There’s also evidence of general dot crawl noise we suspect is caused by the way Pixel Plus 2 HD operates in conjunction with Philips’ plasma panel technology. And finally fast horizontal motion tends to be accompanied by fizzing dots over harsh edges or skin-tone peaks. Another more minor problem sees the picture being a touch dominated by green tones, especially during dark scenes.
Just because we’ve started with the bad points about the 50PF9631D, though, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re completely dominant in the picture mix. For instance, while the slightly dominant green tone is unquestionable, you’ll probably be more struck overall by how pleasingly rich and vibrant the colour palette looks.
Similarly, while Pixel Plus 2 HD does generate noise, it also helps pictures look at times stunningly sharp and textured. This is especially true with high definition, of course, but it’s also striking how much clearer and ‘higher definition’ the 50PF9631D looks with standard def sources too – albeit at the expense of a slightly harsh overall finish.
The TV’s black levels are outstanding too, reaching extreme depths without sacrificing the sort of subtle shadow detailing that brings dark scenes to three-dimensional life. And while motion might be blighted at times by fizzing noise, at least it doesn’t blur in the way it does on many screens that use rival LCD technology.
The 50PF9631D’s audio is also a positive factor in the TV’s overall fortunes, delivering decent power, authority and clarity. A little more bass and we’d have been talking true sonic excellence, in fact.
Ultimately the 50PF9631D’s picture flaws suggest that Philips’ core plasma panel technology is perhaps not quite as up to partnering Pixel Plus technology as the company’s LCD technology. But the overall image quality is still solid, and a huge feature count makes sure the set looks fair value at under £2000.