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Philips Cineos 42PFL9603D Ambilight LCD TV

Enjoy the HD experience, now with added Ambilight

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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.

click for larger image

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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85%

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.

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