What Hooked Us:
Excellent motion clarity.
High contrast ratio.
Low power consumption.
Accurate 24p reproduction.
Rich multimedia capabilities.
Why We Grumbled:
The operation is just plain awkward.
Local Dimming artefacts.
The Final Verdict:
Philips presents an impressive package: excellent features, sharp motion sequences, rich blacks, decent colours, excellent sound, and low power consumption. With these under its belt, the 46 PFL 9704 is easy to forgive for its Local Dimming artefacts and tricky operation.
The Philips 46 PFL 9704’s rear panel provides luxurious connectivity. One further HDMI input on the side of the unit joins the four seen here.
Various types of multimedia play back on the 46 PFL 9704 — including, for example, HDTV videos in DivX format. The user can input files either via USB or LAN, or even wirelessly using WLAN. But that’s not all: The developers have also used the network connection to fit the 46-inch LCD with “Net TV”, a web browser that allows users to watch YouTube videos online, for example.
Besides the TV’s excellent design, you’ll also immediately notice Philips’ “Ambilight” technology, which diffusely illuminates the wall behind the TV using coloured LEDs. The colour and brightness of the glow vary automatically to suit the current picture — as well as looking fantastic, this also reduces eye-strain.
The three-way hybrid tuner supports CI+ encryption, so the TV will also be able to access subscription HD broadcasts wherever operators allow the use of third-party receivers.
The attractive remote control fits snugly into the user’s grip.
We’re less impressed with the Philips’ operation. The blue and black menu might look great, but it often reacts irritatingly slowly. Overly large text also sometimes covers too much of the picture. And if, for example, you want to adjust the sharpness, you have to press no less than twelve buttons just to access the relevant setting. Could this actually be any more awkward?
During digital cable reception, the channel list shows all of the channels, including the encrypted ones, whereas some competing models offer you the choice to display only free-to-air broadcasters.
Picture Quality of Standard-Definition Signals
If you select the “Cinema” preset, the TV switches off almost all of its video technologies and therefore produces its most natural picture. TV signals look neutral and accurate, but the analogue tuner fails to reproduce as many details as our reference TV, the Pioneer KRP-500. Digital TV signals display perfectly.
Signals arriving via Scart and HDMI, on the other hand, show slight flicker during tricky camera pans. The “PC mode” provides undistorted up-scaling of 4:3-format pictures, and the motion-enhancing “HD Natural Motion / 200 Hz Clear LCD” technology eradicates motion blur — although it also introduces faint multiple edges.
Picture Quality of High-Definition Signals
The 46 PFL 9704’s CIE diagram reveals a slightly extended colour space.
Of course, the Philips only reaches top form with Blu-ray video, which allows it to show off the benefits of a modern LCD TV with local dimming — we’ve only ever seen blacks like this on the Pioneer KRP-500 and Philips’ 52-inch model from the same series, the Philips 52 PFL 9704. The only word for the depth of night-time scenes is ‘perfect’: Small spots of light shine 26,000-times brighter than the black background. Only the aforementioned Pioneer plasma can perform even nearly as well (20,000:1). But the Philip’s immensely high contrast brings one disadvantage: In some scenes, the local dimming technology produces nasty side effects. In the computer-animated intro to “Casino Royale”, for example, we noticed billowing bright and dark clouds that became even more obvious when we viewed the screen at an angle.
The colour reproduction impresses in the vast majority of scenes, but test patterns highlighted one small weakness: Saturated reds look a touch too bright, yellows slightly too pale. Furthermore, small spots of light and fine grids of black-and-white pixels frequently drift strongly towards blue — we noticed this effect, for example, in the turquoise glow of Will Smith’s teeth at playing time 18:18 in “I, Robot”. With “HD Natural Motion / 200 Hz Clear LCD” switched off, the tested model displays extremely sharp 24p signals — and reproduces the authentic film judder as accurately as would a top plasma model.
The speakers are actually a pleasant surprise: The woofers deliver rich fundamentals, even in rooms with background noise, and the tweeters lend clarity to speech.
Smart Setting: Personal
Advanced Sharpness: Off
Dynamic Contrast: Off
Colour Enhancement: Off
Picture Format: Unscaled
HD Natural Motion: Off
Dynamic Backlight: Best picture
MPEG Artefact Reduction: Off
Noise Reduction: Off
* These settings apply to realistic playback of HDTV/Blu-ray material through the HDMI interface in a darkened environment. Manufacturing and HDMI playback device deviations may necessitate slight adjustment.
Dimensions & Weight Details
Dimensions & Weight Details : Panel with stand – 112.3 cm x 28 cm x 76.7 cm x 29 kg
- Input Video Formats576i/p, 480i/p, 1080i/p, 720p
- HDMI : 4
- Dynamic Contrast Ratio : 5000000:1
- Resolution : 1920×1080
- Brightness : 500 cd/m2
- Diagonal Size : 46″ – widescreen
- Image Aspect Ratio : 16:9
- Power Consumption Stand by / Sleep : < 0.15 Watt
- Power Consumption Operational : 104 Watt
- Depth : 28 cm
- Width : 112.3 cm
- Weight : 25.4 kg
- Height : 76.7 cm
Digital TV Tuner
- Digital TV Tuner : DVB-C, DVB-T