Perhaps the most ultimately remarkable thing about the Econova’s eco credentials, though, is just how all-encompassing they are. For aside from the mostly obvious things we’ve already mentioned, Philips has also used less cabling inside the TV than usual; the circuit boards, cables and the power supply are all totally halogen-free; and there’s remarkably little plastic in its body compared with your average TV. Even the set’s packaging is green to the core, using cardboard pads rather than the usual polystyrene ones, and paper bags instead of plastic ones.
The Econova’s eco ambitions mean it lacks Philips’ usual Ambilight feature, so you don’t get the usual eye-catching and immersive coloured lights pouring from the TV’s sides. But there are also a couple of missing features less easily explained by eco concerns, namely a Freeview HD tuner and any online or DLNA PC connectivity.
Philips hasn’t actually included Freeview HD tuners in any of its current TV range, mind you, and has knocked a couple of hundred pounds or so off its original retail prices to compensate. But the missing DLNA and online features are more of a surprise given Philips’ usual prowess in both these areas.
Despite not having an Ethernet port, though, the Econova can’t be considered light on connections. For it’s got a component video port alongside a healthy roster of four HDMIs and a USB port, the latter of which can play video as well as photo and music files.
The set also boasts some fairly heavy-duty picture processing, combining 100Hz with Philips’ Pixel Precise HD engine. This isn’t actually Philips’ most powerful video processor. That honour goes to the Perfect Pixel HD engine sported by the brand’s flagship 9000 Series of TVs. But Pixel Precise HD is still more powerful than the picture engines of most other brands, and sets about improving most of the key elements of a video picture – but especially standard definition upscaling.
As a result of this, standard definition pictures often look sharper than they do on any other TV we can think of beyond Philips’ own 9000 Series. Admittedly, there’s a price to pay for the extra sharpness in the form of slightly elevated picture noise levels. But provided you’re careful to avoid pushing the contrast too high and don’t use the Advanced Sharpness feature, the pluses of the set’s processing with standard definition far outweigh the negatives in our opinion.
That said, the Econova predictably shifts up multiple gears with HD material. The noise vanishes – unless it’s there in the source – and you’re left to enjoy an HD picture of much more clarity, detail and intensity than you would probably have thought possible from a TV driven by green concerns.
The set’s black level response is decent enough, though there’s certainly more greyness around during dark scenes than you get with Philips’ higher-end sets, especially the direct LED 9000 Series.
It’s a similar story with the Econova’s motion handling too, in that while it’s actually very good – especially where judder removal is concerned – by general TV world standards, it’s not as good as the best Philips models. Particularly when it comes to the amount of processing side effect noise that can occur if you set the HD Natural Motion circuitry higher than its lowest power level.
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