Philips has clearly come up trumps with the 42PF7621D
Slight noise issue in HD
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This LCD TV has quite a full house - impressive pictures, sound, styling, connections and features. The quality of Philips' recent LCD TVs has varied so dramatically that it's impossible to prejudge the 42PD7621D, but it gets off to a impressive start with its swish (albeit wide) appearance.
Connectivity keeps us smiling, too. Particularly gratifying are two HDMIs and dedicated PC and component jacks, digital audio inputs/outputs (handy for avoiding lip-synch issues), and a USB jack for direct playback of JPEG, MP3, MP3 Pro, LPCM, MPEG1, and MPEG2 files from memory cards.
A CAM slot, meanwhile, indicates the presence of a digital tuner - something which, together with the abundant HD connectivity, makes the provision of only two Scarts pretty easy to bear.
Pixel Plus 2 HD image processing is also onboard. This isn't the latest Pixel Plus system, but Pixel Plus 2 HD's own detail boosting, motion-improving, edge-enhancing and colour optimising talents have already impressed us on smaller Philips screens. And it takes little time in the company of our Spider-Man 2 Sky HD and DVD versions to confirm that Pixel Plus 2 doesn't just hold up at 42-inch - it thrives at such a size.
Take, for instance, the 42PF7621D's sharpness: detail-heavy HD shots like those where Spidey hurtles through town look fantastically textured and sharp. But as testament to the full prowess of Pixel Plus 2 HD, the same scenes look sharper than usual from DVD too.
Even better, this general crispness is seldom blighted by motion smearing, even during the film's action scenes.
Colours are hugely impressive. The rich hues of Spidey's outfit burst off the screen with stunning vibrancy, yet suffer no serious noise or edging issues. And subtler colours, such as skin tones, look totally authentic, avoiding LCD's common green tingeing or over-ripeness.
As Peter chats with Mary in his backyard at night, meanwhile, the 42PF7621D exhibits excellent black levels that go deep without losing subtle shading details. Couple these with bright and pure whites, and you've got a picture of unusual dynamism.
If the 42PF7621D has a picture flaw, it's that its aggressive approach can slightly exaggerate MPEG noise in the Sky HD Spider-Man 2 transfer. But it hardly seems fair to get heavy on the Philips for this when the blame lies more with the source.
Sonically, the 42PF7621D is good. There's plenty of power and soundstage width to liven up raucous scenes like Doc Ock's noisy demise, treble details are plentiful and free of harshness, and vocals sound believable. All that's missing is a bit more bass extension.
Philips has clearly come up trumps with the 42PF7621D, combining good looks, great connectivity, features galore, keen pricing and outstanding pictures in one nigh-on irresistible package.
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