Philips HDTV - Philips HDTV Reviews

Philips, inventors of CDs and a host of other electronics related gadgets, offer an extensive line of both LCD and plasma HDTVs. The Philips HDTV line covers everything from the 30 inch 30PF9946D LCD for under $1000 to upwards of $6400 for the 50 inch 50PF9986 plasma. Fortunately, with Philips, you frequently get what you pay for.

By today's standards, even the relatively tiny 30 inch 30PF9946D offers six widescreen modes, just as the high end models do. The modes are used, for example, to adjust a standard TV broadcast from 4:3 aspect ratio to the now standard 16:9 aspect ratio of HDTV.

Resolution is excellent at 1280 x 768p. The 'p' stands for progressive, a technique in which the pixels are illuminated in one pass, rather than interlaced or 'painted' in two separate passes. The contrast ratio is a respectable 600:1, and brightness is good at 600 cd/m^2.

But, the Philips HDTV line really starts to shine in the 42 inch plasma arena. The 42PF9630A, for example, offers Philips proprietary Ambilight and Pixel Plus 2. The first allows a very fine control over the color and brightness, while the Pixel Plus 2 creates a smooth, natural-looking movement.

One advantage most plasmas have over some LCD's is the off axis contrast. Though less of an issue now, contrast and even color can shift at wide angles of view with a LCD set. Plasmas do not suffer from this effect and provide a deep black and good contrast at all angles.

Contrast ratio for the 42PF9630A is listed at 10000:1, which would be phenomenal. Some reviewers put the actual measured number in the 1500:1 range; still an excellent number.

One possible reason for the large difference, may be less blatant dishonesty than old fashioned marketing. The larger number often refers to dynamic contrast, as opposed to static. Since images are usually moving, the larger number is not completely bogus.

Burn in is largely a thing of the past in most normal circumstances. Not too long ago, having a stationary image for 15 minutes on a plasma could contribute to a permanent haze. Now, it would take hours before the effect would be of concern. Newer sets move the image across pixels ever so slightly every few minutes. So, unless you leave a news broadcaster's logo on the screen all day, every day you can buy a plasma without concern.

The set comes with a variety of ports, such as two High Definition Multimedia Interface or HDMI inputs, which allows for showing the best quality possible from your DVD. S-video, for example, does not output the highest possibly quality for films on DVD.

The USB ports will come in handy for those who want to display digital photos or video on their large, flat panel and can also be used to upgrade the software inside the set.

At 93 lbs or 42kg, the set is on the heavy side for wall mounting, but that is certainly possible with proper installation.

Priced around $2,400 the Philips HDTV set is competitive with comparable models from Samsung, Hitachi and others. Larger models offer the same great picture, but with a correspondingly higher price tag. Philips is known for making quality equipment and shoppers will find it worthwhile to give their line a look.