A bit old now, but in its day a quality TV, with a picture performance that has been a contender in the 42in plasma market
It's a young gadgets world out there, but this 2006 Philips LCD proves that older models can still show the upstarts a thing or two. The 42PF9631D is no longer the most affordable 42in screen in town, but it still has a host of premium features that bring it into bargain territory.
It's HD-ready, of course, and has Philips' own unique Ambilight 2 lighting system for a more immersive viewing experience, a digital tuner and a handy USB media connector. Enough to shake a stick at anyone questioning its credentials, at any rate.
Once set up – aided by the superb Settings Assistant for the technologically challenged – the Philips presents a splendid picture. Aspects such as detail, screen noise and rapid-action ability fall short of the pricier new Pioneer PDP-428XD, but you could use the spare cash to buy a better DVD player and cables.
The Philips set ably relays even the most fiendishly tricky tones with plenty of detail. Admittedly, results from the digital TV tuner don't quite match those from DVD, but the robust picture is perfectly fine for daily viewing.
Smooth HD operator
Not surprisingly, the best off-air results come from hooking up an HD-equipped source, resulting in a beautifully detailed and smooth image. Only the king of quibblers could moan about the picture or (very decent) sound at this price.
If forced to quibble we'd say that, given the price, we'd like a slightly more vivid colour palette – but other than that, this is a great flatscreen buy.
Inevitably, this particular model is coming to the end of its life, so a quick bit of shopping around may well mean you can pick one up for a lot less than the price quoted here. If you can find one cheap, this set is well worth considering.
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