In particular I’d urge you to treat with extreme caution the set’s contrast settings (I personally wouldn’t set it higher than 75 or maybe 80); MPEG and standard noise reduction settings (make sure these are totally off for HD viewing); and HD Natural Motion (which works great at its Min setting for most things, but might warrant turning off fully for one or two really action packed sources).
Further to this discussion about the best way to set the 42PFL7603D up, while it’s handy that Philips has provided a series of thematic presets – Vivid, Standard and the excellent Movie – I have to say I think it could actually have helped you out a bit more. For instance, if you’ve told the TV (as you can) that you’ve got a Blu-ray player attached to one of the HDMIs, it would have been nice if the TV automatically shut down the noise reduction routines for you when you switch to that input, rather than leaving you to deactivate them manually.
But anyway, as we start our assessment of the 42PFL7603’s pictures (having calibrated them to within an inch of their lives, of course!), we might as well address right away the mention we made earlier of how Pixel Plus 3 HD doesn’t quite do the business as successfully as the Perfect Pixel Engine.
First of all, the picture very occasionally looks a touch processed, thanks to the appearance at times of some slight image lag over very fast motion. For instance, as Jimmy Anderson runs in to bowl, during Sky’s HD coverage of the third test between England and New Zealand, there’s slight image lag in his hair as his head bobs up and down – no matter how you set all the myriad picture options.
The other issue generally only occurs with standard definition, and finds unusually contrasty edges occasionally appearing with a slight glow over them.
It’s important to stress, though, that these niggles actually amount to very small beer versus the mountain of good stuff Pixel Plus 3 HD brings to the table.
For starters, the picture is sensationally stable. Which is to say that there’s precious little video noise to add unwanted ‘life’ to the image, and motion looks terrifically fluid if you’ve got HD Natural Motion in play.
What’s more, even without HD Natural Motion employed (it is, we know, a feature some people strangely can’t get used to), motion is generally still a million miles from the juddery, blurred mess often seen on big-screen LCD TVs in the 42PFL7603’s price range. The minor image lag issue we mentioned earlier is only really noticeable over parts of the picture that are particularly detail-packed, meaning that for the most part motion looks clean and decently crisp.