As I’d expect of a TV from Philips’ flagship 9000 Series, it’s wall-to-wall with high-powered video processing – most of which falls under the headline title of Perfect Pixel HD.
This comprises a number of elements aimed at different facets of the picture – indeed, the latest generation of Perfect Pixel HD as sported by the 42PFL9664 works on pretty much ”every” aspect of a TV picture, thanks to the addition of new Perfect Contrast and Perfect Colour elements.
Older versions of Philips video processing obviously haven’t actually ignored colour and contrast. But Philips has introduced the ‘Perfect’ contrast and colour names to emphasise how much extra processing power it’s now throwing at these two key image elements.
The 42PFL9664’s motion handling also warrants some special attention. For as well as using Perfect Natural Motion to estimate and interpolate extra frames of image data, to remove judder, Philips claims that the TV has 200Hz processing.
However, there’s a catch. For the reality is that at the moment, the only brands offering screens capable of a true 200Hz output are Sony and Samsung. What the Philips 200Hz models actually do is combine 100Hz processing with a scanning backlight running at a 50 per cent duty cycle to produce what Philips will doubtless hate me calling a ‘pseudo’ 200Hz system.
To be fair, Philips does at least acknowledge this in its marketing materials for the 42PFL9664 (unlike LG!). And even Samsung at a recent product presentation had to admit that Philips was exceptionally good at using scanning backlight technology. But in a TV world where the whole Hz message seems to be getting increasingly distorted and confused, it’s important to try and make sure you know exactly how different manufacturers’ xxxHz claims are derived.
As with any Philips flagship TV, the 42PFL9664’s onscreen menus are immensely long, so extensive is the amount of features and tweaks they contain. These tweaks are largely based around the fact that you can adjust just about every element of the Perfect Pixel HD system. While potentially intimidating to technophobes, though, offering such a degree of flexibility is actually key to the TV’s success, for reasons we’ll cover later.
If you really don’t fancy regularly spending quality time with the 42PFL9664’s endless picture options, though, then at least the TV walks you through a series of very simple picture ‘choices’ when you first switch it on, designed to help the TV optimise its picture settings for you.