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Philips Cineos 42PFL9603D Ambilight LCD TV

Enjoy the HD experience, now with added Ambilight

Then there’s that Ambilight. It’ll never be to everyone’s taste, and if you turn it up too high too soon it can be distracting. But on a lower level, the gentle lights on the back wall really do make for a picture that draws you in.

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If eased into, the Ambilight can actually make a difference

This model has side-facing Ambilight lamps, but they're carefully positioned so that even if you’re sitting well away from the centre of the screen, you won’t see the lights themselves – a problem with some earlier models, apparently.

Sound is often a source of misery for flatscreen users, with sonic performance far down the priority list - you can almost hear the R&D team say, ‘At this price, they’ll be using a home cinema, surely?’

Here there are no visible speakers, and the ones built in fire out of the sides, using the curved shroud as though it was a horn to project the sound forwards. Round the back are sub-woofers which use the wall behind the TV to reflect sound back at the viewer. The results are strong – unlike many TVs, we had no need to adjust levels to make speech more audible without being blasted with music, for instance.

Verdict

These days, you can buy a 42in screen for less dosh than the £1800 Philips wants for the 42PFL9603D. And maybe you won’t want that acquired-taste Ambilight switched on. Even so, the picture on this screen, ably supported by strong, clear sound, makes this screen a hard TV to beat.

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Philips Cineos 42PFL9603D Ambilight LCD TV

Curvy and classy, this Philips is the Giselle Budchen model of LCD TVs. You won't be able to take your eyes off it.