As usual with a Philips TV, getting the best out of the 42PFL7666 means having to familiarize yourself with the set’s extensive, slightly complex and marginally sluggish onscreen menus. The thing is, Philips provides the tools to tweak just about every part of its pictures, from noise reduction systems to processing elements designed to improve everything from contrast to colour saturations and sharpness. And it’s possible to mess pictures up quite badly if you don’t apply caution to some of the processing tools on offer.
To make things even more complicated, different types of source benefit from different settings for some of the picture tweaks – especially the motion and noise reduction systems.
To be fair, the 42PFL7666 is more forgiving with its processing elements than some previous generations of Philips TVs. So you don’t HAVE to devote yourself to learning your way round its setting intricacies if you really don’t want to. But we’d still strongly recommend that you do, as this is the only way to continually get the best out of the set.
With this in mind, it’s nice to find that the remote control used to access all the features on the 42PFL7666 is a very good one, looking good, feeling elegant to hold and featuring a terrific layout that delivers full functionality from remarkably few buttons.
Firing the 42PFL7666 up, our first thoughts were that its pictures were excellent. For instance, the set does a terrific job of resolving the detail and sharpness that makes HD, what it is. There's also pleasingly little motion blur to worry about.
HD footage also allows you to fully appreciate the range and subtlety of the 42PF7666’s colour tones. These tones are punchy too, thanks to the screen’s impressive brightness for a mid-range edge LED TV.
When it comes to 3D the 42PFL7666 continues to do a pretty excellent job. The brightness and colour richness of its 3D images is truly startling, and we didn’t feel as aware as we often are – at least from a ‘normal’ viewing distance - of the horizontal line structure created by the passive filter on the screen. The 3D images look sharp too (albeit not as sharp as the best ‘full HD’ active 3D images), and as always with passive TVs, it’s great that you don’t have to worry about active 3D’s flickering or crosstalk concerns (unless you view the set from an angle of more than 12 degrees above or below the screen). Finally, there’s a good sense of depth to 3D images, and there’s minimal blur or judder to disrupt your ‘3D connection’.