The Good Consumes less energy than any flat-panel TV we've tested; accurate primary colors; de-judder mode smoothes out motion; handsome styling; solid connectivity with four HDMI inputs.
The Bad Produces light black levels; energy-saving mode creates distracting black-level fluctuations; dark areas tend toward blue; de-judder processing introduces artifacts; sub-par off-angle viewing.
The Bottom Line Although it has its share of picture-quality problems, the Eco-friendliness of Philips' 42PFL5603D flat-panel LCD will win the day for consumption-conscious shoppers.
At the Consumer Electronics Show this year we selected the Philips 42PFL5603D as the best product overall because it addressed one big issue with today's flat-panel HDTVs: power consumption. Now that we've tested the "Eco TV," we can confirm that it does indeed use less power than any flat TV to ever grace our labs. The bad news is that despite appealing to our desire to save the planet, reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, or simply save a few bucks on the ol' electric bill, the 42PFL5603D does not appeal to our desire to watch a high-quality home theater image. If your priorities lie less with black-level performance and more with saving black gold, however, the Eco TV's miserly power consumption more than offsets its mediocre picture quality.
There's a lot to like about the external appearance of the Eco TV. Its black frame is the same thickness all around and bordered by a rounded strip of see-through plastic. Otherwise the look is quite minimal, with few logos, LEDs, or other unsightly extras. The matching black stand swivels, and the downward-firing speakers are hidden under the cabinet. Including stand, the set measures about 41.2 inches wide by 28 inches tall by 10.3 inches deep, and weighs 60 pounds, while removing the stand shrinks it to 41.2 by 25.4 by 3.5 inches and 49 pounds.
Philips has always produced funky, if not exactly ergonomically friendly remotes, but the sad little clicker included with this TV represents a new low. Its few buttons aren't well differentiated at all, and the cursor control makes an annoying click when depressed. We're still not fans of the company's menu system, with its less-intuitive navigation and large sections that obscure the screen during adjustment.
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