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Philips Essence 42PES0001 42in LCD TV - Philips Essence 42PES0001

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


It does no harm to the external media receiver's case, either, that it's very nicely designed, featuring a glossy dark finish that looks almost as futuristic as the screen. Naturally the glossy finish of the receiver also matches the rich black finish of the extraordinary thin screen bezel - a bezel which extends barely half an inch in width around the entire screen; a space-saving design flourish reminiscent of Toshiba's Picture Frame LCD models.

So thin is the TV's bezel, in fact, that there's only just room for a tiny Philips logo along the bottom edge, and a ‘pin-hole' power light.

Speakers are always a thorny issue with extremely thin TVs, especially if you've got an eye on wall mounting. Yet here again Philips has come up with a remarkably elegant solution in the form of a really smartly designed speaker bar that can - but only if you wish to use it rather than a separate audio system - be attached to the TV's bottom edge using a simple two-screw mount. What's more, this speaker bar ‘connects' to the audio output of the TV via a little row of touch-sensitive pins built into the mounting bracket, meaning there's no need to mess about with anything so last year as audio cabling. Nifty.

The Essence has already gone further than the vast majority of flat TVs to make wall hanging it an absolute doddle. But we've still not got to what's arguably its most inspired touch: its wall bracket. What makes this so special - aside from the fact that it's included with the package rather than an optional extra! - is the fact that it's curved, and allows the TV to move around that curve until you want to lock it into place. This makes it infinitely easier to get the TV sitting level on your wall, since if you don't quite drill the mounting holes completely level, you can just slide the TV around the bracket curve until you've compensated for your drilling error. As a man who is to DIY what Barry White was to marathon running, there really is no overstating just how brilliant I find this wall bracket to be.

At which point I guess I'd probably introduce a bit of bad news, just in case you think my excitement is beginning to get the better of me. For gorgeous, slim and practical though the Essence undoubtedly is, it also resolutely fails to ‘light up' in the way practically all other mid to high-end Philips TVs do these days. This is because the slenderness of the TV frame has made it impossible for Philips to squeeze in its eye-catching Ambilight technology, where relaxing, immersive pools of coloured light spill out of the TV's rear and sides.

This really is a pity, for Ambilight generally works best in a wall-hung environment. Plus the extreme slenderness of the Essence's frame would have meant there was less of a physical ‘barrier' between the picture and the Ambilight ‘pools'. But when push comes to shove, if losing Ambilight is the price that has to be paid for the Essence's stunning wall-hanging practicality, so be it.


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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