The set’s connectivity also comprises a fairly middle-ground set of jacks. Twin HDMIs and a USB port for JPEG, MP3/MPEG2 and .alb slideshow files set a step-up tone, but the fact that a single component video input has to double up as a VGA PC port dints any high-end pretensions. Finally on the ‘defining features’ front, the 32PF9641D boasts a native resolution of 1,366 x 768, not a full HD 1,920 x 1,080.
With the set’s major defining features covered, we’ve still got a pleasing volume of other bits and bobs to consider. Not least among these is the provision of a digital tuner, complete with all the customary 7-day electronic programme guide support.
But also tucked away in the TV’s slightly convoluted onscreen menu system are this little lot: MPEG noise reduction for smoothing out messy digital broadcasts; various colour enhancement tools; a ‘dynamic contrast booster’ that can automatically adjust the picture’s settings to boost black levels during dark scenes; and Digital Natural Motion processing for smoothing the passage of moving objects.
We found all of the above tools more or less useful at some point or other during our tests with the exception of Digital Natural Motion, which throws up too many nasty side effects for comfort.
There’s one final feature we should note for its absence: Philips’ Clear LCD system for boosting black levels and further improving motion handling. This is currently reserved for Philips high-end sets only – though you never know, it might filter down to middle-range models next year after Philips has introduced ClearLCD 2 for its next flagship TVs!
Putting the 32PF9641D to work on a selection of our favourite test sources, we’re pleased to say that although we certainly miss the likes of Clear LCD and Pixel Plus 3, it’s still a cracking performer for £865.
For starters, pristine HD sources like Crackdown on the Xbox 360 and the HD DVD of King Kong both look sensationally sharp, with a crispness and level of detail resolution that’s rare indeed on a 32in LCD TV. What’s more, though, this apparent sharpness isn’t restricted to HD, as the Pixel Plus 2 HD processing engine also makes the 32PF9641D unusually accomplished at showing standard definition stuff from the digital tuner or a DVD player.
It’s good to report, too, that the sense of sharpness the picture delivers is only rarely reduced by any of the blurring of moving objects that’s so often an unwanted LCD trademark.
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