For simpler ‘surfing’, though, Philips also has a selection of preferred content providers, which have designed their services especially to be accessible via a TV rather than PC operating system. Services online in this section of the Net TV proposition at the time of writing were YouTube, the WannaHaves gadget channel, the FunSpot gaming site, tunin.fm, the MeteoConsult weather service, and the myalbum.com photo storage site.
Other features of the 42PFL8404 that become apparent from a trawl through its tidy if rather monumental onscreen menu system include 100Hz processing (delivering a claimed 3ms response time); an auto-setup assistant that uses a series of still images to help you calibrate various aspects of the TV’s settings; HD Natural Motion for interpolating extra frames of image data to boost motion fluidity; and two types of noise reduction, standard 3D and MPEG.
With all this in mind, the 42PFL8404’s £999 price point is starting to look pretty good value. Provided the TV uses all of its features to deliver the AV goods, of course.
In some ways, as I would expect, the 42PFL8404 delivers pretty decent pictures. Black level response, for instance, is more than respectable versus many 42in LCD rivals. Sure, there is a degree of greyness around – certainly if you compare it with any LED-backlit TV or the best plasma sets. But the greyness is seldom distracting, and doesn’t stop the TV from producing enough shadow detail to give dark scenes a convincing sense of depth.
The HD Natural Motion circuitry, meanwhile, works in tandem with the 100Hz engine to leave motion looking almost uncannily fluid, even when watching a 1080p/24 Blu-ray. It seemed to me, too, that while maybe not as pristine in its machinations as the latest Perfect Pixel HD engine, the 42PFL8404’s motion circuitry is at least better than any Pixel Plus system when it comes to the severity of processing artefacts you have to suffer.
Colours are enjoyably vivid and dynamic too, as well as reasonably natural in tone for most of the time. And HD sources are presented with high levels of detail and sharpness.