Philips Cineos 42PFL9603D Ambilight LCD TV
Enjoy the HD experience, now with added Ambilight
Review Philips' Ambilight feature at first seems bizarre: back-mounted lights that change hue as the dominant screen colour does. However, it's hard to switch off once you’ve used it.
So what do we make of Philips' new, uncompromisingly-designed LCD model that has hidden speakers, the latest image processing technology and Ambilight? Well, let’s start with the TV actually switched off.
Philips' Cineos 42PFL9603D: a screen with a 'shroud'
Funny, isn’t it, that frame design should be such a personal thing? While some screens have the blandest of black or silver square-edged frames, others mount massive speakers exactly where you don’t want them, or decorate the bezels with extra shapes and detail.
Screens, when they’re off, fall into two camps: inoffensive and... well... let’s generously say, adventurous. Here, decidedly in the latter, Philips has come up with a modernist, shiny, see-through curved-edged machine. This transparent part of the frame, by the way, is called a shroud - not such a friendly name. Behind it is a pleasingly slim bezel making this 42in frame not look too huge.
Setup is easy, with installation of channels the automatic process we’re used to. Then the setup assistant helps you find your ideal picture settings, inviting you to choose between split screens with subtly different effects, allowing you to find your personal preference. As you move through the options, behind-the-scenes the software adjusts contrast, colour, brightness and so on furiously while you simply pick the picture that looks best.
You're just a caveman aren't you; staring at the flames
There is actually good thinking behind the Ambilight system. It is attempting to replicate both the felling of a cinema and of old school CRT televisions.
In the cinema the screen is white and reflective - it reflects light from the projector into your eyes. However, since the screen is not a perfect mirror it scatters the light thus there are other paths for light rays to follow to reach the eye. As these light rays are not direct reflections they change drastically with every tiny movement of the projector, your head and even the movements of the building as a whole. Hence you do not see a picture but merely get a wash of the colour components of the picture on the screen. This is actually a reason why cinema's are often painted with dark colours - you don't want too many reflective surfaces making the wash too bright.
From a visual processing point of view - most of your colour perception is in the fovea, while outside the fovea you see mostly in greyscale with the colour being filled in by the brain. Hence the wash effect affects how you perceive the colours outside the area you are focusing on.
Try sometime watching a film outside and see how the experience differs, without walls and similar for the light to reflect off the experience is much worse. For example an explosion on screen no longer lights up the room drawing you in and making you feel closer to the action.
The effect is similar with a CRT, the phosphors on the screen emit in a wide beam (hence why you can see a CRT picture from any angle - unlike a flat screen) and so there are multiple paths for the light to reach your eye and you get the same lighting effect in the room and in your perception of the picture as in a cinema.
Unfortunately because of the way flat screen LCD panels work, using polarised light from a rear mounted source, the light from an LCD is polarised and the vast majority heads out perpendicular to the plane of the panel (hence why it is difficult to see a panel at an angle). Thus you do not get this nice colour wash effect that you get with both CRT and projection. Hence why there is a need to have a system similar to Ambilight for LCD systems - it brings this colour wash effect back into play and enhances the experience. Try it sometime and you will see how much better a system with Ambilight is than a system without. Note than since Plasma display systems do not have the same problems with polarised light there is no need for such a system.
Disclaimer: I don't work for Phillips, I don't currently have an Ambilight TV, I have taken a course in visual processing as part of my IT degree.
<Red Pill or Blue Pill ..... or Orange Tab>
---> One Red Pill + One Orange Tab.
Although i can't comment on the 42PFL9603D i have had the 42PF9831/69 model for a few years and find the Ambilight feature quite good and easy on the eyes.
Unless you've tried the Ambilight feature for a while i can't see how you can comment.
@Martin Huizing: And you would be the one judging others,uh?
Right? Because you are so cool and smart and with many degrees, uh? You are a realy pro, right? You have full knowledge of everything,right?
A simple quote like that means nothing, you don't have a clue of what are you are talking about. How old are you, five ?