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Philips 32PF9641D review

Price, function and performance in perfect balance

The 32PF9541D is no mean looker

Our Verdict

Next to most other TVs in its price bracket the 32PF9641D is an outstanding effort


  • Impressive pictures

    Features galore


  • SD sources can look slightly grainy

Not many brands currently offer a wider range of flat TVs than Philips - and few, if any sets in that line-up offer such a perfect balance of price, function and performance as the 32PF9641D.

It's no mean looker either, with its already appealing gloss black frame joined dramatically by pools of coloured light spilling from fluorescent tubes down its sides.

Connectivity is outstanding in many ways, with twin HDMIs being joined by the usual component video input, a digital tuner input, a digital audio output for porting on multichannel soundtracks received via the HDMIs, and even a USB jack for playing JPEG, MP3, MPEG2 and .alb slideshow files.

The set's aggressive price doesn't mean there's any serious skimping on other features, either. You get Philips' acclaimed Pixel Plus 2 HD picture processing, for starters.

This isn't as refined as the third generation of the technology now found on the company's high-end LCD TVs, but we've still admired it for its ability to sharpen detailing and improve colour accuracy.

Inevitably with a Pixel Plus TV, the most striking aspect of a very strong picture performance is the 32PF9641D's sharpness. SD digital broadcasts are transformed from their soft and indistinct form into something that looks halfway to HD, while HD sources can look like some new ultra-detailed 'HD plus' format.

This sharpness works in tandem with some deep and detailed black levels to give dark scenes a profound sense of scale. The image is really dynamic, too, thanks to some ultra-vivid colours to counterpoint the solid black levels.

Colour tones are accurate, and provided you ditch the Digital Natural Motion feature (which, for our money, makes pictures look unnatural and over-processed), the TV also handles motion without serious resolution loss.

With some perfectly decent audio coming from the set's slimline speakers, our only complaint concerns the slight graininess that accompanies Pixel Plus 2 HD's machinations, especially while watching SD sources. While some may feel this is too high a price to pay for the improvements Pixel Plus 2 HD brings, we certainly don't.