Philips 40pfl7605 1

Philips may have misfired on its choice of tuner, but the 40PFL7605 takes a far more generous approach to its inputs.

On the rear are three HDMI inputs, of which one is 1.4 version with an audio return channel, which is useful if you want to route sounds into a home cinema. There are also a couple of Scarts, component video inputs, and connections for a PC, PC audio and Ethernet LAN.

A side panel introduces a fourth HDMI input alongside a USB port, a Common Interface slot (for adding a Top-Up TV card) and an SD card slot – the latter making its debut on a Philips TV, though its only function is to store videos downloaded from Net TV in SD (4GB card required) or HD (8GB).

It's possible to add devices to the 'Home' menu itself following a short, simple wizard that assigns a name and an icon to each input.

No Freeview HD

In the absence of Freeview HD, NetTV's no-holds-barred web surfing is probably one of the 40PFL7605's key features. Powered by an Opera browser, web pages are found quickly, though having to type out web addresses is laborious.

We also experienced problems with online media and embedded video, with BBC iPlayer website and others failing to play video; there's no Flash or HTML5 software inside the Philips 40PFL7605.

Services include the usual YouTube, DailyMotion and Picasa, as well as Box Office 365, which for £2.99 gives you access to some downloadable content from ITV and Cartoon Network.
Other online fun can be had with this set's DLNA streaming, while the set's USB slot can playback digital media files.

One of Philips' favourite features, and presented here in its Spectra 2 'stereo' configuration, is Ambilight, which has LED lights running up the sides of the rear of the TV.

Edge LED backlighting

Also relying on LED lighting is the LCD panel itself. On the 40PFL7605 Philips' engineers have plumped for Edge LED lights, which is a boon in itself – this is the first mid-range Philips TV not to use a bog-standard CCFL-backlit panel.

This array consists of rows of multi-die LEDs at the top and bottom edges of the screen around a guide to make sure the panel is bright in every area. Philips claims this achieves a 'staggering' dynamic contrast ratio of 500,000:1. Yes, we are staggered… and perhaps slightly sceptical.