Review Price £2,300.00
Philips 46PFL9707 First Look
Moth Eye is back. Yes, the spectacular LCD TV filtering technology that made the Philips 46PFL9706
one of the highlights of 2011 has survived the company's shift to the
new ‘TP Vision’ parent company. Not surprisingly, we’re very happy to
Moth Eye’s latest home is the Philips 46PFL9707, the tech giant's latest flagship TV unveiled at the IFA 2012 show in Berlin and set to hit the UK in October. And apparently this new Moth Eye Filter is even better than its groundbreaking predecessor.
Moth Eye explained
For those of you not familiar with Moth Eye tech, it’s a screen filter that emulates the eyes of moths by using tiny nodules on its surface to reduce light reflection. Reflection can seriously damage contrast, but the Moth Eye Filter is so good at absorbing light that it helps the Philips 46PFL9707 deliver a bonkers claimed contrast ratio of 150,000,000:1.
The latest improvement has seen Philips reduce the amount of internal reflections in the Moth-Eye panel by five times the levels found in the previous version.
Joining the improved moth-eye filter in achieving the 150,000,000:1 contrast ratio is an improved version of Philips’ BrightPro engine, which boosts the bright parts of dark images (thanks to the 46PFL9707’s direct LED with local dimming configuration) without damaging dark parts of the picture.
Local Contrast improvement
During an in-depth briefing from Philips’ TV guru Danny Tack, we were also introduced to an intriguing new Local Contrast feature on the Philips 46PFL9707 that’s able to deliver more shadow detail in dark areas and a better overall contrast balance with images that contain a mix of light and dark.
Other notable improvements include better noise reduction routines; improved motion processing that increases motion clarity without causing as many side effects; improved motion-compensated de-interlacing for less shadowing on fast-moving objects; a new colour processing system that makes colours look more vivid and natural; and a more advanced 2D-to-3D conversion system that adds object analysis to its conversion process.
The most intriguing 3D development, though, is a new Flicker Free system which ups the refresh rate of 50Hz sources to 75Hz, so you can watch active 3D images even in ambient light without the flickering problem that usually blights the active 3D system.
Flicker-free active 3D
During our hands-on with the Philips 46PFL9707, this technology worked superbly. Or at least it did so far as reducing flicker was concerned. Unfortunately it also increased crosstalk ghosting noise compared with the Flicker Free Off mode. As a result we’d imagine leaving the Flicker Free mode off during dark room viewing, only turning it on in very bright conditions.
It should be stressed, though, that with Flicker Free turned off, the 46PFL9707’s 3D pictures looked considerably less crosstalk-ridden than those of its predecessor.
As anticipated, though, the real star of the Philips 46PFL9707’s IFA showing was its contrast. The set’s ability to produce immensely punchy whites and colours right alongside extraordinarily deep blacks is truly remarkable - and absolutely gorgeous to behold.
Philips was proving this point by running the 46PFL9707 against its own new 8000 series edge LED models, as shown in our photos. This felt a little damaging to the 8000 models (especially as the 8000s also suffered much worse with room reflection), but the demo certainly emphatically proved the benefits of the 46PFL9707.
Philips hasn’t done anything particularly amazing to the 46PFL9707’s design compared with its predecessor. But it still looks great thanks to its very slim shape and combination of a metallic finish and Philips’ Ambilight technology.
One last thing to mention is the new remote control Philips has introduced for some of its relatively high-end TVs. This features a full Qwerty keyboard on one side and a normal roster of buttons on the other. And from our hands-on it felt very good, thanks to the keyboard’s spacious, responsive keys and the way the layout has been divided to support two-handed, horizontal use.
Simple control system
Philips hasn’t introduced voice or gesture controls this generation, or a touchpad device on the remote. This is not an oversight, though; rather Philips claims it doesn’t believe such technologies are actually good enough to be helpful yet. A position we feel broadly inclined to agree with except that we’ve sometimes found it useful to ‘speak’ terms into web search engines on Samsung’s voice-recognising TVs.
Philips has improved the presentation of its Smart TV services considerably, and is promising lots more content too. We’ll cover this a bit more in our upcoming first look at Philips’ inbound 6900 TV series.
Bring it on
If we had to be picky we could see a little ‘haloing’ light pollution around bright objects when watching the TV off axis. Also, we might say the Philips 46PFL9707 felt like an incremental improvement over its predecessor rather than delivering any of the ‘out there’ new technology that Philips is renowned for.
But it still looks likely to perform even better than the illustrious 46PFL9706 without costing more money, so as a first flagship step from Philips TVs’ new TP Vision mother company, it still looks set to get the job done in exceptionally impressive style.