Philips 8000 (40PFL8605H/12) review: Philips 8000 (40PFL8605H/12)

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Typical Price: £1,100.00
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Great contrast levels; rich, bright colours; good picture-processing features.

The Bad No Freeview HD tuner; poor Internet features; pricey.

The Bottom Line The Philips 40PFL8605H/12 LED TV can produce good 2D pictures, but its 3D performance is relatively poor. It also lacks key features that you'll find on similarly priced rivals, such as a Freeview HD tuner and support for BBC iPlayer.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.5 Overall

The Philips 40PFL8605H/12 is rather an odd fish. On the one hand, it has numerous advanced features, including 3D support, 200Hz motion-processing technology and Philip's own Ambilight system. On the other hand, despite costing about £1,100, it lacks some features that are now standard on cheaper competing sets, such as a Freeview HD tuner and support for BBC iPlayer. The question is, then: can this 40-inch, 1080p LED TV make up for these omissions with its performance?

You beauty

Philips has certainly done a great job with the TV's design. Key to its charm is the transparent panel that sits on top of the glossy black bezel. We particularly like the clear panel's gorgeous, rounded corners. The aluminium control panel that swoops down from the bottom of the screen adds an extra helping of elegance.

Peek around the back of the TV, and you'll find two strips of LED lights running down the sides. They're used in the set's Ambilight Spectra 2 system. This system projects subtle colours onto the wall behind the TV, matching the video that's showing on the screen. Ambilight won't be to everyone's taste, but we really like the effect, as it adds an extra sense of warmth to the material you're viewing.

The line-up of Internet services is quite poor compared to that of similarly priced sets from Sony and LG.

The rear of the TV also houses larger-than-usual, 20W speakers. These really help to beef up the audio, making the 40PFL8605H/12 one of the better-sounding LED TVs on the market.

Rage against the machine

As with most of today's mid-range tellies, this TV supports online video services. Among them are YouTube and Dailymotion, but iPlayer is notable by its absence, and the selection of available services falls far short of what you get on Sony and LG TVs. But the TV does have a full Web browser, so you can view pretty much any website you like. That said, navigation is quite slow and Flash content isn't supported.

This telly can play DivX, Xvid and MKV files either via its USB port or over a network, using its Ethernet socket. The playback quality is generally good, although we found we couldn't get the set to fast-forward or rewind through videos when they were being streamed across a network, which is pretty damn annoying.

Like many of Philips' recent TVs, this one lacks a Freeview HD tuner. If you've already got access to high-definition content from the likes of Sky or Virgin, this won't be much of an issue, but it's a feature that's pretty much standard on similarly priced sets from competitors, so it's odd that Philips is taking so long to catch up in this regard.

Another issue is the menu system. Instead of standard pop-up menus, most of the TV's features are accessed via a home screen, which is needlessly complicated. Ironically, the company has also simplified the remote control to such a degree that it's actually annoying to use. Straightforward actions that are one button press away on other sets, such as calling up the electronic programme guide, require two or more button pushes.

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