Philips 9704: LED Pro TV with Wi-Fi

Philips is trying to conquer the high-end TV market with its new 9704 range, in the form of the 40-inch 40PFL9704 and 46-inch 46PFL9704. £2,500 for a TV, anyone?

Could you ever justify £1,800 for a 40-inch TV? Philips hopes so -- its new 9704 range is chock-full of features designed to win the picture quality awesomeness battle.

We've reviewed plenty of impressive LED TVs, but this is an 'LED Pro' TV. LED TVs have the potential to offer the Holy Grail of high-end TVs -- blacks that actually look black, rather than a dark grey -- and tend to use less power than their ordinary LCD TV counterparts.

LED Pro is Philips' marketing speak for the upgraded version of LED technology. These screens, we're told, feature an increased number of LED segments (224 to be precise), giving the TV greater control over how it distributes light across the screen. Hopefully, this will help put an end to the white halos we've seen from TVs of this type before, but we'll have to wait until our review sample arrives to see what difference this makes in reality.

Other picture-related features include a 200Hz mode to help avoid picture judders during fast football games and something called 'Ambilight Spectra 3'. Ambilight is the Philips technology that either delights or annoys -- different coloured lights are projected on the wall behind the TV that change depending on what is on the screen. The idea is that it reduces eye strain -- we quite like it, but it isn't everyone's cup of tea. This version has three different lights working independently of each other, so you could have a rainbow of colour bursting forth from your living room wall if you're lucky.

One thing we really like the idea of is the integrated 802.11g Wi-Fi, which lets you access Philips' Net TV services , including the ability to watch YouTube videos.

Sound-wise, things look rather promising, with four small speakers providing 2x15W output. Top-end Philips TVs tend to be pretty impressive on the sound front, so we have similarly high hopes for this one too.

Rounding off the spec-fest are five HDMI ports -- one more than we've grown used to seeing on new TVs. That's enough to let you plug in a Blu-ray player, a set-top box and a PlayStation 3 with room for more.

Expect to see a 40-inch version appearing as the 40PFL9704 for £1,800 and a 46-incher popping up as the 46PFL9704 for an eye-watering £2,500. We're told to expect them in shops during December -- we're looking forward to some serious pre-Christmas window shopping.

 

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