Some flatscreen TVs try to blend into the background, lurking quietly in your lounge ready to spring to entertaining life. Others – like this eye-popping Philips – don’t care for modesty.

There’s no denying that the 32PFL9603D is a real looker, but it’s much more than that if Philips is to be believed: it sports a veritable smorgasbord of processing technologies and picture-enhancement facilities.

‘Perfect Pixel HD’ technology is complemented by Philips’ latest Ambilight Spectra 2 ambient light design. A claimed contrast of 55,000:1, four HDMI inputs and a DLNA PC network connection also contribute to a pretty impressive specification sheet.

Getting it into action, the Philips tells its own story. And it is a long story, so be warned – this is not the most delightful set to use, nor is it the quickest to optimise.

It could have been a three-star verdict

In fact, our first impressions of this set were not great, and at one point it looked like it would limp towards a three-star review.

But after a long, long time spent tweaking the picture settings, the ’PFL9603D began to display a picture to rival even the most stellar of TVs in its class.

Fierce contrast, excellent detail and truly rich and vivid colours all contribute to a stunning picture. Sound quality, too, is well-rounded and above average.

Philips tends to load its TVs with picture processing technologies, so we repeat: spend time experimenting to get the best results. If you do, you’ll find this stylish Philips set to be a match for the class leaders.

Stuff says... 

Philips 32PFL9603D review

This TV takes some tweaking to get it performing well, but once you do, it’s stunning