Philips 42in Ambilight LED array TV
The best 1080p LCD TV yet?
Review Philips flatscreens have a lot going for them. The picture quality is usually strong, sometimes outstanding. The designs are striking and eye-catching rather than bland or anonymous, though this doesn't mean they please everyone, of course.
Philips' 42PFL9803H/10: now with LED array backlighting
There are the Philips specialities like Pixel Plus, the image processing technology that has now evolved and been renamed Perfect Pixel. It's widely recognised as a class-leading picture enhancement system, though again it's not universally liked.
And then there’s Ambilight, the unusual lighting system that changes colour of the space around the TV as the picture changes, aiming to deliver an inviting, immersive image.
Philips has put all these components into one TV before, but now it's added LED backlighting. This uses multiple LED arrays each of which can be controlled individually. Regular LCD screens only have one backlight, running constantly, to illuminate the entire screen, washing out dark areas and cementing LCD's reputation for poor picture contrast.
With multi-array LED backlighting, the idea is that where the screen image is black, the LEDs behind that area are dimmed completely so as little spills out as possible. The upshot: stronger contrast and blacker blacks that regular LCDs can’t match. To do this, the full-HD 42PFL9803H/10 has 128 individually dimmable screen segments arrayed in a 16 x 8 grid, each with nine LEDs.
And Ambilight technology too
Surely, then, with all these features, the Philips 42PFL9803H/10 has to be a runaway hit, hasn’t it? Well, pretty much, yes.
For £2,000. . .
. . . does this Philips improve the content of whatever's appearing on screen?
We currently find that around 80% of everything pumped out on Freeview is utter crap. (But then, we're watching it on a 26" JVC CRT that cost £140 on eBay three years ago.) If spending £2,000 on this Philips television -- Gawd though, a television! -- will reduce the crap level to, say, just 33%, then is it worth buying?
And after three years, will it still be worth a lorra money? Our JVC's worth £50 according to recent eBay sales, so it's shed two-thirds of its value.
A superduper Philips like this -- assuming, it doesn't actually blow up / break down / fall over, like every piece of Philips equipment we've ever had before -- had better not lose money at that same rate.
People daft enough to lose £1,400 in three years on a device to watch crap TV ought to be the subject of a TV documentary themselves.
**** Paris, especially in ambient lighting. Or 100% pitch black. ****
So what do you do when an LED needs replacing..?
Why not OLED?
OLED panels are 20 Euros a piece in normal sizes, end customer price. That's why you find them in MP3-Players, mobile phones and other devices.