back to article Philips 42in Ambilight LED array TV

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 Philips' 42PFL9803H/10: now with LED array backlighting There …


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  1. TeeCee Gold badge

    4:3 scaling?

    How does it scale an old skool 4:3 picture? The aging Sony plasma that I have now chops a tad off the top and bottom before the sideways stretching, which looks a damned sight better than the unpleasant "squashed" effect you get from merely stretching the picture. This was the killer feature that persuaded me to go with the Sony rather than the much-touted Panasonic Viera at the time.

    If this thing takes the same approach, it can go on my list of potential replacements....

  2. Luis Ogando
    Paris Hilton

    Nice, but pricey.

    Looks good, but you can pick up HD projectors for around 1000GBP at the moment that give a better viewing area.

    Still, it's a smart-looking set. Makes my Sony Trinitron look well old now.

    Paris, because she's pretty good for 42 inches.... apparently.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Power consumption???

    Isn't another big advantage of LED backlights that they use less power? Do tell.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    HD terrestrial TV - unfortunate reality check

    This part:

    "It supports MPEG-4 as well as MPEG-2, so it should happily display HD content when that starts to flow over the terrestrial network"

    Is *technically* correct, but very misleading. It *could* probably decode and display MPEG 4 HD from a DVB-T signal *if* UK broadcasters decided ever to transmit such a thing.

    Unfortunately they aren't going to do that, at least in the foreseeable lifetime of this TV. In the UK, HD MPEG-4 transmissions are going to be carried via a new RF standard called DVB-T2, which is completely incompatible with DVB-T and therefore requires a different tuner. At the moment there aren't any production tuners or TVs which meet this standard, and in fact the standard isn't even finalised.

    The Register has carried quite a few stories about this already.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ TeeCee

    And you consider that a good thing?!

    I am perfectly happy with black bars on either side of the screen if it means that I'm viewing the whole picture, in its correct aspect ratio.

    Stretching 4:3 to widescreen, however it's done, always looks horrible to me - either you destroy the aspect ratio or you lose strips off the top and bottom, or both, none of which I would consider acceptable.

    As for this TV, I like the sections of variable brightness LED backlight a good thing, it works well on all the TVs I've seen that use it, but I've been burned far too many times by Philips' crappy consumer electronics to even consider it. There's always several niggling things that spoil their products, or they break easily. Not a fan of the brand at all.

  6. Bob H

    Terrestrial HD

    This TV likely won't support Freeview HD without an extra set-top box. Freeview HD consists of more than just MPEG4, it also uses the new standard of DVB-T2 (for which no silicon is presently available).


  7. Ross Fleming

    Bravia dynamic contrast = fail

    My Bravia has this as well, think it's called dynamic contrast. Although good on slow moving images, I found it was atrocious at reacting to fast motion and had to turn it off (i.e. quarter of image goes dark, dynamic backlight catches up half a second later) as it was distracting.

    Any comments on how well this one does?

  8. Jos

    Old model....

    This model is to be replaced with a successor in a few months:

    The new 40PFL9704 (or 46/52PFL9704) will have better specs (and a lower price?)

    For more info:

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Needs an STB for Freeview HD

    Freeview HD will need a DVB-T2 tuner in addition to MPEG 4 support and these are still at the test stage, so this TV will almost certainly require an external STB.

  10. Peter Kay

    Waste of money..

    For less than two grand a plasma TV with better colour rendition could be bought, the only disadvantage being greater power consumption..

    Still, people will waste their money on something more popular yet technically inferior.

  11. vincent himpe

    old news

    Dolby labs came up with this technology already 15 months ago .... Philips licenced it shortly after.

  12. ian

    Still struggling with LCD

    I bought a Kuro (the cheap kind), and have all of the advantages of plasma in addition to a space heater!

    I wanted to like the LCD technology, but artifacts and poor black rendition turned me away.

  13. Bad Beaver
    Thumb Down

    look at those ports

    Electrical digital audio out... get over it, Philips...

  14. SinisterDexter

    Apple flattery...

    Looks like an old G4 iMac, sans crimbo pudding base...

  15. Christian Berger

    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.

  16. Craig

    Software updates

    The great thing about Philips HDTV boxes is the ease with which the software for the TV can be updated, just hit the 'update software' option in the menu when viewing digital TV and it will grab the latest software over the airwaves, providing support for new features. My 32PFL7962D has had several software updates since I bought it a little over a year ago, each one offering new features and sometimes support for additional codecs.

    If the standards for high-def over the airwaves change, I'm sure Philips will update their software to accommodate those changes.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Thanks for that link, excellent document... I just found out about the 16:9 marketing fallacy and I'll wait until someone produces a 21:9 display in a sensible size...

  18. James Pickett


    So what do you do when an LED needs replacing..?

  19. VulcanV5
    Paris Hilton

    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. ****

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