Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Philips 32PFL9632D Review

32in LCD
A technological feast, and possibly the best 32in LCD currently available.
HD Ready: yes
Resolution: 1366 x 768
Rating: 93%


With slightly rounded corners, the Philips 32PFL9632D introduces a subtle departure in style for the Dutch electronics manufacturers latest range of LCD TV's. Just as visually dramatic as previous LCD TV's, the slim outer grey grille-like bezel with wider inner glossy black screen frame will undoubtedly gain an instant following.


Philips have added just a single digit to differentiate their High-End 32in LCD the 32PFL9632D from its predecessor the 32PFL9631D, but don't be fooled by this rather innocuous change. The Philips 32PFL9632D packs an extra technological punch which belies this single digit change.

Screen: 32in 16:9
Sound System: Nicam
Resolution: 1366 x 768
Contrast Ratio: 8,000:1
Brightness: 550cd/m2
Other Features: Perfect Pixel Engine, HD Natural Motion, 100Hz Clear LCD.
Sockets: 3 HDMI, 2 SCART, Component Video, Composite Video, PC input.

By rights, the latest incarnation of Philip's Picture Processing Engine should be Pixel Plus HD 4, but the Dutch manufacturer believes there has been enough technological development packed into this system to warrant a completely new name, 'Perfect Pixel Engine'

Perfect Pixel Engine, like previous picture processing technology from Philips, has been designed primarily to enhance picture sharpness with both High Definition (HD) and Standard Definition (SD) sources and improve natural detail and colour performance. A main element of this system, 'HD Natural Motion circuit' improves on 'Digital Natural Motion' by employing greater amounts of processing power to improve motion fluidity.

100Hz processing and 14-bit colour are the other main constituents of the new Perfect Pixel Engine. 100Hz processing inserts an extra picture frame into the equation to take the frame rate up from 50 fps (frames per second) to 100 fps, improving motion handling capabilities. 14-bit colour offers a much larger range of colours and potentially far more realistic and natural images.

The 32PFL9632 introduces a new version of Philip's acclaimed 'Ambilight' system which delivers light from the sides of the LCD screen to enhance/complement the current scene. With a fully back-lit LED (replacing the previous fluorescent source) which glows through the purpose built frame surrounding the LCD panel, with light actually shinning through the frame, Philips describes the effect as "bringing light and color to life in an unparalleled, highly visual and immersive fashion, drawing the audience into the full emotional experience".


Don't be too concerned with the lack of Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution on the Philips 32PFL9632D. You may have heard much recently about the benefits of the extra screen resolution, but for a 32in unit, the potential benefits are negligible. On a larger screen, Full HD comes into its own, but far more important for this size of LCD are how the in-built picture processing elements handle the incoming signal - first indications are that the 32PFL9632D handles it superbly well.

Immediately apparent with the 32PFL9632D is that we are witnessing something special from an LCD TV with respect to motion handling capabilities. Not a huge leap forward from the likes of Panasonic and Sony, and their take on 100Hz processing, Philips's 100Hz Clear LCD is nevertheless a significant improvement, displaying a fluidity of motion not seen previously on an LCD TV.

The impressive motion handling capabilities of the 32PFL9632D contribute to increased level of performance in other areas. High Definition (HD) looks superb, with a level of sharpness and detail that places the 32PFL9632D firmly in an elite leading pack of 32in LCD TV's.

Black levels are again at least a match for for the best 32in LCD TV's, and provide a platform for an incredibly rich and vibrant colour palette. 14-bit colour provides an exceptional range of colours which translate into highly realistic and wholly natural images even with tricky skin tones.

Before we get too carried away, we have to point out that black levels are still behind the best that plasma technology can offer, and motion handling capabilities, although impressive, will not appeal to everyone. Many of you out there prefer the more natural motion handling capabilities of plasma, while LCD can appear over processed and just too vivid.


The 32PFL9632D is not perfect, but is arguably good enough to be at the head of an elite leading pack of 32in LCD TV's.

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