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

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


Obviously the usual Philips rider applies here. Namely that if you want to get the very best out of the Essence, you'll have to spend way more time tinkering with the multitude of settings it provides than you'd have to with a ‘normal' TV. Failure to do this - and to gain at least a basic understanding of what all the picture options actually do - can lead to problems such as overt glitching over fast motion, overstressed edges, and even a few overcooked colours.

Particularly controversial is the HD Natural Motion processing, which reproduces motion with a mesmerising fluidity, but also tends to throw up some pretty aggressive glitches, even on its minimum setting. Some people can't tolerate this feature at all, though I personally think that it's fine with normal TV shows, only becoming problematic with sport, HD movies and console games.

But in any case, the key point about this feature - and one that many other reviewers seem to forget - is that you can deactivate it entirely if you don't like it. And even if you do, the increase in judder that results only marginally taints what are still absolutely stellar LCD pictures.

We guess you might argue that it's not great to pay for a high-spec feature like HD Natural Motion that you don't ultimately use. But while the Essence is certainly very expensive for a 42in LCD TV, for me the unique nature of its proposition and the extent of its innovation just about justifies the cost, with or without HD Natural Motion.

Turning finally to the speaker bar supplied with the 42PES0001, it's good without quite being brilliant. On the upside, it's capable of good volume levels, and the soundstage remains startlingly open and detailed even when pushed really loud. On the downside, there's not quite enough bass around to provide a truly satisfying counterpoint to the treble enthusiasm. But let's be fair here; in the context of the audio produced by many normal flat TVs, never mind one just 40mm or so thick, the Essence's efforts are actually pretty good.


On paper, I guess that the Essence's claim to fame as the easiest TV to hang on the wall ever probably sounds a bit dull compared with stuff like LED backlighting and the Aurea Light Frame. But in reality, the extremes to which Philips has taken its wall-hanging goals with the Essence while also keeping a firm grip on aesthetic beauty AND performance standards has resulted in a product which, dare I say it, seems at least a little touched by genius.


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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