Feeds
80%
Philips 42PFL9803H/10

Philips 42in Ambilight LED array TV

The best 1080p LCD TV yet?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

But the main event here is the LED backlighting – a feature Philips calls Dynamic Backlight. Philips claims a massive contrast level of two million to one, which is impossible to measure outside of the lab. What matters, though, is that it means the TV should deliver plasma-like contrast levels.

Philips 42PFL9803H/10

Plasma-like contrast?

Let’s take the same white lettering on a black background test we used for the Samsung LED-backlit LE40A786 set. In the opening credits of Hitman, the tight white lettering was impressive. There was glint of grey between letters, but the light spill beyond the lettering was minimal. It wa certainly better than Samsung’s screen managed on the larger white on black writing that opens the film Sleuth.

Beyond that, the black levels are largely strong, sharpening up dark images and giving them extra definition. The luscious island greenery of Lost looks succulent and the skin tones of the desperate marooned islanders bright but convincing.

But, excellent though the contrast levels and the colour palette are, with the out-of-the-box settings, the Samsung has the edge on the Philips. When you’d switched the Smart LED on, the LE40A786 presented more striking blacks and even more stand-out contrast instantly.

This is why the 42PFL9803 is only almost a runaway success. Sure, you can tune the Philips to match and even beat the Samsung’s default settings, but the tweaking isn't straightforward, requiring lots of trial and error.

Still, the Philips screen exceeds the Samsung’s capabilities when it comes to widescreen film with an aspect ratio greater than 16:9. On the Korean set, the black bars at top and bottom of screen glowed grey – something completely absent here.

Philips 42PFL9803H/10

The Ambilight only illuminates the sides, not the top too

Philips hasn’t included an equivalent of the demo feature which on the Samsung set divides the screen in half to show exactly how the image is improved by the fancy backlighting. Even if the result is underwhelming, seeing the difference between on and off is instructive and here it’s an annoying omission.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Verdict

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Sporty in all but name: Peugeot 308 e-THP 110
Car of the Year? Arguably. Engine of the Year? Indubitably
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.