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

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Philips 50pfl7956t review

One of the key features of the Philips 50PFL7956T is its stretching and cropping of various video inputs. While 2.39:1-shaped Blu-ray movies are simply cropped top and bottom to present their full screen, an Auto Fill mode ensures that everything else fits. Sort of.

We tried it with a range of TV broadcasts and DVDs, and found that some background actors lost their heads, while other footage, such as sports and movies, generally didn't suffer. In fact it often looked amazing. Auto fill isn't perfect, but there's never any nasty stretching involved.

While Net TV, along with many of the Philips 50PFL7956T's core functions, is easy to use, Multi View turns out to be a let-down. Despite the screen being so wide, the provision of a main screen and a thumbnail beside ought to work. One of those windows must be Net TV, and unless you're watching something on BBC iPlayer, there's not a lot of point to Multi View.

Philips 50pfl7956t review

That goes double because the web browser option in Web TV is slow and hard to navigate. Reach for your smartphone is you want to surf the web.

The remote control is nicely designed, with an oval shape, although this time the metallic finish is merely painted plastic. One thing we did notice was the remote's lack of a dedicated 3D button. If you're using a 3D Blu-ray player, this makes no difference - the TV automatically prompts you to choose 3D mode. But if you're watching from a Sky or Virgin Media box, as we were, it's necessary to dive into a long series of on-screen menus to find the side-by-side 3D format option. It's not a problem as such, but the TV doesn't make it easy, and as a consequence the instant 3D effect is lost.

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),