Philips 47PFL6008 review: Philips 47PFL6008

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Philips 47PFL6008
Three of the four HDMI ports are mounted on a downward-facing rear panel.

Philips tends to use quality material for its TVs' chassis -- as is the case here. The thin, elegant pedestal stand is made from metal rather than plastic, and there's also a brushed metal strip across the lower section of the bezel inset into which is the Philips logo. It all helps to make this telly look like a quality offering.

It's not lacking on the connection front either. The various inputs are split between a downward-facing panel on the rear and a side-mounted panel inset from the left-hand edge of the TV. The rear panel houses three HDMI sockets, with a fourth on the side-mounted panel. The side panel also houses the TV's three USB ports, while the rear panel has an AV mini port for set's Scart adapter, as well as an optical audio output. There are also mini jacks for the composite input mounted on top of the rear panel and facing outwards. Naturally, Wi-Fi and Ethernet are built in.

2D picture quality

When you first switch on the TV, a setup wizard guides you through the process of tuning the channels and connecting to a home network. It then shows you a series of side-by-side image,s asking you to choose which you prefer in order to set up the TV's picture settings. It's a great idea, but unfortunately the results are terrible -- Philips needs to go back to the drawing board with this one.

Philips 47PFL6008
You have to tone down the backlight setting to get the deepest black levels form this model.

With some work, however, you can get pretty good pictures out of this TV. You do have to turn down the backlight setting quite significantly to achieve deeper black levels and cut down on blotchiness from the back light bleeding into the picture. This does dim the image though, leaving pictures looking less vibrant than on rival models and robbing images of shadow detail. Nevertheless, the colour palette when working with HD and SD sources has an impressive purity to it, and avoids overstepping the mark in to gaudiness. HD sources also look incredibly sharp too.

The set uses a 100Hz panel and also employs back light blinking to help further smooth motion -- this is where Philips gets the magical 500Hz figure it quotes in its marketing materials. For an LED model its motion handling is quite good, especially if you add in the natural motion processing at its lowest settings. If you jack it up over the minimum setting, you'll start to see a series of picture glitches, such as flickering around moving objects.

This TV also has Philips Ambilight system on board. It uses two lighting strips rather than the three found on the higher-end models, so if you peer around the back you'll see a row of LEDs down the left and right sides of the TV on the rear, but not across the top.

Ambilight projects pools of coloured light onto the wall behind your TV to complement the pictures being displayed onscreen. You can now even tell the system what colour your wall is, so it can adjust the lighting accordingly. The whole thing might sound like a gimmick, but Ambilight actually works very well when you're watching this TV in the evening, with the subtle lighting around the screen helping to suck you into the image.

The main problem with this set, though, is its picture processing. The Philips picture engine is undoubtedly smart, but it's also quite difficult to get good results from it. Often if you set it up to produce crisp pictures for standard-definition broadcasts, HD feeds will look awful, and vice versa. Rival systems from the likes of Sony and Panasonic do a better job across a range of feeds, and so are much less hassle to use than this Philips system.

3D picture quality

This TV is built around an LG panel, so it uses passive rather than active 3D. As a result, it comes with four pairs of passive 3D glasses and if you need more you can buy them for around £2 each.

Philips 47PFL6008
The passive glasses make 3D viewing on this TV a pleasure.

Passive 3D works by using a polarising filter in front of the screen, which sends alternative lines to the left and right eyes. This does halve the horizontal resolution, but it isn’t all that noticeable from a normal viewing distance. There's also the benefit that passive glasses don’t suffer from flicker and therefore are less tiring on your eyes. They're also lighter and more comfortable to wear.

That's certainly the case here, as the 47PFL6008 produces convincing 3D pictures that are bright and comfortable to watch. There's also a good sense of depth, which makes the 3D effect seem all that more real. You will see some jaggies here and there on angular or circular elements in the picture due to the cut in horizontal resolution, but they're not really that distracting. As with most passive 3D screens, there's virtually no crosstalk visible on this model's 3D pictures either, so overall this is a good set for family 3D viewing.

Audio Quality

Most flatscreen TVs tend to have quite tinny sounding audio, but Philips usually manages to avoid this. That's certainly the case here -- the 47PFL6008's audio has more low-end presence than the vast majority of LED sets that I review. One of the main reasons for this is that Philips has added a mini subwoofer to the rear of the TV, helping it to deliver much more convincing bass. Dialogue sounds very clear and distinct too, but it has to be said that the TV's pseudo-surround modes aren’t much cop, so they're best left turned off.

Philips 47PFL6008
This is another great sounding TV from Philips.

Conclusion

The 47PFL6008 is a handsome looking TV with a number of strengths, including good sound quality and sharp HD pictures. There's plenty of competition at this price point, however, and Philips struggles to keep pace due to its below par smart TV system and difficult-to-use picture processing.

At the end of the day, I can't help feeling the likes of Panasonic's TX-L47ET60B would be a better option for most people, despite the fact that its sound quality isn’t as good as this model's.

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