour blends look surprisingly natural for a relatively cheap 42-inch TV too, with neither banding nor blotching.

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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