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50-inch Philips 50PF9731D: blinded by the (Ambi)light

50-inch Philips 50PF9731D: blinded by the (Ambi)light

Philips is continuing to develop the Ambilight technology in its plasma and LCD lines. For the uninitiated, the Ambilight system employs a series of backlights installed at the sides of the screen, shining either constant colors (warm white, green, and so forth) or colors that dynamically correspond to the ones being displayed onscreen. The third generation of this technology includes top and bottom backlights in addition to the side-shiners, and it will be rolled out starting with the 50-inch 50PF9731D. If our reviews of previous Ambilight sets such as the Philips 42PF9830A are any indication, the technology could use some improvement from a picky, home-theater point of view. As for non-Ambilight functions, the 50PF9731D promises to include the more well-received Pixel Plus 3HD technology as well as scads of connectivity options, including HDMI, USB, a memory card slot, and an RJ-45 Ethernet jack. To be released in July at $4,000, the 50PF9731D could easily leave you tickled pink--depending on which Ambilight setting you choose.