Philips 32PF3320

This model is prone to exaggeration

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Our Verdict

An underwhelming performance will have you regretting this cost-cutting purchase


  • Fine details are good

    Low price


  • Some harshness and exaggerated levels

Well, it's cheap, we'll give it that. In fact, this 32in LCD TV is the least expensive model from the Philips stable yet. And, boy, does it look it. This bland looking model hardly cuts a dash in the style department.

The 32PF3320's single DVI, and lack of an HDMI or analogue component video inputs, means it can't wear an HD-ready badge, despite being able to accept 720p, 1080i and 1080p HD feeds. So you can watch HDTV on it with difficulty. To get the coverted HD-ready badge a TV must have a HDMI or a DVI, and component video jacks. No jacks, no badge.

The single DVI means that if you want to be able to connect the 32PF3320 to a Sky HD receiver, alongside an upsampling DVD player or an Xbox 360, you'll have to brace yourself for some irritating unplugging and faffing about. Let's softly chant the phrase two HDMIs', until manufacturers sit up and take notice.

On the bright side, there is a component video to DVI adaptor provided, but you're still going to have to swap connections over if you need to use this analogue HD socket. Features are also on the Spartan side.

There's little to write home about here, except Virtual Dolby audio, a contrast booster and picture-in-picture capabilities. Neither is there a digital tuner. Although this is less of a loss if you want to get HDTV, as cable and satellite HD packages provide more digital channels than Freeview.

Still, despite bracing ourselves for a picture performance seriously compromised by the lack of picture processing and limited connections, we weren't as disappointed as all that - but don't get over excited, the pictures aren't much to write home about.

With our test DVD of 24 Hour Party People spinning, the Philips gets off to a good start. Colours are relatively vibrant and convincing, benefiting the scenes in the Hacienda nightclub considerably. Even skin tones don't come off too badly, with actors' faces at the Free Trade Hall Sex Pistols concert looking natural.

Black is back

Similarly, fine details are on the button. Black levels are reasonable enough in terms of depth, but they're not that subtle, either. Things start to go wrong for this Philips when it comes to fast-moving scenes, as there's too much smearing and deterioration of picture crispness for our liking.

With high-definition feeds, the picture sometimes exaggerates MPEG noise in the digital signal, which is downright annoying. The 32PF3320's sonic performance is similarly alright, but nothing special.

During the most frenetic audio moments (like any scenes featuring house music), there are elements of harshness that aren't particularly enjoyable, but there's a lack of distortion at high volumes, and bass and trebles are generally good. The speakers do the movie's music- heavy soundtrack justice, without adding to the overall experience.

We suspect that the major thing to focus on with the Philips 32PF3320 is the price - just under £900 isn't that much outlay to sign up to the high-definition experience. But we feel that a little more money spent elsewhere will be well rewarded.

There's a price war going on out there in the high street (and online). In such a battle, average screens like this are the first casualties.