Philips 46pfl9705

The 46PFL9705H's 3D performance is the cleanest from an LCD TV to date.

Impressive suppression of crosstalk noise immediately reduces the eye and brain fatigue, making it just about possible to watch a full-length film without getting a headache. It hasn't been completely eradicated, though and is noticeably more recurrent than on Panasonic and Samsung's plasma 3D TVs.

Before 3D fans write the 46PFL9705H off and head out to bag a plasma TV, though, this liquid crystal set does hold a couple of significant advantages over its gas rival.

Its three-dimensional pictures are much more vibrant and colour-rich than those of any 3D plasma screen, enabling it to push the sharpness of full HD 3D pictures more strongly.

It's likely that different people will have different feelings about whether they prefer plasma's reduced crosstalk or the 46PFL9705H's extra 3D brightness and colour richness, so if you can, try to arrange a side-by-side comparison between it and, say, Panasonic's P50VT20 before making your decision.

Whipping off Philips' comfortable and effective 3D glasses reveals sensational 2D performance, provided that you keep on top of the processing issues with different source types mentioned earlier.
Colour response is breathtaking, with a huge, dynamic, yet also subtle and finely delineated palette.

Also playing a big part in this is the set's outstanding contrast. Philips' grasp of direct LED technology with local dimming enables almost miraculously inky blackness to occupy the same frame as blisteringly bright content, with scarcely a trace of the usual 'haloing' around the bright object.

Another palpable hit with the 46PFL9705H's pictures is their exceptional sharpness. This is due at least in part to the screen's almost total freedom from all traces of LCD's usual issue with motion blur.

You can remove all judder from the picture too using the set's HD Natural Motion processing, though be warned that you shouldn't use this processing set too high if you don't want the picture to start looking unnatural and suffer with artefacts such as shimmering around moving objects.

The 46PFL9705H is also capable of upscaling standard-definition pictures from its Freeview tuner remarkably well, again thanks to the efforts of its Perfect Pixel HD system. Once more you need to be careful not to overcook any of the set's processing here; too much noise reduction can soften and blur standard-def pictures, while too much sharpness and contrast can make them look noisy.

But it doesn't take a great deal of time to get a processing balance that leaves standard-definition pictures looking nearer to HD at times than you'd probably believe possible.

Another processing concern is the way the local dimming technology can become too extreme on its most aggressive setting, causing obvious discrepancies in areas containing varying degrees of brightness. Once again, though, on the rare occasion that you're watching something that generates this issue, you can get round it reasonably easily via the set's picture setting options.

The only significant unavoidable problem detected with the 46PFL9705H's pictures – aside from the effort required to keep them looking their best – is that they degrade quite markedly if viewed from a wide angle. This is because the direct LED 'haloing' effect around bright objects that's so hard to spot when viewing the screen straight on suddenly becomes distractingly apparent when viewing the TV from the side.