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Philips 37PFL9632D Test Verdict
- Ambilight works well to improve perceived blacks and contrast
- [100Hz Clear LCD] delivers the highest motion resolution measured on an LCD TV to date (but introduces halos around moving objects; see Cons)
- Strong standard-definition performance thanks to some superb video processing
- Very good colour decoding with no significant colour push
- White balance controls available in user menu permits near-D65 greyscale calibration
- Solid (though quirky; see Cons) connectivity with 3 x HDMI 1.3, 1 x USB, etc.
- USB port can be used to view JPEG photos, listen to MP3s, and update the TV firmware
- Swivelling pedestal stand comes pre-attached out-of-the-box for quick setup
- User menu extensive yet reasonably easy to navigate
- Stylish infrared remote control with decent tactile feedback
- [Settings Assistant] can help nontechnical viewers achieve an attractive (though likely inaccurate) picture
- Calibrated black level not as deep as those on Sony and Samsung SPVA panels
- No manual backlight control available in the user menu
- Input lag (100ms slower than a Samsung F96) may impair gaming response, or cause external lip-synch delay
- Converts incoming 1080p signal to 1080i before reconverting it back to 1080p
- Cannot convert video-based 1080i to 1080p without losing resolution
- Exhibits deinterlacing artifacts with 1080p/24 signal
- [HD Natural Motion] and [100Hz LCD TV] introduces deinterlacing artifacts in the form of shimmering halos around moving objects
- Only part of the settings can be saved independently per input
- High-pitched whine during standby (may be specific to my set)
- Weak speakers with poor dynamic range, soundstage and resolution
- Limited off-axis viewing angle
- Connectivity is slightly quirky (no VGA input; digital audio out is coaxial; component audio in is a 3.5mm mini jack socket)
The Philips 37PFL9632D boasts two unique selling points not offered by flat screen TVs of other makes: Ambilight that acts as bias lighting to improve perceived blacks and contrast; and [100Hz Clear LCD] which delivers the most substantial reduction in motion blurring I've seen on an LCD TV so far. If one of these features appeals to you, then a 9632 or 9732 – essentially the same panel as 9632 but with an extra top-side Ambilight – LCD television from Philips should rank first on your shopping list.
That said, the Philips 37PFL9632D is not without its shortcomings... I can similarly think of certain groups of viewers who should think twice before spending their hard-earned cash on this LCD television. Gamers who do not wish to bear an input lag handicap which may affect their performance. PC users who need a VGA input, or desire crisp sharp 1:1 pixel mapping without experiencing screen flicker/ tearing. Videophiles who want to watch movies without being distracted by telecine judder OR deinterlacing/ interpolation artifacts (because of the video processing you can't eliminate one without introducing the other).
Don't get me wrong: the picture quality of the Philips 37PFL9632D is generally very good, with its standard-def performance being particularly outstanding. But versatility is certainly not its strongest suit, given its limitations in gaming response, HTPC usage and 1080p handling.
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