For people who hate it, though – and we must confess that despite what we just said, we only use it on its lowest setting, and not at all with Blu-rays – the good news is that the 40PFL9705H doesn’t suffer badly at all with judder or motion blur even with the Natural Motion circuitry completely deactivated.
One last trick of the Perfect Pixel HD processing that we personally have a lot of time for but some people apparently don’t like is its impact on standard definition pictures. For us, the upscaling component of the system is capable of making standard def pictures look sharper than they do on any other TV. Sure, this aggressive detail enhancement and the screen’s natural tendency to be bright and bold can lead to standard def pictures looking noisy. But taking such simple measures as ensuring the TV’s artificial sharpness booster is turned off and reducing the contrast and brightness can improve the noise issue no end, leaving you with a standard def picture that’s more often than not quite outstanding, especially if the source was of a decent quality in the first place.
As must have become apparent by now, we weren’t over-stating matters when we said earlier that you really need to regularly revisit the 40PFL9705H’s picture settings to always get the absolute best from them. Other 2D issues to be aware of find the appearance of haloing around bright objects increasing markedly if you’re watching the screen from an angle, and a slight loss of shadow detail in very dark areas. Though really this is less of an issue than we’d expected it to be.
The 40PFL9705H’s 3D pictures aren’t quite as good as its 2D ones. On the upside, the screen’s fearsome colour intensity and extreme brightness and contrast levels help it compensate superbly for the inevitable dimming effect of donning Philips’ respectably comfortable 3D glasses.
On the downside, there’s enough evidence of crosstalk to make the ghosting issue something we couldn’t stop ourselves looking out for after a while, to the point where it becomes potentially quite distracting. To be fair, the crosstalk isn’t nearly as aggressive or common as it is on many other LCD TVs, but it’s certainly more of an issue than it is with the 3D plasma TVs out there. Especially Panasonic’s.
Enabling us to finish on a high, though, is the 40PFL9705H’s audio. Philips has cleverly integrated some dedicated mid-range drivers onto the screen’s rear, which work in tandem with separate dome tweeters to produce a soundstage of such range, accuracy and power that it’s hard to believe it’s coming from such a slender TV.
The 40PFL9705H won’t be for every one. Its relatively high price, lack of a Freeview HD tuner and rather demanding nature see to that. But if you can get past these initial ‘barriers to entry’, we’re confident that you will end up falling hook, line and sinker for the occasionally mind-blowing AV and multimedia skills of what has to be one of the most technically advanced TVs of its generation.