We might as well say right away that in a debut year for 3D that hasn’t been quite the flawless success we might have hoped for, the Philips 46PFL9705H is a truly significant product.
Not because it suddenly makes 3D perfect. But rather because it’s the first non-plasma 3D TV we’ve seen that actually makes 3D look both consistently convincing and, more importantly, watchable over an extended period of time without getting a headache.
The 46PFL9705H is, of course, the (substantially) bigger brother of the 32PFL9705H we looked at and largely loved a few months back. If you read that earlier review, you may be surprised to find that the 46PFL9705H supports 3D playback while the 32in model does not. Basically Philips took the view that 3D wouldn’t deliver enough of an impact on a 32in screen to justify adding it to the 32PFL9705H and hiking its already premium price even higher.
Clearly, however, a 46in screen is more than capable of delivering an immersive 3D experience. And on paper the 46PFL9705H seems unusually well qualified to deliver the 3D goods.
For starters, thanks to a combination of the set’s direct LED lighting system (where the LED lights sit directly behind the screen), 400Hz processing and Philips’ uber-powerful Perfect Pixel HD processing system, it claims a response time of just 0.5ms - the lowest yet seen from an LCD TV.
Obviously we’d treat this figure with something of a pinch of salt given the amount of processing ‘rocket science’ that’s behind it, but it’s an impressive claim nonetheless - and one which bodes well for the 46PFL9705H’s 3D performance, where speedy response is king.
The other thing raising our hopes about the 46PFL9705H’s 3D pictures is the proven ability of Perfect Pixel HD processing when it comes to boosting the sharpness, colour and motion handling of even the most complex of sources (provided you treat the processing options with care, at least). If Philips can translate Perfect Pixel HD’s many talents into the 3D realm, the results could be pretty profound - especially where Sky’s reduced-resolution, side by side 3D broadcasts are concerned.
Given how many of its features are potential 3D aids, it’s a touch disappointing that the 46PFL9705H doesn’t include its 3D transmitter within its body. Instead, you stick the provided external transmitter into a special socket on the TV’s rear.
The reason for this is simply that Philips originally saw a different market model for 3D - one where 3D would be added to TVs via optional, extra-cost 3D ‘packs’ rather than being built into TVs as standard. But of course, with every other manufacturer including 3D free with most of their 3D TVs, Philips has ended up having to follow suit, and now includes the transmitter and two pairs of active shutter glasses with the TV.
The fact that you get two pairs of glasses helps a little with justifying the 46PFL9705H’s rather high price point, given that the glasses cost £100 each if bought separately.
Actually, while hardly cheap, the 46PFL9705H’s price has turned out to be nothing like as high as we’d initially expected. This is partly thanks to the decision to throw in the 3D gubbins, and partly because Philips didn’t put a Freeview HD tuner into the set, and has thus felt obliged to reduce the price of all its TVs by £100 or so.