Philips 40pfl9704 lcd tv

For the last few years we've often wondered why some brands had dropped plasma in favour of LCD.

Although LCD tech continues to magnify even the slightest problem with images, Philips' LED Pro at last delivers on the tech's potential and achieves a picture quality that arguably tops the best plasmas.

Drenched in contrast and with minor blur, this elegant yet powerful LED set is decent value if you can afford it.

We liked:

Blu-ray discs with this much depth are something of a revelation, while accurate colours and a huge dollop of contrast make the 40PFL9704 a set to stun. There's very little motion blur and on-screen action is lent even more fluidity by Perfect Natural Motion.

Arguably what makes this set truly stand out from the crowd is its audio. Powerful and nicely balanced stereo sound with plenty of bass is a rare thing indeed on a flatpanel TV.

The cost, of course, is slimness - this is a fat-panel compared to most - but serious AV fans will thank Philips for ignoring the trend for super-slim TVs in favour of some seriously punchy sonics.

Also worth a mention is the 40PFL9704's versatility; it's particularly good with Blu-ray and HDTV sources, but its treatment of DVD and even digital video files is also impressive.

We disliked:

Though undoubtedly a TV high on quality, the attractiveness of the 40PFL9704's Perfect Natural Motion feature is ultimately down to personal taste.

We're prepared to live with the odd blemish in exchange for some giddy depth, though others may not be.

The occasional - though distracting - flicker from Perfect Natural Motion aside (it's best left on its lowest setting), the only other serious concern for some will be the 40PFL9704's treatment of digital TV pics from its built-in Freeview tuner.

Soft, noisy and looking over-processed, it's a serious low point on the 40PFL9704, though thankfully this slight weakness with standard definition doesn't stretch to DVD, making this as good an all-rounder as any LCD TV.

Final verdict:

A benchmark LED set it may be, but a good plasma - which costs half the price - remains a good alternative. Our advice is to bide your time and shop around for a lower price, but don't let the 40PFL9704 fall off your radar, because this is one luscious LED TV.

This review was written in conjunction with:

What Video & Hi-Def TV magazine

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