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Ever since we were guided through an in-depth explanation of Philips’ new Perfect Pixel Engine technology at this year’s IFA technology show in Berlin, we’ve been champing at the bit to get our hands on the first TV to use it. And now, at last, that TV is here – and we’re feeling just a little deflated. Why? Because in an AV world where everything is getting inexorably – and gleefully! – bigger, the 32PFL9632D seems somehow a bit small at 32in. Not least because it raises genuine concerns about whether the supposed benefits of Perfect Pixel processing will really be apparent at such a size.
Ah well, professionals that we are, we must set such disappointments aside and get on with giving the set a chance. After all, maybe Perfect Pixel will prove to be so good that it will even dazzle at 32in.
Having already banged on about it so much, we probably ought to get straight into some kind of explanation of what exactly Perfect Pixel is. Essentially it’s the latest version of Philips’ long-running Pixel Plus technology, but a version so extensively tweaked and added to that Philips felt it deserving of a completely new name.
Pixel Plus elements continuing into Perfect Pixel include the technology’s famed ability to add fine detail to the picture, excellent noise reduction systems, and some exemplary colour processing that boosts saturations and makes hues more consistent, with none of the common saturation loss that can occur towards the edges of objects within a picture.
The new stuff that turns Pixel Plus into Perfect Pixel Engine kicks off with an HD Natural Motion circuit. Now to be honest, this doesn’t exactly fill me with hope as much as you might expect, since its name reveals it to be a descendant of Philips’ Digital Natural Motion, a processing system which I’ve not had much time for in the past, on the grounds that it smoothes motion in a picture so much that I actually found the effect unnatural and even quite nauseating.
But to be fair the processing power available to the new system has apparently been hugely upped to make it more adaptive to the various source types it has to deal with. Furthermore, a new 48Hz playback element has been added specifically to improve the presentation of the new 1080p/24fps format now found on most Blu-ray/HD DVD discs. The idea is that the mathematically simple process of converting 24fps to 48Hz rather than 50Hz or 60Hz should reduce noise in the resulting pictures.