It might not be the priciest TV in the Philips arsenal, but the Philips 42PFL6008 comes across as a serious screen for serious movie watchers. It's nicely primed for Freeview HD and delivers images to a seriously high level, though gives only a nod to the latest smart TV features.

We liked

A realistic, perhaps cool colour palette, stunning HD sharpness and excellent quality upscaling are the picture highlights, but we were also impressed by the subtlety of Perfect Natural Motion. Frame interpolation circuitry can be aggressive and downright odd-looking, but here it helps produce smooth judder-free images from Blu-ray.

It also helps show off passive 3D, which although always a tad soft by its nature, has never looked better than on the Philips 42PFL6008. Excellent audio and a truly awesome floating design are the icing on the cake.

We disliked

Shadow detailing is lacking, but it's those after smart features who will be the most disappointed. Wi-Fi Smart Screen is unstable and doesn't enable video sending, which puts Philips slightly behind the curve.

Smart TV apps offer Blinkbox, but not Netflix or Lovefilm, though the real annoyance is the slow operation and lack of joined-up navigation with the TV's core user interface. The double-sided remote is great in theory, but the browser it operates remains slow and unusable to anyone with a smartphone in their pocket.

Final verdict

There are few TVs around that produce pin-sharp and clean images from all sources, but the Philips 42PFL6008 is such a TV. As such it's a great all-rounder for a living room, but only if you're not interested in smart TV - the few apps and widgets here are blighted by a slow user interface and a stodgy browser not helped by a double-sided remote.

There's also a slight question mark over shadow detailing and a little clouding over large areas of black in images, but otherwise we have no complaints at all about any sources of video. This is a real all-rounder that's as good with showing delicately textured and super-smooth HD as it is with standard definition, DVDs - and 3D, which also impresses.

Relatively powerful speakers - even with some discernible bass - cap off a strong and good value performance, but it's a stunning build quality and floating design that make the Philips 42PFL6008 one of the best value 42-inch TVs around for those not bothered about smart stuff.

Also consider

Rivals are myriad at this screen size, and include the Panasonic ET60 Series, which has a much more integrated, faster-working smart TV interface.

At the other end of the scale is the Finlux 40S8070T, which does a reputable job for under £700, though does produce an image a notch or two below the Philips.

It's also worth checking out bargain screens currently in clearance, such as the LG 42LS570T.