The combination of Perfect Natural Motion and the processing’s ability to add resolution to pictures also makes the 32PFL9603 something of a hero when it comes to showing standard definition pictures. They certainly look way sharper than is common on Full HD TVs, as well as suffering less with such noisy scaling nasties as dot crawl, edge glimmer and exaggerated MPEG noise in digital broadcasts. My only complaint with standard def playback might be that skin tones look ever-so-slightly waxy at times. But this really is small beer versus all the things the TV gets right.
The next positive is the 32PFL9603’s outstanding black levels. There’s hardly any of the customary greyness on show, during either predominantly dark shots such as those in Bond’s torture room, or, even more impressively, in dark elements within otherwise bright shots. And so, for instance, Bond’s tailored DJ looks profoundly black as he struts his way around the casino ahead of his poker contests.
I was also hugely impressed by the TV’s colours. The sun-drenched Bahamas sequences look vibrant and dynamic, while the extensive card game sequences, with their low-level lighting, facial close-ups and varied skin tones, all look pitch perfect. What’s more, subtle shifts in colour tone are handled with a finesse and stripe-free accuracy that is a marvel to behold.
The combination of intense black levels and scintillating fine detail resolution helps pictures look remarkably three-dimensional and cinematic for a 32in screen too, especially as the image’s intense clarity is delivered without exaggerating noise such as dot crawl or grain.
In fact, I’d even say that pictures sometimes take on a level of what I can only call ‘beauty’. Check out, as a perfect example of what I mean, the shots of Mr White as he surveys the view from his fancy villa at the end of ”Casino Royale”. If you’re not left shaking your head in ‘how do they do that’ admiration, you must be dead from the neck up.
Overall, there’s no doubt whatsoever that the improvements ushered in for generation two of Perfect Pixel HD really do make a profound difference to Philips’ picture quality. Particularly pleasing in this regard is one final plus point I haven’t touched on yet: the huge reduction in the amount of processing artefacts on show.
I personally never felt too troubled by the shimmering halos around the edges of moving objects or the occasional ‘flicker’ problems over really fast-moving image components that undoubtedly existed to some degree on last year’s Perfect Pixel TVs. But I’m suddenly made far more aware of them now that they’ve been reduced so emphatically on the 32PFL9603.
That said, they’re not completely gone. During ”Casino Royale’s” most action packed sequences, such as the lorry fight on the airport runway, really fast motion within the frame can still flicker for a split second. Also, every now and then tracking shots, such as the one where Bond walks towards the casino at night, can suffer small patches of the old haloing problem.