Philips'new IDTV,the 28DW6559, lets you indulge yourself in digital TV's myriad benefits for as little as £500.
Things get off to a decent start courtesy of the 28DW6559's eye-catching grille-style finish.This certainly helps the set's chunky fascia stand out,as well as feeling more robust than many sub-£500 TVs.
Connectivity is predictably basic, with the only additions to the usual Scart duo and front AV jacks being a common interface slot for adding extra subscription digital services and a coaxial digital audio output.
Not surprisingly,the 28DW6559's features are dominated by the digital tuner.The latter,of course,includes an electronic programme guide that is compatible with the new seven-day system now available in many areas and allows you to set recordings by simply selecting the programmes. There are,however,no genre searching tools,and a small version of the TV picture doesn't continue to play in a corner while you browse.
Other handy tricks employed by the 28DW6559 are a contrast booster, noise reduction system,and picture rotation for compensating for the Earth's magnetic pulls.
As usual with a Philips TV,the most standout talent is colour richness. Pictures from all sources enjoy exceptionally vivid,vibrant hues that keep your eye well and truly fixed on the screen.In spite of their extreme vibrancy,the 28DW6559's colours stay carefully contained within their proper boundaries.
Rich colours aren't usually possible without a solid contrast range,and so it proves with the 28DW6559.It refreshes black levels most budget sets just cannot reach, adding depth of field and solidity to the lustre mentioned above.
Extended digital tuner viewing also proves the 28DW6559 to have a good decoding system that avoids the noise and blockiness found with some IDTVs.Digital and RGB viewing also suffers impressively little with the usual flickering common to 50Hz TVs,while a general lack of grain and edge tizzing helps make your viewing experience delightfully direct.
There is still room for improvement, though. Our biggest complaint concerns the slightly waxy look of skin tones, especially (though not exclusively) during digital TV viewing.This seems partly due to a slight lack of fine detail and texture,and partly due to a marginally over-ripe colour tone. Other more minor niggles comprise the appearance of moiring noise over fine detail information,and a jagged look to bright,curved edges.
Sound-wise,the set cleverly uses depth as well as impressive width in its soundstage to create the impression of deep,well-rounded bass tones,without crowding the mid-range or trebles.Vocals can still sound a bit squished and thin during loud scenes,but overall,our ears came away impressed.
With the 28DW6559 Philips has conjured up another seriously persuasive reason to go digital. It combines nicely presented digital functionality and flexibility with a very able all-round performance - all at a price that makes many analogue sets blush.