Philips 46PFL8007 Features
In content terms, Philips reckons BlinkBox will be added to its Smart TV platform this month, with another movie rental service incoming for November. However, these promises do little to alleviate the over-riding impression that Philips is lagging behind the online services of its big-brand rivals.
The menus for the new Philips Smart TV system are reasonably easy on the eye. However, we were rather concerned by how much screen real estate is taken up by a single ‘highlighted/promoted’ service, and can’t help but think that the two rows of service icons along the bottom will quickly start to feel inadequate if Philips ever seriously ramps up its online offering. (Though you can manually choose which icons appear on the home screen, so your favourites are always readily accessible.)
Easily the best thing about Philips’ new Smart TV engine is the nifty new remote control that ships with the Philips 46PFL8007. This remote’s ‘killer app’ is a full QWERTY keyboard on its rear that proves surprisingly usable thanks to the way you can type on it using your thumbs while holding the remote sideways in both hands.
You don’t have to worry about inadvertently pressing buttons on the opposite side of the remote to the one you’re using either, as sensors inside know which side you’ve got facing up, so the remote can deactivate the buttons on the unused side.
As we’ve come to expect from Philips over the years, the 46PFL8007’s relatively high-end status finds it rocking some serious picture tech. At its heart is an edge LED engine with micro dimming, delivering a claimed contrast ratio of 500,000:1. It also employs a native 200Hz panel aided and abetted by Philips’ latest top-end image processing system, the Perfect Pixel HD Engine. Among this engine’s many talents are the ability to render a remarkable 2.250 trillion colours, and the facility through a blend of frame interpolation processing and backlight scanning to deliver the equivalent of 800Hz sampling when handling motion.
Next up on the Philips 46PFL8007’s feature list is the inevitable 3D support. This is of the active variety (you’ll need one of Philips’ upcoming PFL6007 models if you prefer passive), with two pairs of glasses handily included free of charge. You can also use the provided glasses and 3D system to deliver ‘Dual Play’, where two different gamers can enjoy full-screen 2D gaming simultaneously.
Some video purists have sought in the past to criticise Philips TVs for the amount of image processing they use. So in a sensible move to silence such critics, Philips has sought and obtained the endorsement of the independent Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), meaning that, a) you can call in an ISF engineer to professionally calibrate your Philips 46PFL8007 and, b) the TV has enough colour/gamma/white balance adjustments to satisfy ISF calibration requirements. Philips even provides a static warm white ISF Ambilight preset.
Other key settings that we strongly recommend you familiarise yourself with are different strengths for the TV’s Perfect Natural Motion processing, dynamic backlight and contrast settings, and various noise reduction systems. Some of these features can damage pictures more than they improve them if not used cautiously, but all warrant experimentation with different source types.
The good news is that once your period of experimentation is over, you should find yourself staring agog at genuine contenders for the best LCD pictures to date.
The single most critical key to their success is their superb handling of dark scenes. Far too many edge LED LCD TVs this year have struggled with such scenes, either failing to produce a convincing black colour or else suffering with distracting backlight inconsistencies and/or ugly light ‘blocking’ around bright objects. But the Philips 46PFL8007 suffers with precisely none of these problems, instead producing remarkably inky blacks within the same frame as exceptionally punchy, bright whites and colours. And those inky blacks look perfectly consistent, with no nasty accidental light leaks or ‘chunks’ to spoil the show.