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Philips 55PFL7008 review - Features and Picture Quality

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Philips 55PFL7008 - Picture Features

Looking quickly at the picture technology inside the Philips 55PFL7008, it uses Philips’ Pixel Precise HD platform (a level down from the Perfect Pixel HD engine found in the PFL8008 series) together with a native 100Hz panel and scanning backlight to deliver a 700Hz-like motion effect. It uses edge LED lighting driven by a micro-dimming engine to produce a claimed contrast ratio of 500,000:1, and its 3D playback is of the passive flavour, with four pairs of glasses included.

Philips 55PFL7008

Picture adjustments are extensive, not least because most elements of the Pixel Precise HD engine can be turned on or off, or have their potency adjusted. You additionally get the option to adjust the colour temperature and hue/saturation values for the three primary and three secondary colours if you select one of the two ISF picture preset slots.

Many of Philips’ belated 2012 TVs impressed us greatly in the picture quality department. But oddly, while by no means bad, the Philips 55PFL7008’s pictures left us feeling just a little uninspired.

Philips 55PFL7008 - Picture Quality

The main reason why is that the set’s contrast performance isn’t quite as good as expected. Using any of the many picture presets black colours look infused with a gentle bluish-grey wash. You can, thankfully, greatly improve this issue by radically ramping down the set’s backlight contrast option. We went right down to below 20 on the 1-100 scale, in fact, before the screen started delivering a black colour we felt comfortable with.

There is, though, an inevitable problem with taking so much backlight intensity out of pictures, namely that they lose an awful lot of brightness. This isn’t a major deal, perhaps, if you can get your room very dark when watching a film. But it isn’t an ideal solution for typical living room conditions - especially as the Philips 55PFL7008’s screen tends to be rather reflective of ambient light.

It should be added that using such a low backlight also causes a little – though thankfully it really is only a little – shadow detail to get squeezed out of the picture.

Philips 55PFL7008

In other respects the Philips 55PFL7008’s pictures are good. For starters, while getting a good black level response out of the TV might be hard, there are at least no problems at all with backlight inconsistency clouds, even when using the relatively bright picture presets.

Colours are good, too. Using the provided picture presets they look dynamic and bold yet also nuanced and reasonably natural. After taking down the backlight contrast to our preferred level they lose some of their intensity, but they also became more natural in tone and even more subtle with their blends and tonal shifts.

Philips TVs have long been renowned for the sharpness of their pictures, and this trend continues with the Philips 55PFL7008. Detailing with HD sources is extreme, yet provided you don’t bother with the provided sharpness booster pictures don’t look gritty or noisy, and object edges don’t look over-wrought.

Also playing its part in the image’s sharpness is the panel’s innately good motion reproduction. This lets it show even action-heavy sequences with minimal resolution loss - even if you don’t bother with Philips’ Perfect Natural Motion processing system, which we found could leave the picture looking a bit processed and flickery over fast-moving objects. Experience suggests that Perfect Natural Motion works better when driven by the extra power delivered by the Perfect Pixel HD engine used on the upcoming PFL8008 models.

The 55PFL7008 is also strong when it comes to upscaling standard definition pictures to the screen’s full HD pixel count, adding excellent sharpness without introducing new noise or exaggerating any noise that might be in the source. Colours don’t take the tonal hit they do with some LCD TVs in standard def mode, either.

Mulan123

April 13, 2013, 10:28 pm

Price seems a bit high, correct retail price set by Philips is 1800£. At this Point i Think this set is totally correct. Why dont you mention that the tv can be accessed via app, you can start recording tv shows where ever you are. You can start the TV from where ever you are too. Another feature is sharing TV channels with other Philips TV's. You can go to your kitchen TV and Watch all the channels you have on the main TV like the 55". Why no more detailed mention of the fabulous RF remote and LG type of controll. Picture is great but if you are comparing tv's on their features then please take them all, some features are really great. If you add up all the features + ambilight + great 3D and great price i wonder if you really would give 8/10 or more 10/10 for what you get at the price. Sure pau 1000$ more you get a bit better for the purist but not many will pay for this. Philips aims at the larger mass and gives them a perfect allround tv and great smart tv features that gives more than apps.

andyvan

April 14, 2013, 9:24 am

All I can say is Philips gave us that price. It's down to them.

As mentioned in the review, we will be doing an in-depth review of the Philips Smart TV features in a separate article. Fundamentally, however, the poor support popular video services is a major factor. If it were better I'm sure it would have scored higher.

PGrGr

April 15, 2013, 10:17 am

Isn't Philips supposed to be pulling out of the AV market? When is that supposed to be happening? Should we have concerns about buying a TV from a manufacturer who is not committed to the market (and by implication, updates to the firmware and the connected aspects)?

andyvan

April 15, 2013, 12:42 pm

It pulled out of the US a long while ago and there was a period of hiatus, but it's back now. So far as we can tell it's for the long haul, but there are no guarantees in this life.

Gabor Husak

April 21, 2013, 11:16 am

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hkram

August 10, 2013, 8:12 am

Andy, saw your review nearly 4 months ago and this TV still seems hard to find to buy online or see in a store. Any idea on timescales from Philips?

andyvan

August 12, 2013, 8:01 am

I've found an independent that's selling it: http://www.purewell.co.uk/phil...

hkram

October 16, 2013, 6:33 pm

Thanks for the link, but having continued to look out for this TV in the last few weeks, this seems to be pretty much the only retailer you can buy this TV from in the UK right now, and I can't really justify a 200 mile trip just to view it.

I'm not entirely sure why Philips supplied you this model to review if they had no intention to supply the UK market with this model. I have tried many local and national retailers, several of whom have indicated they don't expect to stock ANY of the Philips 2013 model range, let alone this specific model. As someone who has bought their products in the past, it is a shame Philips seem to have stepped back from the UK market. Lots of nice technology and marketing, but not much substance to back it up.

andy_Disqus

October 20, 2013, 6:42 pm

Is everyone seeing the same slow menu on Philips PFL7008? Or there options to fix/tune it via the settings?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

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