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Philips 37PFL9632D Test Verdict

by Vincent Teoh
26 January 2008

Philips 37PFL9632D delivers very good picture quality on the whole, but may not appeal to gamers, HTPC users or videophiles.

> Ambilight improves perceived blacks and contrast
> [100Hz Clear LCD] significantly reduces motion blur
> Strong SD performance due to superb video processing

> Calibrated blacks could be better (no manual backlight control)
> Input lag may impair gaming performance or cause lip-synch delay
> Exhibits deinterlacing artifacts with 1080p/24 signal


  • 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.

Qualified Recommendation

3.5 Star Rating: Qualified Recommendation

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