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Philips Cineos 42PFL9603D/10 42in LCD TV review

John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Philips Cineos 42PFL9603D/10 42in LCD TV


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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.

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Scott NZ

August 4, 2008, 5:02 am

Any details on how well it handled PC input? Would it be any good as a standard compyter monitor replacement as far as picture quality from the pc input goes?


August 4, 2008, 5:15 am

The 'three cricket ball' problem mentioned has been fixed by the latest firmware release and you can pick this TV up for under ٟ,500.


August 4, 2008, 1:47 pm

With such a versatile image processing power, one would expect the TV to come with several default presets ("Cinema", "Sports", etc.) to make it easier for the user, without him/her having to delve into the myriad of settings.

It appears Philips missed this opportunity for a higher level of user friendliness.


August 4, 2008, 4:40 pm

One issue I have with Phillips Tv's is unlike some other brands they are not getting much thinner so, not perfect for wall mounting


August 4, 2008, 4:53 pm

"firmware update" is supposed to be the last thing i hear in my living room...

it's the caveman simplicity of tube tv's and analogue that i miss the most. you know, vinyls will work in all turn tables sort of thing.


August 4, 2008, 7:33 pm

Good job on the review. It seems I should include Philips brand in my short list before I buy a TV.

Just one thing. Would it be possible for the reviewers to measure power usage after he/she has set the TV up with their optimal settings? Part of the reason our household is looking at LCD is because we're trying to reduce our own carbon footprint starting at home.


August 4, 2008, 11:07 pm

@Scott_NZ. Picture quality is what you'd expect with 1:1 pixel mapping, razor sharp. Lag has been record as low as 32ms with Perfect Natural Motion turned off. Which means gaming is not a problem.

@Fireshade. There ARE presets which alter individual settings eg. "Game"!

@Ironduke. 100mm depth isn't anything to complain about considering it has ambilight - but I concede they haven't got thinner as my 2.5+ year old and still excellent 37PF9830 is only 96mm deep.

Jonas Viberg

August 5, 2008, 1:25 am

"@Fireshade. There ARE presets which alter individual settings eg. "Game"!"

Can you change these with your own settings or do they default each time??


August 12, 2008, 4:34 pm

The model reviewed here is not 42PFL9603D/10.

If you check the philips web site the following features: Wide Colour Gamut display, Ambilight Spectra 3 and Perfect Colours are part of 42PFL9703D/10.

I hope it is just a typing mistake!!!!!!!!!!!?????????

Geoff Richards

August 12, 2008, 5:15 pm

I'm confused - why do you think we've got the wrong model? The review seems to match the specs from the Philips website for the 42PFL9603D....


Jay Werfalli

August 13, 2008, 11:37 pm

The model reviewed here is the 42PFL9603D/10, and the Ambilight and Perfect Colour references are correct. We contacted Philips again and apparently, Perfect colour is on all the 96 and 97 sets and refers more to the 17-bit processing. In other words, having a wide colour gamut is not a prerequisite for the use of the term "Perfect Colour".

The Wide Colour Gamut is indeed found on the 9703 models - which we'll be reviewing very soon by the way. The review has now been amended. Thanks for the heads up Thanos68.


August 14, 2008, 2:45 am

Thank you for clearing things a bit, and i'm eagerly waiting for the 9703 models review since i'm thinking of buying the 52/9703 set.

Keep up the good work!!!!!!!!!!!

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