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Philips Essence 42PES0001 42in LCD TV review

John Archer



Our Score


Review Price £2,170.20

Whatever else you might think about Philips, you certainly can't deny that the brand is a genuine innovator. This has always been true to some extent, but the Philips R&D department seems to have been in absolute overdrive this year, hitting us over recent months with such goodies as new, extremely powerful image processing, a debut LED backlit TV, and most recently a much-refined version of its Aurea Light Frame technology.

But you know, for all the cleverness, quality and sheer flamboyance of some of these earlier TVs, for me the new ‘Essence' 42PES0001 is the brand's most successful innovation to date. Why? Because it combines elegance with cold but brilliant practicality so effortlessly that it has to be seen to be believed.

The key to what I love about this TV is that every single inch of it has been designed to make it the ultimate ‘hang on the wall' TV. This might seem rather odd when I tell you that the TV actually ships fastened to a neat desktop stand, but believe me: the Essence takes the basic ‘hang it high' concept and, in increasingly typical Philips fashion, ‘turns it up to 11'.

For starters, the 42PES0001's screen is astonishingly slim; just 38mm deep, to be precise. What's more, this stunning slimness isn't compromised by any unfortunate big sticky-out bits like the one on, say, JVC's ‘Super Slim' 42DS9 sets. It's worth adding, too, that the 42PES0001's screen weighs under 17kg.

The ‘price' for this is the fact that the screen doesn't actually have any tuners built into it. Instead, the usual digital and analogue tuners are housed in an external media receiver box, supplied with the screen, along with all of the TV's connections.

However, far from being a disadvantage of the 42PES0001, I'd argue that this external receiver box is actually a good thing. For starters, if you're serious enough about wall-hanging your TV to have splashed out the best part of two grand on an Essence, then the last thing you'll want is to have to put up with reams of cables sticking out of it. It's much tidier to have an external connections box, with just a single cable running between it and the screen.

In fact, in this respect the Essence actually outdoes Pioneer's KRP-500A plasma TV, since while the Pioneer system required separate power cables for its screen and media box, this Philips puts power, video and audio through from the media receiver to the screen using just one ‘umbilical cord'.

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December 30, 2008, 6:45 am

Nice TV. Not a bad review but felt a bit haphazard.


December 30, 2008, 5:19 pm

The problem is that the Philips range is a bit confusing at present... they have several key features that all affect the price point e.g. you can have Ambilight (2D or 3D), "wide colour gamut", LED Backlight, slimline with separate media box... you just can't have all of them. Personally I would like a 9703 (Ambilight 3D, wide colour gamut screen) with the separate media box of the Essence range. I can live without the super-slim as the 9703 is slim enough. The problem with having all the different features is that whatever TV you buy you end up having to compromise on one or more features... which, IMHO, is bad for the brand as you always feel that you never quite got "the best".


December 30, 2008, 9:56 pm

The thing i love about the Philips range is the ultra slim design as pointed out above, we do a lot of home cinema installs and its amazing how often the overall look is let down by the chunky look of the cheap LCD tv that the client has purchased. Not sure about the umbilical cord though, just seems like another bit of wiring to have to worry about, when oh when will someone invent the wireless Bluray player :-)


December 31, 2008, 3:44 am

when the radiation is safe enough not to fry people's brains (or melt through walls)

or why not have something like a contact wall, where a conductive wall is connected to the tv via a set of pins. whatever needs to be connected only needs to be "touched" against the wall and it'll be picked up, a bit like windows surface and how it can recognise mobile phones pressed up against it (only it can carry power, as well). bye bye wires, and no head melting radiation.


January 1, 2009, 9:39 pm

I just love the way non of the pictures show the ‘umbilical cord'. But it still looks better than most TV out now. The only thing is belkin have their flywire wireless transmitter and receiver coming out sometime this year and if its any good any TV could have the single cable look.


January 12, 2009, 2:34 pm

I wonder, could you use some of the flatwire products that Riyadh is excited about at the CES, to replace the umbilical cord?

I agree with sthair though, about Philips' range being confusing and about feeling that you always have to compromise on at least one of their features in order to get the best of the rest of them.


February 3, 2009, 8:39 pm

I've just orderd the TV - and i REALLY like the media table on the picture. Do anyone know, anything about the exact mediatable? Thx

Dani Web

March 25, 2013, 8:33 pm

ma ajuta si poe mine cineva va rog mar interesa un accesoriu pentru acest tv lcd

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