Review Price free/subscription
Philips 46PFL9705H - 3D and 2D Pictures, Audio and Verdict
We need to stress that the 46PFL9705H certainly isn’t completely crosstalk free, or even nearly as free of it as the 3D plasma TVs we’ve seen. But it’s less common than on any other LCD TV, and less aggressive even when it does appear. When it does crop up, it looks rather like a deep pencil line on a piece of paper that’s had an eraser rubbed over it a couple of times - i.e. still there, but relatively faint.
Not everyone, we know, is a fan of judder-reducing motion processing on TVs. But provided you don’t set the 46PFL9705H’s Perfect Natural Motion system too high, it can further help the sense of clarity you get from 3D material, helping you to retain your focus as objects move in and out of the image.
The direct LED system further helps the 46PFL9705H retain a good sense of contrast with 3D pictures compared with any of the edge LED 3D TVs we’ve seen, with one final strength of the 46PFL9705H being its unusually bright picture. This gives a better sense of 3D sharpness than you tend to get with duller 3D images. As hoped, moreover, Perfect Pixel HD’s processing talents do seem to help Sky’s reduced resolution 3D pictures look a little sharper than they usually do.
If the 46PFL9705H’s general success with 3D pictures is something of a surprise, its superb talents with 2D material are less of a shock given the 2D talents of last year’s PFL9704 models.
Black levels are nothing short of remarkable, actually outgunning all but the very best plasma TVs, and leaving almost all LCD models for dead. Colours are explosive but not unnatural if you’re sensible with their settings; detail levels and sharpness with HD but also standard definition are stellar; and the set’s ability to suppress noise is uncanny - especially compared with earlier Philips processing engines.
As always with Philips TVs, you can make a royal mess of pictures if you don’t a) commit to learning what most if not all of the processing options available in the TV’s menus do, and b) regularly revisit these options to tweak them to suit different source types. But believe us: your efforts will be supremely rewarded.
The only other issue we have with the 46PFL9705H’s pictures is that if you have to watch from a wide angle, you can see cloudy haloes around bright objects when they appear against dark backdrops.
Unlike most thin LCD TVs, the 46PFL9705H’s performance charms don’t end with its picture quality. For as with the 32PFL9705H, a system of separated dome tweeters to the TV’s fore and two mid-range woofers on the set’s rear create a dynamic, clean, well-rounded soundstage that’s without peer unless you step up into the esoteric world of Loewe and B&O.
The addition of 3D to the 46PFL9705H ran the danger of undermining what was very likely to be a spectacularly good 2D TV. But while the set doesn’t remove quite enough crosstalk to totally steal plasma’s current 3D thunder, it certainly sets new 3D standards for the LCD market. And in doing so, it makes the 3D choice between no crosstalk but less brightness and detail with plasma, and some crosstalk but more brightness and sharpness with LCD considerably tougher than it was before. Especially given that the 46PFL9705H also enjoys a huge feature count, excellent audio and sensational 2D performance.