Channel 5

Philips 42PFL8404

Tuesday 22 December 2009


Rating of 4

The basics

In addition to performing its regular television duties, this TV is also a full-on DLNA media streamer, capable of taking video, music and photo files from your home PC and displaying them on its crisp 42-inch screen. Not only that, the Philips 42PFL8404H also comes with Net TV, an ambitious new feature that not only lets you browse YouTube videos and check the weather forecast with included widgets, but also includes a proper web browser. Blimey!

The good

As an HDTV the Philips 42PFL8404H fares well. It’s stuffed with loads of televisual wizardry, including 100Hz scanning, built-in upscaling and Philips’ trademark Ambilight Spectra backlighting, which bathes your living room wall in shades of coloured light based on whatever’s on the screen. All this tech makes pictures sharp and detailed, with smooth colour gradation and slick, judder-free motion. Audio quality is impressive for such a thin cabinet, and the built-in speakers deliver ample bass without ever straying into ear-bothering distortion. The connection selection is pretty high-end too – four HDMIs are available, plus component video, VGA, USB for media and Ethernet for networking.

The bad

Are things perfect? Well, they’re pretty close – although we did spot some artefacts around moving objects at times, which is a side effect of the motion processing tech. Philips reserves its very best picture enhancement technology for pricier sets though – the 9000 series and Cinema 21:9 models – so we reckon picture perfectionists will have to save up for one of those. While Net TV it does what it says on the tin, it works at a speed that makes the average tortoise look like a cheetah. The experience is a bit like surfing WAP on an old mobile – sluggish and frustrating. Still, it’s a new technology and essentially a bonus feature, and we can’t fault Philips for trying.

The bottom line

Overall this is a solid all-round performer with a stylish design (check out that narrow frame) and a stacked side order of features.
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User comments (8)

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Re: Philips 42PFL8404 Hi, This has to be the type TV for the future - but it so lacks imagination e.g. we already have LCD TV's with good PC monitor capability - is this the best that these manufacturers are able to come up with at this time? Come on guys get your act together this is not so much new technology, but rather, selectively peicing together that which already exists. I think that Google should commission an appropriate design which would more practically combine the best features of PC, broadband, TV, video and quality surround sound. What is needed is a proper working market focus group to help drive this initiative forward - it's not rocket science and I am absolutely sure that there is a huge world market out there just waiting for this type of technological combination (lets call it Telecomputer); and I am in no doubt that the focus group (if set up) would drive functional control towards a wireless coffee table table type touch screen to ease the use of all aspects. You know it makes! Jim Hedgeland

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