Philips 42pfl7404h

There's a simplicity and friendliness about the Philips' onscreen design that will appeal to anyone who's fed up with wading through illegible text and illogical submenus.

The operating system is based around the Home menu, which displays six shortcuts denoted by large, stylised icons. You can add any source you like to this menu, offering quick access to your most-used devices.

Select Setup and the menu is presented in a wonderfully simple way – the submenus progress from left to right across the screen, using large, 'glowing' text. It can get a little sluggish when you give it too many commands in quick succession, but all of the options are grouped exactly where you'd expect them to be and there's a lot of stuff to play around with.

Optimising the picture is child's play. The settings assistant displays a series of splitscreen images, asking which side you prefer, but the manual method is more fruitful.

Brilliant interface

All of the Precise Pixel HD modes are bunched together in one menu, so it's easy to make them all sing from the same hymn sheet.

Channel tuning is easy to find and quick, and the unusual EPG layout is slick and easy to follow. Press Options on the remote and a separate mini-menu appears, offering the most-used options and picture settings. Other features like digital text and USB playback operate quickly.

As for the remote, it's hardly the epitome of elegance bit does a solid, functional job. The silver ring of direction buttons is an eye-catching touch and the rubberised keys have a nice, clicky feel when pressed. The arrangement is fine and there are several shortcut buttons for zipping straight to often-used functions.