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HolidayBuyer's Guide
TVs

Philips 40PFL9704: Brushed metal 1080p LCD TV with LED backlighting

If you want a 1080p TV with LED backlighting, amazing sound and more features than you can throw a stick at, may we suggest the Philips 40PFL9704 -- as long as you're loaded

The new Philips 40PFL9704 is a new LED-illuminated LCD TV with all the features you'd expect from a high-end TV. It's also a pretty funky-looking thing, and from the minute we yanked it out of the box, we were impressed. The LED backlight is the more capable, but more expensive, locally dimmable system, which makes this TV a promising choice for home-cinema fans.

We prefer locally dimmable LED illumination because it means you can achieve some very deep black levels on LCD TVs -- almost to the point where they knock your socks off like plasmas do. It's not without its faults, though -- bright objects can get a halo effect around them if they're on dark backgrounds. In fairness, that's a pretty rare problem, and you're unlikely to be bothered by it. We certainly think the occasional halo is better than the bright corners you sometimes find on LED-edgelit TVs.

Because Philips is aiming at the high end, it's thrown every feature you can imagine at this TV. You can watch YouTube videos, or stream media from your DLNA-capable PC via the Net TV function. There's the three-sided Ambilight too, which means that whatever you're watching is subtly mirrored in a LED light show, projected from the back of the TV on to your wall. There are also dozens of picture-processing technologies and the TV can support video inputs from Blu-ray at 1080/24p -- ideal for movie fans.

Philips is one of the few TV manufacturers that tries something different with its TV designs and comes out smelling of roses. This screen looks amazing, with its brushed-metal bezel and glorious matching remote control. We also can't speak highly enough of how Philips handles its sound on these screens. The company uses two rear-mounted woofers, and two front-mounted tweeters, to get the best sound we've heard out of its built-in sound system.

So, with all those glowing words of endorsement, is there anything amiss with this TV? Well, frankly, yes. It costs a mind-blowing £1,800. That's right, a 40-inch TV that costs nearly two grand. We really aren't sure if there's any amount of features that could persuade us to part with that sort of money. But, to make sure, we'll do a full review of this TV and let you know if it's worth the steep price-tag. Keep an eye on the TV reviews section in the next week to find out more.