Saturday, April 5, 2008

Philips 42PFP5532D

42in Plasma
Surprisingly good all round plasma for a knock down price.
HD Ready: yes
Resolution: 1024 x 768
Rating: 89%


The first thing that strikes us about the PFP5532D is the quality of finish, which comes as a pleasant surprise on a budget screen. It also looks good, comparing favourably with the somewhat plastic look and feel of many of its rivals.


Picture processing on the 42PFP5532D comes in the shape of 'Pixel Plus HD' technology, which is not the latest incarnation of this technology, but has built a solid reputation for its image enhancement abilities. It has been designed to enhance picture sharpness with Standard Definition (SD) sources as well as High Definition (HD) material, improve natural detail and colour performance.

Screen: 42in 16:9
Sound System: Nicam
Resolution: 1024 x 768
Contrast Ratio: 15,000:1
Other Features: Pixel Plus HD, 3D Combfilter , Digital Noise Reduction , Jagged Line Suppression.
Sockets: 2 HDMI, 2 SCART, Component Video, Composite Video, S-Video, PC input.

Connectivity on the 42PFP5532 is adequate rather than outstanding with 2 HDMI and 2 Scarts along with the usual Component, Composite and S-video inputs. There is also a useful PC input.

The 3D comb filter has been designed to separate brightness and colour signals more effectively to eliminate cross-colour, cross-luminance and dot-crawl distortion. By separating the colour from the black-and-white information, the technology aims to remove both horizontally and vertically hanging dots, as well as dot crawl.

Philips' 'Incredible Surround' is an audio technology designed to magnify the sound field to create a more immersive audio experience. The technology mixes sounds from left and right expanding the virtual distance between the two speakers. The aim is to enhance the stereo effect, creating a more natural sound.


Black levels on the 42PFP5532 are excellent, not to the extent that they will trouble the benchmark 'Kuro' range from Pioneer, but good enough to compare favourably with more expensive units from the likes of Panasonic and Samsung. Graduation (and resulting shadow detailing) across darker scenes belies the status of the 42PFP5532 as a budget screen.

High Definition sources benefit considerably from the optimizing Pixel Plus HD engine. Pictures are clean and sharp while displaying incredible amounts of detail.

Inevitably, Standard Definition (SD) performance, especially from Freeview, displays the tell tale signs of trying to adapt a lower quality input for an HD ready screen. Although there is a certain amount of on-screen noise, it is never present to the degree that viewing pleasure is compromised.

Colour reproduction on the 42PFP5532D is another highlight. Displaying none of the over-saturation of some flat panels, colour is never less than wholly natural and convincing, especially with tricky skin tones.

With fast action scenes, we can at last recognize that the technology on the Philips 42PFP5532 is a little short of cutting edge. Fast panning can create a juddering effect, and fast moving images can lose a little clarity. Nevertheless, we still consider the 42PFP5532 a competent performer in this respect, with problems we have described being relatively minor.

For all the audio wizardry, sound on the 42PFP5532 is competent rather than outstanding, seeming to benefit little from the 'incredible sound' technology.


An all too often overlooked choice, the Philips 42PFP5532D offers a compelling price/performance combination.

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