The 42PF9966 is a 42-inch flat-panel plasma TV featuring Philips's Ambilight technology. The panel emits colored light from the sides that can change according to the program material onscreen. Ambilight can also be set to maintain a constant color, or it can be turned off. The 42PF9966 is currently available with a retail price of $5,000.
Upside: Ambilight technology could improve your viewing experience, since all but the largest of TVs should have some backlighting to reduce eye fatigue. Philips is also marketing Ambilight technology as an aesthetic benefit, by integrating the TV into home decor. This makes sense with a plasma TV, since it can be wall mounted, and the 42PF9966 can be used as a (very expensive) lamp when the TV isn't on. The panel has a native resolution of 1,024x768, and its connectivity is highlighted by an HDMI jack, for which Philips thoughtfully provides a DVI-to-HDMI adapter.
Downside: Unlike some 2004 plasmas, the 42PF9966 doesn't have a digital-cable-ready CableCard slot or an HDTV tuner, so you'll need a set-top box to receive digital cable or HDTV programming. And even without these features, the 42PF9966 is somewhat expensive for the category, with a retail price of $5,000.
Outlook: It's tough to say how effective the Ambilight feature is without seeing it, but with the heavy marketing Philips has been giving these TVs, you can be sure people will want to check them out. At its price, naturally, the 42PF9966 will appeal most to those willing to pay a premium for aesthetics.