It's been a while since we last looked at a CRT TV. But with this Philips set delivering a whopping 32in of picture for just £450, there are plenty of people out there that are very glad to see it.
Aside from its sheer bulk,the 32PW6520/05 is a fairly attractive piece of kit.Or at least,the neutral silver colour scheme and pleasing combination of curves and hard, flat lines makes it as attractive as a big hunk of plastic is ever likely to get.
The set's connectivity,however, provides a swift reminder of its lowly price - and CRT technology's place in the AV world - offering just two Scarts, the usual front AV inputs, and a stereo audio output.For the UK,HD into CRT just doesn't go.
Pictures are resolutely 50Hz affairs, with no digital processing - be it Pixel Plus or even 100Hz - to help out. In fact,the only pictureassisting tricks the set has are a contrast booster and noise reduction system.
With nothing further to detain us, let's get straight down to business of how the no-frills pictures perform. It's all pretty much as you'd expect.
Starting with the bad news,it really is impossible to ignore the flickering caused by the 50Hz system.It's possible in these days of stable LCD and plasma pictures that we're more aware of this flicker than we used to be,but that doesn't alter the fact that it's there.
The 32PW6520 also has a tendency to slightly stress harsh edges,making them glow and 'echo' slightly, and its colours don't look quite as vivid as we'd like.
Tuner pictures look a bit noisy too,at times,due to a combination of fizzing noise over small patches of bright colour,and a tendency to slightly exaggerate the grain in the analogue broadcasts.Obviously the noise reduction system tackles this to some degree - but only at the cost of increased softness.
On the upside, it's nice to be reminded of just how natural a black level CRT technology can deliver.We've seen CRTs that deliver deeper blacks than this Philips,but nonetheless dark scenes enjoy a depth and scale many flat TVs can only dream of.
The colour tone,meanwhile,is excellent,despite the lack of vibrancy, and thanks to its CRT technology,it also suffers none of the artefacts commonly found on flat panel technologies,such as smeary/fizzing motion or colour banding.
Finally, the picture is likeably detailed for a 50Hz CRT set,with plenty of texturing to enhance the sense of scale initiated by the black level response.
Sonically,the 32PW6520 is fair to middling.The soundstage lacks width,and there's no great frequency extension,which means loud scenes can sound a bit compressed.But dialogue always remains clear,and the TV never distorts or rattles.
Inevitably, given its pricing and technology, this Philips TV isn't the last word in quality or technological prowess. But it at least does exactly what it says on the tin: namely delivering 32in of decent CRT pictures and solid sound at a knockdown price. John Archer