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Philips 32PF9731D review

Philips comes good with a pricey but class-leading HD set that’s sure to win over geeks and technophobes alike

It’s more expensive than its most obvious rivals, so this Philips’ 32PF9731D really needed to go some if it was going to earn our favour. Indeed, from the price tag alone we’d pretty much have to want to elope with it. And do you know what? We fell hopelessly in love.

Starting at the outside working in, we begin with the Dutch manufacturer’s Ambilight 2 technology. This clever system provides a softly lit backdrop to your TV picture, resulting in a less eye-straining viewing experience and – to our eyes – an improved picture.

Slicker than the average

The cabinet is mighty handsome, but you’ll have to have a pretty big room as its comparative bulk does make this set something of a statement. Slicker still is the user-friendly menu, which will make newbies to the whole ‘digital thing’ feel instantly at home.

More good news comes in the form of the Settings Assistant, which holds your hand through the murky waters of the picture and sound calibration process. Hopefully it will also mean fewer people will be tempted to stick with the default ‘surface of the sun’ shop-floor setting that we abhor.

For those a little more at home in the digital environment, connections are well catered for with two HDMI-ports and a host of inputs. There’s even an Ethernet port so you can network your TV with your PC for streaming video files.

A great all-rounder

Once set up, the Philips set delivers an outstanding picture. Whether you demo off-air broadcasts, DVD video or HD material, the results are consistently superb.

Watch the BBC’s Planet Earth in hi-def, for example, and you’ll get to see all those details of the Grand Canyon’s rock formations that you never new existed – just don’t watch anything too gory or you could end up shivering in the corner of The Priory.

Helped by Philips’ improved version of its Pixel Plus 3 HD, depth is astounding and movement is handled smoothly. Contrast is also top-notch. Add great sound delivery and you’ll realise this truly is an excellent TV.

Stuff Says…

Score: 5/5