In terms of picture processing, the 37PFL5522D again exceeds our expectations. For rather than a ‘bare processing cupboard’ we’d fully anticipated finding, you instead get Pixel Plus HD.
As usual with Philips’ TVs, this needs a little clarification. The version of Pixel Plus being employed here is actually very old – one of the very first Pixel Plus engines Philips ever created, in fact. This means you pretty much only get the boost to sharpness and detailing with standard definition sources that the earliest generations of Pixel Plus focussed on. You don’t get some of the extra noise reduction or colour balancing techniques employed in later Pixel Plus generations.
Still, any Pixel Plus engine is better than no Pixel Plus engine in my humble opinion, so hopefully even the 37PFL5522D’s antiquated version will still hand the TV an advantage over its budget peers.
In some ways the 37PFL5522D’s pictures certainly are superior to most budget rivals. But they’re hardly the unadulterated success story we’d secretly been dreaming of.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first, shall we? For instance, coming to the 37PFL5522D fresh from reviewing a Panasonic plasma, it’s impossible not to be struck by relatively how much motion blur there is over fast-moving objects. We’re not talking totally disastrous levels of resolution loss or anything, but there’s certainly enough around to make sports fans think twice.
Given how impressed we were by the original Pixel Plus HD system when it first launched, we were surprised to find standard def pictures on the 37PFL5522D actually looking a little low on detail by today’s standards, with skin tones in particular looking rather featureless and waxy.
Colour tones aren’t as successful as those of sets higher up Philips’ range either, lacking a degree of vibrancy, enjoying a slightly less expansive palette and showing a tendency to make rich reds look slightly orange.
As a further brickbat, the 37PFL5522D demonstrates a slight tendency to exaggerate MPEG noise in digital broadcasts, with no really effective noise suppression system on hand to get rid of it.