Philips 32PFL9632D review: Philips 32PFL9632D

CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars Outstanding
Pricing Unavailable

The Good Excellent motion, colour reproduction and noise reduction; brilliantly clear hi-def pictures; good connectivity; easy to use.

The Bad Not a full 1080p screen; pricey.

The Bottom Line Yes, the Philips 32PFL9632D is one of the pricier 32-inch models around, but if you want your hi-def images to look as clean, clear and crisp as possible then this is currently the best TV in its class. The addition of Ambilight and a wide range of connections are just the icing on the cake

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The first model to sport Philips' new Perfect Pixel HD Engine processing system, the Philips 32PFL9632D 32-inch LCD also comes with Ambilight and no fewer than three HDMI inputs, so it's clearly not your average entry-level gogglebox.

The price reflects that: you can find it online for about £750, which seems high for a smallish TV -- so is it worth paying a premium for?

If you're planning on watching plenty of high-definition content or playing HD games then you should love this TV -- hi-def material looks unusually clear and clean here. Watching Pride & Prejudice on Sky Movies HD, we noticed that motion was crisper and smoother than we'd ever seen on an LCD TV, or even on rival models with their own 100Hz modes.

The scene where Keira Knightley sits on a spinning swing as the seasons change would give any LCD a headache -- it features a background rotating at a quick, constant speed -- but with Perfect Pixel HD Engine, the edges are crisp rather than blurry and there's no sign of judder in the motion.

It works reasonably well with standard-definition material too, especially the better quality channels on the built-in Freeview tuner. The snooker coverage on BBC2, for instance, displayed surprisingly crisp onscreen text, as well as accurate colours and an overall clean, noise-free feel. That said, we noticed some artefacts around moving objects during an episode of the highly compressed Midsomer Murders, suggesting that a noisy picture interferes with the 100Hz mode's processing.

One of the good things about Perfect Pixel HD Engine is that it can be adjusted or even turned off if you don't like the way it affects whatever you're viewing. We found the 100Hz Clear LCD didn't take well to Pro Evolution Soccer on the Xbox 360, so we turned it off for the duration of our match -- problem solved.

It's actually a very well designed, user-friendly set too. There are three HDMI inputs, plus PC and component connections, so hooking up hardware is easy and setting up is easier than on most TVs. Two-channel Ambilight is included too and it now uses brighter, more efficient LED lamps.

The most obvious negative point to pick up on here is the 32PFL9632D's 1,366x768-pixel resolution, which means that 1080p formatted hi-def material has to be slightly downscaled, losing some of its detail in the process.

While it's always nice to know you're getting every pixel of the original source material up on your screen, we're not convinced that full 1080p is worthwhile on a 32-inch screen -- it's not big enough to really show off that extra detail. Plus, the Philips is capable of displaying a 1080p source -- and at 24 frames per second, if necessary -- so it's not like you're getting a blank screen with 1080p material.

The TV's audio performance is also rather lacklustre and we found it especially weedy when playing Halo 3, but again this is something you'll find with almost every 32-inch TV on the market.

It isn't the most affordable 32-inch set at around £750 -- you can pick up very decent models for under £500 these days -- but the 32PFL9632D is fitted with some of the most effective picture-processing technology we've seen and it leaves hi-def material looking utterly brilliant.

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Where to Buy

Philips 32PFL9632D

Part Number: CNETPhilips 32PFL9632D

Typical Price: £750.00

See manufacturer website for availability.