Philips 50PFL7956T review

Philips' ultra-widescreen Edge LED TV sets the gold standard for movies

Philips 50PFL7956T
This ultra-widescreen 3D TV is a mixed bag

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Philips 50pfl7956t review

Although those with no interest in watching Blu-ray discs in full super-widescreen glory will see nothing but novelty in the Philips 50PFL7956T, the TV's got more going for it than mere dimensional rarity.

Using an Edge LED backlight, the Philips 50PFL7956T's 2560 x 1980 pixel panel can show 3D material and make 2D-3D conversions on the fly from any source. Its thoroughly advanced Pixel Precise HD video processing is fitted with 400Hz Perfect Motion Rate, HD Natural Motion and Super Resolution.

For a full examination of the Wi-Fi-powered Net TV, read our Philips 42PFL7666H review, but for now know that you'll find BBC iPlayer, YouTube, TuneIn Radio, Aupeo, Picasa, Acetrax and Box Office 365. Attach a wireless keyboard and you can type straight into the likes of Facebook and Twitter, as well as into a dedicated web browser.

Philips 50pfl7956t review

Ambilight Spectra 2, Philips' two-sided version of this unique lighting tech, makes an appearance on the Philips 50PFL7956T. It's actually a bit of a let-down - although the dynamic light show that accompanies a film or TV is technically as impressive as ever, the two sides are so far away from each other that the effect is not as cohesive or enveloping as it can be.

A third strip of Ambilight LEDs along the top of the TV is needed, although its no-show simply helps to explain the Philips 50PFL7956T's relatively low price.

That said, there's a surprise in store for gamers. Although they're not the target audience of the Philips 50PFL7956T, the extra-large screen can be used for two-player full screen gaming, if both players use adapted 3D specs.

Philips 50pfl7956t review

Two pairs of regular 3D glasses are included in the box, but for this feature to work you'll need to either buy the £50 PTA436 pack of two special gaming glasses from Philips, or make them yourself – the pack contains one pair that uses two left eye lenses, and one that has only right eye lenses in. Geddit? Forget 3D effects – the 3D glasses are used here not to create depth, but to make only half the pixels visible to each player.

Connections on the Philips 50PFL7956T are fairly standard for a high-end TV; four HDMI inputs (including one on the side panel, and one that's Audio Return Channel-compatible) are joined by a set of component video inputs, an RGB Scart, a couple of USB slots, an Ethernet LAN port, an SD card slot (for Net TV downloads only), an optical digital audio output, ports for a PC link and a headphones slot.

One of those USB slots can be used to make recordings from the Philips 50PFL7956T's built-in Freeview HD tuner, as well as power a record/pause feature. Streaming digital files across a home network is also possible.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),