People of a religious inclination should look away now. For terrifyingly we’re about to review a TV with the numbers 666 in its name. Shudder. Here’s hoping the mid-range Philips 42PFL7666 turns out to be at least a bit easier to live with than Damien Thorn…
There’s certainly nothing evil about the 42PFL7666’s looks, though you could perhaps call it devilishly handsome. In fact, its metallic finish is very fetching for its £820 price level, even though it’s applied to a somewhat chunkier chassis than we might ideally like to find these days.
The 42PFL7666’s looks are enhanced by its provision of a ‘stereo’ version of Philips’ Ambilight technology. This disperses coloured light from each of the TV’s sides that can be matched – with surprising colour and location accuracy – to the image content being shown. As noted in previous Philips reviews, this can make your viewing experience feel more immersive as well as giving the TV extra style points.
Philips tends to be very generous with features even on its mid-range TVs. And so it proves with the 42PFL7666. Its connections, for instance, include four v1.4 HDMIs, a D-Sub PC port, a pair of USB ports for playing back multimedia files or recording from the digital tuner, and even built-in Wi-Fi.
As you’d hope of a mid-range TV in 2012, this Wi-Fi system can be used for both accessing multimedia files stored on a DLNA-capable PC and accessing online ‘Smart’ services. The multimedia files playable include a satisfactory amount of video, music and photo formats, while the online platform is Philips’ NetTV system.
NetTV is solid by online TV service standards, thanks to its inclusion of such applications as the BBC iPlayer, Facebook, HiT Entertainment, TuneIn Radio, iConcerts, Twitter, Viewster, Aupeo, Box Office 365 and the Cartoon Network. Look more closely at the NetTV services, though, and there’s no hiding the fact that there aren’t as many free video services as you get with some rival smart TV platforms – especially those from LG, Samsung and Sony.
There aren’t as many apps or online features as you get with many other big platforms either. And while the interface for NetTV is adequate right now, it’s likely to become a little clunky as Philips (hopefully) adds more content.
The 42PFL7666’s screen is a full HD one, illuminated by edge LED lighting. Its pictures are ‘driven’ by Philips’ Pixel Precise HD engine too – promising news, even though Pixel Precise HD is only around half as powerful as the Perfect Pixel HD system sported by Philips’ 2012 flagship models. Certainly we’ve seen Pixel Precise HD do some pretty eye-catching things to sharpness, motion and colour handling on previous Philips TVs.
Philips has become the latest brand to offer a mixture of active and passive 3D technology in its current TV range, with the 42PFL7666 going the passive route. Which means there’s a polarising filter sitting across the front of the screen that helps it deliver 3D while you’re wearing simple, lightweight, flicker-free and ultra-affordable passive glasses. Given how cheap passive glasses are, it’s perhaps a pity Philips only gives you two pairs for free with the TV. But at least adding extra pairs won’t cost you much.