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Philips 55PFL8008 - Picture Quality

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Philips 55PFL8008

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

The Philips 55PFL8008 explodes out of the gates with one of the most dynamic, rich, crisp and attention-seeking (in a good way) pictures seen this year.

Colours play a big part in the 55PFL8008’s success. Its palette is just irresistible, thanks to the combination of an extremely wide colour range, outstanding colour blend finesse for a non-4K TV and a startlingly extreme brightness output that helps give colours an almost luminous quality.

The exceptional vibrancy of the 55PFL8008’s pictures is merely exaggerated, moreover, by the fact that their colour and brightness together with the supporting Ambilight effect are coming from such an incredibly narrow bezel. That so much brightness and colour can come from so small a space beggars belief.

Philips 55PFL8008

The Philips 55PFL8008 also deserves major kudos for the sharpness of its HD pictures. The level of precision and detail it delivers is as high as we’ve ever seen from a non-4K TV. What’s more, with 2D this sense of precision scarcely drops at all when the TV is asked to handle lots of motion in a scene – even if you don’t use the provided motion processing.

It’s possible - as noted in the set up section - to reduce the picture’s intense clarity by using the noise reduction circuits. But in their relatively ‘natural’ state, HD pictures really do look pristine.

The intensity of the 55PFL8008’s colours raises expectations of a strong contrast performance, and switching to a selection of dark content quickly confirms that Philips’ screen is indeed capable of serving up an extremely impressive black level performance.

The darkest parts of pictures really do look more or less black on a well-calibrated Philips 55PFL8008, with only marginal evidence of the greyness associated with the way LCD TVs have to rely on ‘external’ light sources rather than each pixel producing its own luminance level. It was also a relief to note that there’s hardly any backlight clouding or inconsistency on the 55PFL8008 despite its relatively large screen size and the extreme potency of its lighting.

Philips 55PFL8008

The quality of the 55PFL8008’s light handling and image management can also be seen in the superb contrast on show during scenes that contain a stark mix of bright and dark content. There’s a subtlety in the way light transitions from light to dark that’s rare indeed on an edge LED TV, which makes the image look more believable and more balanced as you’re not always finding your attention drawn by just the bright parts of the image, as can happen with less able edge LED models.

It must be said that you have to work quite hard to get the optimum contrast – or at least, black level depth – out of the 55PFL8008, by manipulating the dynamic backlight, brightness, video contrast and gamma settings until you’ve more or less disposed of any greyness in black areas without crushing out too much shadow detail. However, the bottom line is that the Philips 55PFL8008 really is capable of delivering a superb black level response without excessively compromising too heavily the set’s spectacular brightness.

Aside from a rather limited viewing angle, there’s nothing much bad we can find to say about the 55PFL8008’s HD pictures so long as you’ve done the necessary work to optimise contrast and tone down the processing excesses. And actually, the same situation applies to its standard definition pictures too.

It’s possible to leave these looking rather noisy if you try to inject too much sharpness into the upscaling process, and very low-quality standard definition broadcasts generally benefit from some gentle MPEG noise reduction. But unlike some rivals, the 55PFL8008 upscales standard definition with no loss of colour potency, and without losing the sense of extreme contrast noted with HD.

Guest

November 1, 2013, 1:52 pm

Could you ask Phillips if this will be available to buy in the UK?

Or will this one be like pretty much every flagship model it gets plenty of reviews in the UK but isn't available to buy anywhere in the UK.

GL

November 1, 2013, 2:41 pm

For colours, is this TV as good as a plasma screen?

jjames

November 1, 2013, 5:47 pm

I take it you have actually looked online?? This TV is widely available according to google ...

Dave

November 4, 2013, 9:23 am

You can puchase this television through the Euronics retailers in the UK. http://www.euronics.co.uk/tv-b...

gigi

November 29, 2013, 11:18 am

"The Philips 55PFL8008 also deserves major kudos for the sharpness of its HD pictures. The level of precision and detail it delivers is as high as we’ve ever seen from a non-4K TV"
I have to strongly disagree. After testing side by side, with similar settings, 4 different 8008S sets with 8000 series Samungs (in shops), the Samsungs have a distinct and very easy to spot advantage regarding the level of detail. Still would not buy a Samsung yet as Philips does (for now at least) better motion handling.... As it turns out I am not sure what to upgrade my Philips 9664 with...

andyvan

November 29, 2013, 11:36 am

The fatal flaw there is 'in shops'. Most (pretty much all) use demo modes in shops that up all the detail and brightness settings to make them look better in those conditions. It's not representative of what you see when used using normal viewing settings.

gigi

November 29, 2013, 1:15 pm

That goes without saying, which is why in 2 of the instances I tested using Philips demos (the Hong Kong connection and Ultimate Sharpness). One instance was by running a HDMI splitter from a Panasonic DMP-BDT500, another running the same demos from a USB stick, the other 2 by simply watching the same shop demo running on both Philips and Samsung side by side. The results were similar.

andyvan

November 29, 2013, 1:35 pm

Fair enough. :D

Jan

March 26, 2014, 8:36 am

Having both an LG 50" Plasma TV and this Philips, the Philips knocks spots off the LG. The colours are far brighter and the overall picture is absolutely amazing. The ambilight feature is a revelation and makes watching TV a far more immersive experience. I would personally never return to Plasma.

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