The 32PFL7404 also overcomes the limitations of its screen size when it comes to brightness, driving pictures out into the world with the sort of aggression usually reserved for much larger models. If you’re after a decent-sized TV for a bright conservatory or even kitchen, the 32PFL7404 is more than up to the job.
The 32PFL7404’s brightness helps it produce terrifically intense colour saturations too – yet the intensity is carefully judged, so that it doesn’t tip over into tones that look cartoonish. Except for when you’re actually watching a cartoon, of course!
As well as preserving good tonal accuracy, the 32PFL7404 avoids cartoonishness with some excellently subtle colour blends, that make objects look more three-dimensional.
The 32PFL7404’s black levels are good for a sub-£600 TV too, with only a little greying over to contend with, and reasonable amounts of shadow detail visible even after you’ve toned down the set’s backlight and brightness settings considerably.
At this point it’s important that I introduce a ‘reality check’. Namely that the picture strengths just described have been considered within the context of other similarly affordable 32in TVs. If you looked at the 32PFL7404 side by side with Philips’ 32PFL9604, you would immediately be struck by the extra black level response and above all extra purity of the latter’s flagship images.
For there’s no doubt that Pixel Precise HD isn’t as immune to processing artefacts as its posher Perfect Pixel sibling, with a grittier look to standard definition fare; more obvious and common shimmering around moving objects; and more flickering over really fast motion.
But while all this – and the extra multimedia talents – might give relatively well-off folk plenty of reason to find the extra £200 or so needed to procure a 32PFL9604 now, the generally positive comparisons to be drawn with other similarly priced 32in TVs are probably more useful to most people.
The bottom line is that the 32PFL7404 can – frequently – produce quite superb pictures. And even when it stumbles a bit, it never gets anything close to horrible.
I guess you could argue that the positive impact of Philips’ image processing isn’t as pronounced on a relatively small screen like this as it is on Philips’ bigger models. But you could also look at this the other way, and say that the few side effects of the Pixel Precise HD engine are less pronounced too!
With the 32PFL7404‘s skinny frame also managing somehow to produce some surprisingly potent, well-rounded and detailed audio, when all the pros and cons are duly weighed, Philips once again appears to have come up with a seriously attractive all-round TV package. Only this time, for a change, it’s done it at a really affordable price.
The 32PFL7404 may see Philips taking a break from its customary innovating, premium pricing and flag-waving, but still manages to be a pretty terrific little – and affordable – TV.
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