Philips Aurea II 42PFL9903H 42in LCD TV
A stunning screen that brings truly trance-inducing experience
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.