As the pioneers of motion technology, we expected the Philips 32PFL7532D to be the very best 100hz model we have reviewed thus far. From a motion standpoint, it certainly delivers. However, its good performance and long list of features are marred by the sub-par connection options which have not been localised to suit the Australian market. This makes it an excellent television that is troublesome to use.
Design and Features
The design is quite attractive and in keeping with the current industry trend with a piano black bezel and stand. The stand comes separately and will need to be assembled, but it's a fairly simple process.
The 32PFL9432D has a native resolution of 1366x768 and can accept video signals up to 1080i resolution.
The long list of features includes Perfect Pixel HD Engine, HD Natural Motion, Dynamic contrast enhancement, Active Control and even a Light Sensor which together can greatly improve image quality in high definition. However, some of these need to be turned off at times as they create more problems than they fix.
The connections at the rear of the television are the real downfall of this unit as they are designed for the European market. The inclusion of two SCART ports instead of the usual component, composite and D-Sub connectors is annoying to say the least -- especially when you consider that most people don't use them.
However, the SCART ports can accept signals in CVBS, RGB and S-Video with the proper adapter, but unfortunately these do not come with the package. The lack of converter cables also meant we were unable to review PC connectivity since there is no D-Sub port on the unit.
Meanwhile, the other rear connections include three HDMI, a combination Component/Composite port while the side connections include Composite, S-Video and USB.
We ran tests in both standard and high definition using movies and games. We found the high definition performance to be much better than standard definition, though viewing DVD content was still quite good.
During the high definition tests with the 100Hz mode switched on, motion was smooth and showed no judder. Even with it switched off it was still quite good, but we found no reason this would be needed. When watching films, the overall effect was noticeable and tended to make images look a little too crisp and therefore unrealistic. However, this is the nature of this type of technology and is common to most units that utilise it.
Standard definition content sent the unit into a spin. The many features designed to make HD content look better tended to make SD content look horrible, with excessive picture noise and myriad discolouration and contrast issues. We found that switching off the Pixel Plus, Active control and Dynamic contrast greatly improved the image. We also reduced the sharpness level to zero and maxed out the contrast. In the end we were able to find a happy medium that was almost as good as the high definition performance, though still slightly lacking in contrast.
On the audio side, the speakers produced excellent mid-tones but the high treble registers where a little truncated and the bass tended to be a little muddy at times. However, the unit was able to produce a high level of volume without distortion despite the maximum volume falling quite short of other units we have reviewed.
The Philips 32PFL9432D/79 is capable of delivering exceptional image quality but requires some finesse to achieve it. The same can also be said for its connection options which, while sufficient, could have been done much better. If you are in the market for something you can just take home and plug in with little effort, this unit may frustrate you.