We can't persuade you to love Ambilight, but if you do like Philips' system for extending the TV experience by shining lights on a wall, you'll be thrilled by the 42-inch 42PFL9703. But can the TV live up to our expectations and become a Crave fave?
Ambilight is hardly new, so what differentiates this set from the ones that have gone before it? For a start, the 9703 is more stylish than every one of the Philips TVs we've seen before. It has funky rounded corners, a cool lip that directs sound out to the front of the screen, and around the back, a three-side Ambilight. Previously, the Ambilight TVs only had glowy bits on the left and right (apart from, which is a different kettle of fish).
Design and flashing lights aside, the 9703 is a well-specified TV. There are four HDMI sockets, which we're always pleased to see on a large-screen TV, and a bunch of other connections, including component, VGA and a pair of Scarts.
Most of the best stuff isn't apparent, however, until you turn the TV on. One of our favourite features is the set-up system. The TV shows two images on screen at once, labelled A and B. You choose the one you like the look of most, and in so doing the TV decides how best to calibrate itself -- just like going to the opticians. It also does the same for sound, asking you to select which makes your ears happiest.
The TV is a full 1080p panel, as you'd expect, meaning your Blu-ray discs and PS3 should look top-notch. Philips is also proud of its 100Hz Perfect Pixel HD Engine, which it claims will reduce motion blur, on-screen noise and all manner of other undesirable nonsense that crops up on TVs.
All-in-all, the 42PFL9703 seems like a very promising TV -- the new Ambilight and funky styling will help sell it to people who want an immersive entertainment experience, as well as those who want a talking point for the corner of their lounge. It'll set you back around £1,600, and there's a 47-inch version, the 47PFL9703, which is £2,000. We'll be testing the 42-incher in full this week, so expect our judgment on important things, such as picture quality, hella soon. –Ian Morri
Update: Read our full