PFL5706/F7 Philips review: PFL5706/F7 Philips

Philips' Settings Assistant shows you a few images and asks you to choose between them. It can be used for very basic settings if you don't have much time, but there are better ways to set up your TV by eye .

No picture controls are available with MediaConnect or any of the streaming services we tried, so when viewing those sources you're stuck with what appears to be the default picture--happily there's no dejudder on that setting.


Picture settings are few and far between, with no advanced options.

Connectivity
HDMI inputs 3 back, 1 side Component video inputs 1 back
Composite video input(s) 1 back VGA-style PC input(s) 1 side
USB port 1 side Ethernet (LAN) port Yes

The Philips PFL5706/F7 isn't missing any major connection types: it has as many HDMI inputs as the best of the competition, and the standard number of analog connections. The downward-facing HDMI jacks were difficult to reach, however, and thicker cables required too much bending.


Not much is missing from the PFL5706/F7's back and side panels.

Performance
Although it's adequate for casual viewing, the Philips PFL5706/F7 won't impress careful watchers with its image quality. The biggest issue is color accuracy, a problem that could have been easily rectified with a better selection of settings or better default presets--options that many similarly priced LCDs do include. Its best feature is a matte screen, which helps reduce reflections in bright rooms, and its picture uniformity is average.

Philips' Cinema picture preset came closest to producing an accurate picture, and we couldn't do much to adjust it during calibration. We disabled Active Control, including the light sensor, tweaked black and white levels, dialed down color---and that's about it. As you can see from the results below, just about every color characteristic could use significant improvement, but that's just not possible given Philips' sparse controls.

For image quality tests we used "Hereafter" on Blu-ray and compared the Philips with the following TVs. Many are more expensive, and only one is a fellow non-LED, but they're the closest comparison models we had on hand at the time of testing.

Comparison models (details)
Samsung LN46C630 46-inch LCD
Panasonic TC-L42E30 42-inch LED-based LCD
Sony KDL-46EX720 46-inch LED-based LCD
LG 47LW5600 (color reference) 46-inch LED-based LCD

Black level: The PFL5706D delivered the second-worst absolute level of black among the TVs in our lineup, as only the Panasonic's black appeared brighter. We could see the difference most clearly in dark scenes like the nighttime cityscape in chapter 2, where the shadows of the buildings and the letterbox bars were relatively bright and less realistic.

Shadow detail was fine; in chapter 2, areas like the underside of the building (9:28) and the shadowed faces of the guests appeared with nearly as much detail as on the LG and Sony, and with significantly more than on the Samsung.

Color accuracy: The Philips was the worst in our lineup in this department, primarily because of its poor color decoding and grayscale. Its decoder emphasized red over green and blue, and as a result skin tones, such as in the face of Marie in chapter 10, appeared ruddy and almost sunburned. Other colors appeared oversaturated as well at times, even though we turned down the color control significantly during calibration.

Meanwhile the set's grayscale also under-represented green, making white areas like the walls of the agency appear too bluish. We also noticed that shadows and black areas appeared quite blue, an issue accentuated by the lighter black levels.

Video processing: The Philips didn't fare well in this category either. Unlike the other 120Hz TVs in our lineup, it failed to properly reproduce the cadence of 1080p/24 in our "I Am Legend" test. Instead of a relatively smooth (but not too smooth!) pan over the aircraft carrier, we saw the characteristic hitching motion of 3:2 pulldown.

Speaking of smooth, the two dejudder settings, labeled Minimum and Maximum in the Digital Natural Motion menu, delivered the characteristic smooth motion that as always looked artificial to our eyes. In either setting we also noticed that artifacts, for example halos (around the secretary's body at 1:29:54) and breakup of fast-moving objects (the letter that's flipped into the bin at 1:36:39), appeared more frequently than on the other dejudder-equipped sets aside from the LG.

Motion resolution was typical for an 120Hz LCD in either DNM setting. With dejudder disabled, despite the lower motion-resolution measurement, we couldn't discern any difference or extra blurring in program material.

Unlike most other TVs we've tested, the PFL5706 failed our 1080i deinterlacing test, so you may see some minor artifacts in 1080i film-based material.

Uniformity: Our PFL5706 review sample was in the middle of the pack here. A couple of brighter areas interrupted its screen during dark scenes, specifically in the upper corners and along the right side. It still outdid the edge-lit Sony and Panasonic in this area, but the screens of the Samsung and LG were more uniform in darkness. Bright-screen uniformity was fine.

From off-angle the Philips' dark areas became washed out and discolored more quickly (at lower angles) than the Samsung, but maintained fidelity better than the others. In night scenes it fared worse than the LG and the Panasonic.

Bright lighting: Like the matte-screened LN630, EX720, and LG, the matte-screened PFL5706 did a better job of reducing glare from reflections than the glossy-screened Panasonic. It also preserved contrast (black level) at least as well as the other LCDs.

PC: The Philips' image via VGA looked soft, with fuzzy details and some edge enhancement. In the DisplayMate test the TV couldn't resolve the full resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels, although it did accept the signal.

Power consumption: The Philips 40PFL5706/F7 is one of the least efficient non-plasma TVs we've tested in the last couple of years. It uses more power than many larger non-LED LCDs, and significantly more watts per square inch than smaller ones. Of course it gets trounced in this category by LED models. Note that, as do many TVs, this Philips comes with its ambient light sensor engaged by default; we disable it, as always, for our readings.

Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.0181 Average
Avg. gamma 2.1177 Good
Near-black x/y (5%) 0.2911/0.2891 Poor
Dark gray x/y (20%) 0.3172/0.3086 Poor
Bright gray x/y (70%) 0.3158/0.3145 Poor
Before avg. color temp. 6720 Poor
After avg. color temp. 6428 Good
Red lum. error (de94_L) 3.6024 Poor
Green lum. error (de94_L) 5.2973 Poor
Blue lum. error (de94_L) 4.1702 Poor
Cyan hue x/y 0.2113/0.3187 Poor
Magenta hue x/y 0.3407/0.1606 Poor
Yellow hue x/y 0.433/0.4793 Poor
1080p/24 cadence (IAL) Fail Poor
1080i Deinterlacing (film) Fail Poor
Motion resolution (max) 600 Average
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 400 Poor
PC input resolution (VGA) 1,920x1,080 Poor

Juice box
Philips 40PFL5706 Picture settings
Default Calibrated Power save
Picture on (watts) 137.22 158.39 N/A
Picture on (watts/sq. inch) 0.2 0.23 N/A
Standby (watts) 0.063 0.063 N/A
Cost per year $30.13 $34.77 N/A
Score (considering size) Poor
Score (overall) Average

Philips 40PFL5706/F7 CNET review calibration results

(Read more about how we test TVs.)

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Where to Buy

Philips 55PFL5706/F7

Part Number: 55PFL5706/F7 Released: Jul. 1, 2011

MSRP: $1,199.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jul. 1, 2011
  • Enhanced Refresh Rate 60 Hz
  • Display Format 1080p (FullHD)
  • Diagonal Size 55 in
  • Type LCD TV
About The Author

Section Editor David Katzmaier has reviewed TVs at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com.