Elsewhere, Perfect Pixel HD’s new Perfect Contrast segment seems to work a treat. For instance, the 42PFL9603D’s black levels reach depths during ”National Treasure 2’s” underground exploration sequences that are easily among the best we’ve seen on an LCD TV, and actually get close to those of good plasma TVs at times. And I mean this in terms of both the amount of shadow detail on show and the sheer grey-free depth the blacks can attain.
As for Perfect Colour, while its effect might not be so immediately obvious (Philips sets have nearly always boasted rich, vibrant colours), it definitely does deliver subtle improvements when it comes to tonal range and, in particular, the reproduction of more natural looking reds and greens. Plus colour blends tend to look even more subtle and ‘stripe-free’ than they did on last year’s Perfect Pixel models.
I’ve tried to make it as plain as possible earlier in this review that some of the picture glories I’ve just described are really dependent on how you set the 42FL9603D up to suit the different types of source (sport, films, games). But I’m going to say it again, just to be clear: if you don’t commit to tweaking the settings regularly, you might very well find pictures looking over-processed and unnatural from time to time. You have been warned.
Other than demanding commitment from its user and the occasional residual trace of the old motion shimmering artefact, though, the only real complaint I can raise about the 42PFL9603D’s pictures is that sometimes skin tones can look a touch plasticky, at least during standard definition viewing.
Turning to the 42PFL9603D’s audio, amazingly the good news continues. For even though the set doesn’t sport any forward-firing speakers, the speakers built down the TV’s sides in conjunction with subwoofers built into the TV’s rear and the ‘focussing effect’ of that cool transparent outer shroud deliver levels of volume, clarity, bass and aggression that are rare indeed in the flat TV world.
As I’d hoped, all the outstanding AV qualities found in the 32PFL9603D are merely amplified by the bigger 42PFL9603D, without any new weaknesses coming to the fore. Admittedly it’s not cheap for a 42in TV, but provided you’re willing to treat it with the knowledge and respect it deserves, it’s worth every last penny.