Philips 7000 (32PFL7404H/12) review: Philips 7000 (32PFL7404H/12)

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Typical Price: £620.00
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Understated, elegant design; stuffed with features and connections; outstanding picture quality.

The Bad Some settings need to be used with care; really fast motion can cause artefacts; limited viewing angle.

The Bottom Line With Philips' 9000-series TVs causing such a stir, we were concerned that the lower-spec 32PFL7404H/12 would feel disappointingly stripped-down. But, despite being considerably cheaper, it still delivers a real flavour of the picture-processing power that's currently Philips' hallmark

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8.3 Overall

If you've read our reviews of Philips' 9000-series TVs and found yourself wishing you could afford one of them, you'll probably be interested in the £620 Philips 32PFL7404H/12. This 32-inch, 1080p LCD TV offers you at least some of Philips' high-spec picture-processing power and reams of features at a fraction of the cost.

Pretty as a picture
The first thing to say about the 32PFL7404H/12 is that it doesn't have Philips' unique Ambilight technology. But, while we missed the pools of coloured light that come from the sides of other Philips TVs, the lack of Ambilight doesn't stop the 32PFL7404H/12 from being very attractive. In fact, with its strikingly slender, high-gloss bezel and transparent outer frame, it's one of the prettiest 32-inch TVs around.

It's very well connected, too. Four HDMI ports -- three on the rear and one on the side -- establish the set's high-definition ambitions. There's also a PC jack, and a USB port via which you can play a huge variety of multimedia file formats.

Few cut corners
Multimedia fanatics will doubtless rue the lack of an Ethernet port on the 32PFL7404H/12, denying the user the chance to stream files from a PC or access the Internet like you can on Philips' 9000-series models. But, for the average buyer, the missing Ethernet port will probably seem like a pretty reasonable corner to have been cut in Philips' quest to make the 32PFL7404H/12 affordable.

Even without Philips' Ambilight system, the 32PFL7404H/12 is one of the best-looking 32-inch TVs on the market

Precious few corners have been cut elsewhere. For example, despite its 32-inch size, the 32PFL7404H/12 is a 1080p model, and its claimed contrast ratio of 80,000:1 is up there with the very best we've seen from a 32-inch set.

Among its attractions, the 32PFL7404H/12 even manages to offer 100Hz processing. It doesn't have all the picture-processing technologies found on the 9000-series models, though. Instead of Philips' top-of-the-line, remarkably powerful Perfect Pixel HD picture-processing engine, it carries Pixel Precise HD, a slightly stripped-down and less powerful system. It can 'only' handle 250m pixels a second, as opposed to 500m pixels.

Mightily impressive images
Given that the 32PFL7404H/12 is substantially cheaper than the 9000-series 32PFL9604H/12, you can't expect its picture and audio quality to be as good. Camera pans and objects crossing the screen don't look quite as sharp, black levels don't seem as intense and believable, standard-definition pictures aren't quite as detailed, and there are a few more processing side effects (shimmering haloes and occasional flickers, for example), no matter how much time you spend delving into the TV's endless picture menus.

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