Philips 46PFL9706T Review

Sections

Pros

  • Stunning 2D pictures
  • Moth-eye filter is awesome
  • Beautifully designed and built

Cons

  • Crosstalk with 3D
  • It's expensive for a 46in TV
  • Care must be taken with TV's processing settings

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £2299.00
  • 46in LCD TV with direct LED backlighting
  • Active 3D TV
  • Ambilight
  • Perfect Pixel HD processing
  • Smart TV functionality
  • Moth Eye filter technology

Up till now, we’ve never been fans of moths. In fact, we’ve tended to
find their general night-time flutteriness rather annoying. Today,
though, the little critters have gone way up in our estimation. For it
turns out that for all the millennia they’ve been around, the cheeky
little chaps have been sitting on a secret that has the potential to
revolutionise TV technology.

You see, to help them avoid detection in the
dark, moths have developed eyes featuring tiny filtering nodules that
help them become ultra-efficient absorbers of light. And it’s occurred
to some clever bod at Philips that if you could replicate this
moth-eye design on a TV, the impact on its contrast performance could be
extreme.

The currently unique result of this innovative
thinking is the Philips 46PFL9706: a 46in TV that’s been causing
shockwaves with its picture quality at every technology show it’s
appeared at for the past few months.
Philips 46PFL9706H
Hard
experience has shown on more than one occasion, though, that what can
look giddily brilliant on a crowded, bright show floor doesn’t always
translate to a domestic/test environment. So today, now that we’ve
finally (months later than expected) got a 46PFL9706 in our sweaty
palms, the simple question is: is it really as good as we hope it is?

Before
answering that question, though, we should point out that sweaty palms
really aren’t a good idea when handling the 46PFL9706. For the moth-eye
filter hates being touched, to the point where any finger or palm
contact makes so much mess that it will have to be dealt with by the
application of some special cleaning fluid that Philips supplies with
the TV.

Fear of damaging the apparently delicate filter made the
fiddly business of attaching the 46PFL9706 to its stand pretty
terrifying. On the upside, the TV looks very handsome indeed once you’ve
got it built, thanks especially to the glinting, touchable (or not) quality of
its metallic finish. The stand, in particular, is gorgeous, apparently
hewn from a single block of solid, brushed aluminium.

The stand
is more than just a pretty face too. For unusually it also holds the
TV’s speakers, with audio information shipped in via a short cable
connected to the TV’s rear. This obviously raises the question of what
you do if you want to wall hang your 46PFL9706. And the answer is that the stand fixes flat on the wall and becomes the mount for the TV, with its audio reproduction being adjusted via an onscreen menu. Neat. Except that the beautifully built stand is no longer visible, of course.

Philips 46PFL9706

The
rear sides and top of the TV are equipped with rows of LED lights,
there to deliver Philips’ Ambilight technology from three of the TV’s
edges. This works by throwing coloured light from the TV that can be set
to correlate – to a surprisingly local and tonally accurate degree –
with the colour content of the image being shown. The result is more
immersion in what you’re watching, and less eye fatigue.

The
46PFL9706’s only design issue is that it’s not the slimmest TV in town.
But there’s a good reason for this, namely that it employs direct LED
lighting, where clusters of LEDs sit directly behind the screen. The key
advantage of this approach is that it allows you to control the
brightness level of pretty localised sections of the picture, with
potentially huge contrast advantages. Especially when, as in the
46PFL9706’s case, the local brightness control is applied to a mammoth
224 separate LED ‘sections’.

The 46PFL9706’s flagship status is
further underlined by its comprehensive ‘smart TV’ functionality, its
full HD active 3D support, and its carriage of Philips’ most powerful
video processing system ever.

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