Philips TV division has been through a series of changes recently. It's been partitioned off from the main company and is now operated as a join venture by Philips and Chinese firm TPV Technology. The 47PFL6008 is the latest fruit of this partnership.
Despite being a mid-range TV, it's packed with features including passive 3D support, Philips's Ambilight system and 500Hz motion processing. Its £1,200 asking price means, however, that it has plenty of competition from big-name TV brands like Panasonic, Samsung and Sony.
User interface and EPG
The 47PFL6008 benefits from the redesigned Philips TV interface. It's more straightforward to use, as it's now centred around a scrolling banner of icons that you use to access the TV's main functions, such as the settings menu, AV inputs and the smart TV service.
It looks relatively slick and there are some neat touches, such as the way the TV is able to automatically label HDMI inputs with the names of the kit you've got attached to them. Despite the fact the TV uses a dual-core processor though, the menu system feels a good deal more sluggish than the systems on the latest Samsung and Panasonic TVs, which whizz along speedily in comparison. Navigation of the menu system is on the clunky side, with the result that it takes longer than it should to adjust picture or audio settings.
The EPG is also a mixed bag. The design is pleasant to look at and the layout is unfussy. Programming data is laid out across a traditional horizontal bricks-in-the-wall style grid, and it's pretty easy to jump around channels and shows in the grid via the remote. Actually using the EPG is pretty intrusive though. It lacks the video window that most other manufacturers have now integrated into their EPGs, so when you call it up it stops all audio and video from the channel you were just watching.
It's also worth noting that although the 47PFL6008 has a HD satellite tuner sitting alongside its Freeview HD tuner, it isn’t currently Freesat compatible. As such, it really isn't terribly useful for UK satellite channels, with the EPG not supporting them properly and presenting a jumbled list of channels in no particular order after tuning. Philips says it's in discussion with Freesat, but hasn’t given a timeline or a definite answer as to whether Freesat will be added to the TV.
Digital media and Internet features
Smart TV is the major battle ground in TV land at the moment. Unfortunately, Philips isn't bearing up all that well in this scrap. It's struggled to keep pace, and despite a major redesign its system is still a long way off what you'd find on rival platforms, such as those from Panasonic and Samsung.
The smart TV system is at least easy to use. It presents you with two pages of apps below a video thumbnail window of the chosen AV source. Next to this there's a box that show some suggested online content that you might want to check out.
There are apps for video-on-demand services such as Blinkbox and Acetrax, as well as BBC iPlayer, Viewster and YouTube. A social media app is included too, overlaying Twitter and Facebook feeds on the top of the live TV stream. Naturally the TV also has an app store where you can download a few extra apps, such as Ebay and TomTom HD.
The remote that comes with this set has a full Qwerty keyboard on the rear. It comes in handy when you need to enter addresses in the simple Web browser or login details for the likes of Facebook. That said, the Facebook app is actually disappointingly basic and slighty buggy.
The app store is also barren compared to those found on Samsung and LG TVs. The lineup of available catch-up services is similarly poor, and it doesn't support ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5. Netflix isn't currently available either and neither is Lovefilm. In comparison, all of these are now on Samsung's platform.
The smart TV system also feels very sluggish to use. When you open up the menu it can take several seconds just for the icons to appear on the screen. To speak plainly, if you think you're going to want to use a bunch of online video services, this is not the TV for you.
Philips does have a remote control app available for iOS and Android devices that lets you stream from the TV's tuner to your mobile device. This works well, although the TV only has one tuner so you can only stream the channel the TV is tuned to.
Naturally this model also has digital media playback features and these, thankfully, are pretty impressive. It'll happily play back MKV HD files as well as MP4, Xvid and WMV videos either from USB drives or across a network from DLNA devices like PCs and networked hard drives. The transport controls work well when you're streaming files too, unlike Samsung's current TVs.
Design and connections
Philips has a knack for turning out good looking sets, something that most definitely hasn’t changed with this model. The most striking element of its design is just how narrow the bezel is. In fact, with the TV turned off it looks like there's hardly any bezel at all. The screen surface seems to just extend from edge to edge, with only a thin metal strip running around the outer edge. When you turn it on though, you can see that there's actually a very narrow piano black strip around the screen, but this only measures 11mm, so even when the set is turned on it still looks relatively frameless.