Turning our attention now to the guts of the 47PFL9632D, we find its pictures driven by a really powerful trio of innovations.
For starters, the screen eschews LCD’s familiar single backlight in favour of Clear LCD technology, whereby an array of controllable Hot Cathode Fluorescent Lights can be manipulated so as to reproduce a scanning effect like that seen on old CRT TVs. Why ape such a dated technology? Because for all CRT’s bulkiness and ‘analogueness’, its scanning electron beam helped it produce motion with a sharpness and smoothness that the vast majority of flat TVs can only dream about.
It should also be said that being able to control the luminance of different parts of the screen individually opens up the prospects for some far deeper black levels than you could expect with a single, static backlight.
The next big ace up the 47PFL9632D’s sleeve is its 14-bit colour processor, which should have the power to deliver a much wider, subtler colour palette than anything seen on previous Philips LCD generations.
For my money, though, the single most critical aspect of the 47PFL9632D’s picture engine is something Philips likes to call Perfect Pixel Engine HD. This is actually an umbrella term for a swathe of different picture processes headed up by 100Hz. With LCD TVs, 100Hz is used to double the normal PAL scanning rate of the picture to try and make moving objects appear with more clarity than is normally possible with LCD technology.
Also key to the Perfect Pixel Engine is a massively revamped version of Philips’ old Digital Natural Motion system. Now dubbed HD Natural Motion, it’s had its power souped up to handle the extra data present in HD sources and do a more intelligent job of interpolating the extra frames of image data it uses to make movement across the screen look smoother.
HD Natural Motion also incorporates a new 48Hz scanning element that it applies to pure 1080p/24 HD sources of the sort increasingly available from Blu-ray and HD DVD players. By simply doubling the 24fps frame rate, the 48Hz mode should be able to reproduce 1080p/24fps sources with slightly less noise, greater clarity and enhanced fluidity.
All the building blocks of Philips’ old Pixel Plus technology are also subsumed within the Perfect Pixel Engine, including the addition of extra fine detail to standard definition sources, plus sophisticated noise reduction routines designed to tackle both inherent source noise and noise potentially created as a side effect of all the heavy image processing going on.
Tucked within the 47PFL9632D’s seemingly endless onscreen menus are countless user options, including the facility to adjust the ‘heaviness’ with which some of the above features go about their business, and plenty more features that we really can’t go into here without boring you senseless. All you need to know is that the only TV we can think of that can boast more features than the 47PFL9632D is Philips’ own Aurea TV.
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