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A few weeks back I found myself rather taken with Philips' 32PFL9603D: the first TV from the Dutch brand to use the very latest and much-tweaked version of its Perfect Pixel Engine picture processing technology.
But while this TV was clearly outstanding, its 32in screen size left me with a slightly nagging sense that I hadn't been able to see absolutely every last element of what the new Perfect Pixel Engine was bringing to the table.
So I'm particularly intrigued today to be faced with the 32PFL9603D's bigger brother: the 42PFL9603D. Hopefully this 42in model will provide even more evidence of the Perfect Pixel Engine's prowess rather than uncovering any new nasties I couldn't spot on the smaller screen.
One thing I can say right away is that the stunning new design Philips has introduced for its latest high-level models looks even better wrapped around a 42in screen than it did around the 32in one. The glinting gloss black of the slender bezel together with the unique transparent shroud curving forward around it and a ‘stereo' version of Philips' Ambilight 2 technology conspire to make the 42PFL9603D one of the most gorgeous TVs ever to cross our test benches.
The 42PFL9603D's connectivity, meanwhile, is nearly as easy on the eye as its design. Particularly handy is the presence of four v1.3 HDMI sockets that can all hande the much-talked-about-but-still-seldom-seen Deep Color picture format. But there are also welcome nods to today's increasingly multimedia times in the shape of a DLNA-certified Ethernet port via which you can attach the TV to a PC network for multimedia file streaming, along with a USB port through which you can play MP3, .alb slideshow, MPEG video and JPEG file types.
As you'd expect, the 42PFL9603D's list of features is every bit as intimidatingly long as that of the 32PFL9603D. In fact it's even longer, as it adds 100Hz to all the other image processing elements incorporated under the Perfect Pixel umbrella name. The idea behind 100Hz on an LCD TV, in case you're not aware of it, is that doubling the normal 50Hz PAL refresh rate should help reduce LCD's traditional problems with motion blur.
The only strange thing here is that Philips told us 100Hz wasn't deemed necessary on the 32in screen because it had a phenomenally fast inherent response time of 2ms. Yet curiously the 42PFL9603D also appears to have a response time of 2ms, if its online data sheet is to be believed. Odd.