Philips 28PW8719 review

A good price from a good brand - what's the catch?

Our Verdict

You won't find a better TV at this price

For

  • Good value

Against

  • Some 50Hz flicker

Remember when £400 didn't even get you a 28in 50Hz widescreen TV from Goodmans? Well, today it'll get you a 100Hz model, from no less respected a brand than Philips.

Philips doesn't appear to have compromised on build quality. The 28PW8719 wears the same reasonably attractive, if slightly dated, grilled silver finish seen on countless previous Philips TVs before, including many more expensive ones.

Connectivity is par for the budget course, with just a couple of Scarts, plus the customary 'front' options (here actually placed down the side) of an S-video jack, composite video jack and stereo audio input.

Features are dominated by the set's digital picture processing.Three options are available: standard 100Hz, Digital Scan (which adds line flicker reduction) and the unusual Double Lines mode. Recommended for use with NTSC sources, this reverts to 50Hz scanning, but adds twice as many lines to the picture. The only other feature of interest is a three-stage picture noise reduction circuit.

Helping you access these features is a surprisingly gorgeous remote control that looks like it's escaped from a TV much higher up Philips' price tree. So it's a shame the onscreen menus are so sluggish and tricky to read over bright backdrops.

Philips hasn't made a bad CRT TV for years and it's not about to start now. The first plus point is the way the TV's various digital processing modes deliver all the stability and colour richness we could hope for without introducing any significant nasty side effects (provided you avoid the 'Med' and 'Max' noise reduction settings). Pictures look winningly direct and - thanks to above average detail handling - sharp.

Colours are radiant, too, looking particularly spectacular with highly saturated hues, but also showing a reasonably deft touch with subtler fare, even during dark scenes.

While we're on the subject of dark footage, the 28PW8719 also outdoes practically all its sub-£400 rivals with its exemplary black-level performance.

Cut-price areas

There are areas, however, where the TV's cut-price nature peeks through. First, some harsh edges appear with a quite noticeable glowing halo around them. Then there's a fractionally muddy look to peak whites. Finally, we found the Double Line mode rather too prone to 50Hz flicker for comfort.

The 28PW8719 sonics are very solid for such a cheap TV. The biggest strength is the firm grip on dialogue, no matter how full-on the racket behind it. The soundstage is also admirably widespread and reasonably bass-laden. Our only major niggle is that a simple shortage of power can compress the treble range to the point of harshness when the going gets really tough.

While the 28PW8719 is inevitably no rival for Philips' Pixel Plus sets or the current, much more expensive, range-toppers from the likes of Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic, we can't think of any other TV under £400 that can beat it.