As ever with a Pixel Plus-driven TV, the 42PFL7603D’s pictures are also noteworthy for the amount of fine detail and sharpness they contain. HD footage is presented with exceptional ‘snap’ and texturing – clearly revealing, for instance, the gaping chasm in video quality between the Xbox 360’s aging but still stunning ”Gears of War” title and the new, disappointing-looking ”Haze” title on the PS3. Yet at the same time the processing ensures that both games look as good as they’re actually capable of looking.
Standard definition looks exceptionally sharp too, as Pixel Plus 3 HD upscales the image to fit the screen’s full HD pixel count with unusual aplomb.
More good news finds the 42PFL7603 pumping out some superbly dynamic and engaging colours, complete with a palette wide-ranging enough to produce pretty much flawless colour blends and some outstandingly natural tones for this price level.
Tasty colours tend to be bedfellows of good black level responses, and so it proves here. For while I’m not sure I totally believe the 30,000:1 contrast ratio claims, it’s certainly fair to say that the 42PFL7603D produces deeper, more detailed, less greyed-over and above all more stable dark picture areas than the majority of its close rivals.
The bottom line with the 42PFL7603D’s pictures is that despite leaving one or two small doors open for Philips’ upcoming 9600 models (with their improved Perfect Pixel Engine system), they’re still really awesome within the context of a sub-£1100 price point.
The set’s audio is no slouch, either. In fact, it’s remarkably powerful considering there’s not a speaker or grille in sight. This is partly down to the set’s employment of Philips’ wOOx system, which can deliver superb amounts of well-rounded, distortion-free bass during the free-running sequence in ”Casino Royale”. But it also helps that the rest of the speakers are powerful enough to ensure that this bass doesn’t cramp the mid-range at all, and that there’s more treble detailing than most LCD TVs could dream of delivering – all presented without a trace of harshness.
Whether you’re admiring the 42PFL7603D’s stunning design, basking in the tranquil aura of its Ambilight system, lapping up its terrific pictures, being assaulted (in a good way) by its terrific audio power, or simply wondering how it can offer so much while costing so relatively little, there’s simply no other conclusion to draw except that it’s another absolutely kick-arse Philips TV.