Also round the back of the screen are two sub-woofers. These were installed on earlier Philips screens and they lift the sound well, bouncing it off the wall behind just as the Ambilight does with the light.
Of course, the fancy lightshow would be nothing without a decent picture in the middle. Philips screens have delivered before and this one does too. The 100Hz, full HD panel has an extra-wide colour gamut, which really just means the colours are bright and there’s a bunch of them. You won’t notice this except that it’s all part of the exceptional realism of the picture, with gradations of skin tones especially convincing.
In the movie 21, in standard definition streamed on Virgin Media, pale flesh tones looked completely believable, and the depth of detail on Kevin Spacey’s face whether in bright light or shadow was remarkable.
How much picture sharpness you want is a personal choice, and Philips' can be so razor-sharp it’s as scratchy as video. Fortunately, the Movie setting seems to soften things a little. Freeview is also impressive, with colours perfectly balanced between muted and eye-catching. And HD content shines out spectacularly. For picture quality, this is one of the best screens yet: detailed and rich, making the most of whatever source you use.
When it’s switched off, the large white frame of the Aurea screen is intrusive and not to everyone’s taste. But when the screen and frame are working together, the resulting picture is immersive and addictive. It’s an easy TV to like, though not cheap, and with the exception of the control dial on the remote, pretty hard to fault.
Philips Aurea II 42PFL9903H 42in LCD TV
Love my lantern
I have the first gen Aurea TV hanging on the wall in my living room. It's definitely a marmite like product in that it polarises opinion like no other TV. My kids (18 and 9) absolutely love it, whereas my wife is not so keen (but then she would have preferred a 14" portable tucked away in a cupboard somewhere). So admittedly, for the first few days we spent more time watching the bezel of the TV than the screen itself, but after that initial acclimatisation, the Aurea lightshow genuinely creates an immersive experience - so much so that I now find watching any other TV slightly soulless no matter how good the actual picture is (Pioneer plasmas included). I guess if you've made up your mind that the Aurea is rubbish or gimmicky then nobody is going to change your opinion, but if you're curious, I think you will be presently surprised about how good these TVs actually are.
Having said all that, £2,500 to £3,000 is way too expensive. But then again pricey and its marmite qualities means it will remain quite an exclusive product...
Oh one unexpected benefit - this year there is no need to string the Christmas lights up outside the house, instead I'll just leave the curtains open and light up the street...
Does anyone know?
Does the Ambilight thing work well in games?
Seeing is believing
I have the first generation £3K Aurea 42" LCD hanging on my wall at home and I absolutely love it! I would never go back to a non-Ambilight TV and I only hope Philips are still producing Aurea models when I'm ready to upgrade in about 7-10 years! :) The pictures in this review don't do the Aurea justice, to be honest.
BTW I work in Financial IT (still!) :)
i trust these are more to your standards? - mono screen, lots of valves. 10 minute warm up time, and cost roughly the equivelent to £2500 when they were released :p
Have they not heard of the recession? They need to stop this multicoloured tomfoolery and bring out a cheap one that only glow around the edges in black and white.