Turning to more prosaic matters, namely the TV’s connections, this TV continues to impress. The provision of four HDMIs is particularly eye-catching – and yes, all of these are v1.3 certified for Deep Colour playback.
Another neat connection touch is a DLNA-certified Ethernet port, so that you can jack the TV into your home network for direct playback of music and picture files. More support comes from a D-Sub port and a USB jack that can handle MP3, .alb slideshows, JPEGs, and MPEG1/2 videos.
So far, so good. And my expectations only grow as the 32PFL9603’s spec sheet serves up a Full HD resolution and a vast claimed contrast ratio of 55,000:1. Obviously a dynamic backlight arrangement has been employed here, which reduces the image’s brightness during dark scenes to improve black levels. But practically all rival LCD TVs use similar backlight technology and few promise contrast ratios even close to 55,000:1. Let’s just hope this figure actually translates onto the screen.
As you’ve probably started to realise by now, the 32PFL9603 sits towards the top of Philips’ current LCD tree. And this high-level position is reinforced by the picture processing system it carries, namely the very latest version of Philips’ Perfect Pixel HD Engine.
This second generation of the Pixel Perfect Engine builds on the elements aimed at improving motion clarity and sharpness found in the previous version, with new elements aimed at boosting contrast and colours. What’s more, the previous motion clarity and sharpness processors have, here, been fine-tuned to within an inch of their lives.
In fact, Philips now calls the HD Natural Motion element of the Perfect Pixel HD Engine; ‘Perfect Natural Motion’, so pleased is it by the way the new TV – apparently – reproduces motion without either LCD response time blur or the artefacts that generally accompany attempts to reduce motion blur (such as ‘haloing’ around moving objects).
The word ‘perfect’ crops up yet again with the set’s new Perfect Contrast Technology. This reduces light leakage from the LCD backlight during dark scenes while simultaneously increasing the differences between the dark and light parts of the image through digital processing. This system also claims to enhance shadow detail and diminish motion artefacts.
When it comes to colours, the 32PFL9603 utilises a system unsurprisingly called Perfect Colours. This is attributable to an optimised colour input – a ridiculously powerful 17-bit Colour Booster processor which can, it’s claimed, show up to 2,250 trillion colours.
The liberal use of the word Perfect in all these features is, of course, potentially dangerous. For as well as making us wonder what manoeuvring room there is left for future Philips TVs (‘Even More Perfect Contrast Technology’?), it doesn’t half raise expectations about the 32PFL9603’s performance levels.
The sophistication of the Perfect Pixel Engine system also inevitably makes the TV unusually complex to use. Especially as Philips has, sensibly, made most of the Engine’s separate components individually adjustable.