Even finding 100Hz processing on a £560 32in TV would put a smile on my face, but the addition of the Pixel Precise engine means my processing cup runneth over. Well, nearly.
Very briefly (since I covered it in more detail with my review of the Philips 42PFL8404), Pixel Precise HD works with approximately half the power of Philips’ flagship Perfect Pixel HD engine, slightly reducing the number of things it can work on in real time, and potentially leaving you with more video artefacts. This latter issue will likely raise alarm bells in people who historically haven’t taken to Philips TVs because of the side effects that did indeed used to be associated routinely with brand’s earlier processing routines.
So I might as well hint right here that although not as clean and pure as pictures created using Philips’ latest Perfect Pixel flagship processing engine, the 32PFL7404’s images really aren’t the mess of video processing distractions you might be fearing.
Or at least that’s the case provided that, as ever with Philips TVs, you’re not afraid to get well and truly involved with the 32PFL7404’s expansive onscreen menus, within which you can find options to fine tune just about every individual element of the whole picture processing engine.
Particularly key to keeping images looking their best are the Natural Motion, sharpness-related and noise reduction options. I’d suggest revisiting these options regularly for different programme types – for instance, deactivating the Natural Motion circuitry for films, with which it can generate quite overt side effects like shimmering around moving objects.
With this in mind Philips would probably be well advised to introduce on subsequent ranges a series of at least three separate user-definable picture ‘memories’, instantly accessible via a single button, so that you can set up different picture settings for, say, standard definition, HD movies, and HD sports, and select the relevant memory slot quickly as and when you need it.
When they’re firing on all cylinders – or to be more precise, when the various picture ‘planets’ are all in alignment with the source material you’re watching – the 32PFL7404’s pictures really are very good indeed for such an affordable TV.
As usual, for a start, the Pixel Precise HD does a stand-out job of upscaling standard definition pictures to the screen’s Full HD resolution. In fact, standard definition pictures appear with pretty much the same extra sharpness and detail on the 32PFL7404 as they do on Philips’ flagship 9000 series.
HD images are clean and crisp too, and as usual with Philips TVs, the Natural Motion processing ensures that the sense of clarity does not crumble in the usual LCD way when a scene contains a lot of motion.