Aside from its online features, probably the most significant new thing about the 32PFL9604 is its 2009 version of Philips’ formidable Perfect Pixel HD video processing engine. While this features subtle tweaks to most if not all of the picture areas it targets, its biggest advance is its new Perfect Contrast element. This can apparently measure more accurately and adjust smaller, localised areas within the image when calculating its optimum brightness and contrast settings, leading to enhanced sharpness and contrast, and – according to Philips – “a perceived brightness higher than the actual peak output of the panel”. To put a figure on this, Philips reckons that the 80,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio claimed for the 32PFL9604 is more than twice as high as that of last year’s equivalent model.
The 2009 version of Perfect Pixel is more powerful than last year’s too, handling five hundred million pixels per second, and the set’s 3D and 2D noise reduction routines are now applied to all sources, rather than just the RF sources as was the case previously.
The colour element of the Perfect Pixel HD Engine, meanwhile, now produces a claimed 2,250 trillion colours from its 17-bit colour section. Plus, of course, there’s the eternally controversial but always important Perfect Natural Motion circuitry, which interpolates extra frames of image data to give motion a sharpness and fluidity that for my money is currently unrivalled by any other brand. However, the big question has to be how much Philips has made inroads into reducing the side effects associated with this feature in previous incarnations.
As for the remaining features, all that’s left to say is that it’s got 100Hz processing, while the Ambilight Spectra 2 engine on the TV, which can be seen throwing out pools of coloured light from the TV’s left and right sides, is also improved from last year. It now has four independent colour zones on each of the screen’s sides so that the light output can match the image content more accurately.
If you’re head’s spinning from all the features we’ve just gone through – even though these are only really the tip of the iceberg of the flexibility available from the TV’s enormous onscreen menus – then now is probably a good time to say that the 32PFL9604 benefits from a revamped operating system that does a fair job of guiding you through setup when you first turn the TV on, and also scores points by carrying a nicely presented ‘instant access’ menu screen for getting to all of the TV’s numerous source options.