Philips 40pfl9705

Forget Freeview HD and 3D for a while; the most important feature on the 40PFL9705 is its Perfect Pixel HD picture processing suite. Designed to help it combat the dreaded crosstalk problem while displaying 3D video, the 400Hz feature deserves some explaining.

It is a 200Hz panel plus a 200Hz scanning backlight that, Philips claims, only illuminates the pixels once the LCD crystals have had a chance to settle on the new image, rather than in the transition period (which causes the echoes and artefacts on almost all 3D LED LCD TVs). In this way it achieves a stunning (again, claimed) response time of 0.5 milliseconds.

Perfect Natural Motion is a frame interpolation engine that's worth investigating, though it can introduce artefacts to moving objects as it goes about its job removing judder from Blu-ray discs.

Classy on the outside, too, this 40-incher has a brushed aluminium frame and is among the most solidly built TVs you'll see. Weighing a hefty 20kg, it is a relatively portly 69mm deep.

Ambilight is here in its Spectra 3 guise. Three strips of LED lights on the set's rear adjust in colour and brightness to match the onscreen picture, creating a dynamic light show that's arguably more immersive than 3D video.

Away from the lights are plenty of in and outputs, all of which are housed in an extraordinarily compact design that crams almost everything into the TV's rear left-hand corner. Three HDMI inputs – one featuring an audio return channel – sit alongside a couple of Scarts, component video, a PC input, optical audio output and Ethernet LAN.

Although as a basic Freeview set it doesn't require Ethernet connectivity, it's included here to power its DLNA networking and Net TV functions – though there's also a built-in Wi-Fi module.

A side panel adds a fourth HDMI input, a Common Interface slot (for Top-Up TV viewing cards), an SD Card slot (for the possibility of future movie downloads via Net TV, but not capable of playing back digital media files of any sort) and two USB 2.0 ports, though the latter are squashed rather too close together; attaching external USB hard-disk drives is possible, but two USB sticks can clash.

Net TV now includes widgets for Box Office 365 alongside YouTube, Picasa, Dailymotion, Screen Dreams, radiotime, funspot, MeteoConsult, France 24 and an open Opera web browser. Box Office 365 contains some old comedy and drama from ITV alongside Audiolounge's small selection of films and MOR live music largely from the 1970s and 1980s.

On-demand IPTV may be the future, but for now there's nowhere near enough content to threaten the likes of Virgin, iPlayer, Sky or the Xbox.

Lastly, don't underestimate the usefulness of the 40PFL9705's 30W speakers that are about three times more powerful than most flat TVs.