In some respects, the 46PFL9705 could only be a Philips TV. The Dutch company isn’t great-looking sets with integrated Wi-Fi, but it goes its own way where features like its Ambilight are concerned. Most screens at this price and size have a high-definition TV tuner, or two, on board, but the 46PFL9705 goes without – which is a bit baffling.
When it comes to picture adjustability, it’s mind-bogglingly tweakable. Why not have a good old fiddle with the 400Hz Clear Motion sub-menus? Or the numerous other enhancements in the endless on-screen list? It’s a good job the Philips remote is nice to hold, because you might be grasping it for a while.
Once finally set up, it’s probably best not to start your 46PFL9705 experience with TV broadcasts. The Philips’ standard-def-only tuner is coarse, lurid, noisy and edgy, and the screen’s compelling ability with motion doesn’t begin to compensate.
In fact, you might want to steer clear of DVD upscaling for a while, too. Motion, of course, is exemplary, and images are detailed, high-contrast and enjoy a mesmerising Ambilight-assisted depth of field. But there’s more noise in evidence than is really acceptable, and a bit of hesitancy where edge-definition is concerned.
No, it’s far better to start with Blu-ray: it’s bright and detailed, with nicely varied blacks and clean whites. Motion is brilliant, and the smooth edges, convincing textures and beautifully varied colour palette make for gripping viewing. The sense of depth the 9705 offers really wowed us.
Up the ante again with some 3D stuff - Philips includes two pairs of glasses and the external sync-bar in the price - and the 46PFL9705 impresses again.
Review continues after the break...
It seems that Ambilight has just been killing time until 3D’s arrival – at a stroke it counteracts the inherent dimness of 3D pictures and creates an impression of depth that can’t be touched by a single rival here.
It’s not immune to distracting cross-talk, though (where an image meant for the right eye is sent to the left, and vice-versa). This is particularly evident when the screen is showing moving objects in the extreme near field.
In short, then, the Philips 46PFL9705 isn’t much of a TV – but it is a really fine display for your HD and 3D gubbins. It’s also quite nicely balanced and unexpectedly weighty where sound is concerned. But it’s not perfect.