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Philips 42PF9831D Review

by Colin Tang 14 Feb 2007


Philips has been a leading innovator of LCD TV technologies over many years. Their research have focused on the problems that have plagued the LCD TVs, mainly in black level reproduction and motion blurring. This, together with the combined efforts of other big players in the LCD arena has established LCD TVs as mainstream flat panels over recent years. The latest HDTV models from Sharp, Sony and Samsung have brought the game to the next level; panels now have native resolution of 1920x1080 and best of all, are ready to accept 1080p material.

The two flagship models from Philips, the PF9831D and the PF9731D only accept up to 1080i material, but the latter has a higher resolution of 1920x1080. We are going to look at the 42-inch PF9831D today, with its exclusive Ambilight Full Surround, and find if there are any compelling reasons to consider this model in the 1080p-ready age.


Discuss this article at our new HDTVTest forum


patrick says: 02/21/2007 - 19:20

is it hdcp compatible?
Colin Tang says: 02/21/2007 - 21:21

Hi, welcome to our site.

Short answer...yes

Long answer...HDCP is a form of copy protection employed on digital interfaces. You can assume that all HDMI will have HDCP included. This may not be the case for other connections, such as DVI.
patrick says: 02/22/2007 - 15:09

Thx for the reply.
Mr. Briley says: 02/22/2007 - 15:24

Great review!!!

You mentioned about some buzzing noise. How loud was it?
And what is this blacker than black clipping you talked about?

Colin Tang says: 02/24/2007 - 07:19

Soz for the late reply.

We didn't have a sensitive sound meter that could pick up the noise :) The buzzing tolerance will depend on individuals I guess. I noticed it particularly on high contrast, bright images. But after a while, our minds filtered the noise and it became less of a problem. I cant hear it on casual viewing. (Think of how often you notice urban noise pollution).

The subject of blacker-than-black clipping is difficult to explain. At the moment, just think of it that the signal from a source (DVD, HD DVD?) is being altered along the video chain, either in the player or the TV. This can affect final picture quality. I may cover this is a future article.

Keep the questions, coming!!!

Chris says: 03/02/2007 - 10:22

I have very much enjoyed reading all the reviews you have done so far - generally much more informative than reviews in magazines. I have been particularly interested in the LCDs since I have been looking at all these models with a view to buying one.
However, I am a little surprised that you chose to review the Philips 42PF9831 rather than 37PF9731 or 42PF9731 both of which have 1080 panels. Even though they can only accept a 1080i input, they would surely have been more directly comparable with the Sharp, Samsung and Sony. Was there any reason for your choice of set to review?
(I must admit to being a little biased, since I have more or less decided to get the 37PF9731 now that Philips seem to have sorted out the backlight problems on that set).
Vincent Teoh says: 03/02/2007 - 15:13


You're right, the pf9831 probably wasn't the wisest choice, but we bought it back for review because we were so impressed by its showroom performance that we wanted to pit it against the 1080p sets and the plasma.
Yannis Vita says: 03/08/2007 - 03:59


Thank you very much for your incredible reviews, they do help us a lot.
DO you have any plans reviewing the other highly regarded Philips HD TV 37PF9731D?
Thanking you in anticipation.

Colin Tang says: 03/08/2007 - 06:37


There are several models we are thinking of, including the phillips PF9731D. We may have a poll about this in the near future.

Thanks for asking.
Chris says: 03/08/2007 - 16:39

I for one would certainly vote for a review of the PF9731D. Which one would you choose though? The 37 has Clear LCD, but the 42 doesn't.
I would also like to see where it would fit in your 1080 shootout, even though I realise it doesn't accept 1080p.
By the way, did you ever get a reply from Philips about the problem with your calibration tests?
Keep up the good work. Great reviews.
Mac says: 03/08/2007 - 23:14

Wow! Great reviews and site. I thought that while the larger PF9730/31s couldn't do 1080p, the 37PF9730 could? That's what the spec said in the shop, the assistant confirmed it, I read the manual and it seemed to say this too. Of course, I'm a complete novice to HDTV so may have mot read something correctly.
Colin Tang says: 03/11/2007 - 11:46


@Chris...No reply yet. ;) We are probably too small to be noticed. You should go for the ClearLCD whenever you can. It does reduce motion blurring to some degree.

@Mac...Can't find pf9730 on the official website. The PF9731D doesnt't seem to be able to accept 1080p signals, therefore not true 1080p in my mind.

nir says: 03/20/2007 - 15:39

what is the diffrence between the 42PF9731D/10 and the 42PF9831D/10 besides the resoultion.

it seemd that the 42PF9731D/10 is better, so how come it is cheaper?


Colin Tang says: 03/22/2007 - 17:51

@ nir

The 42PF9831 is more expensive for the following reasons,

1) Design
2) Better speakers and sound technology
3) 7000:1 rated screen
4) Ambilight Full Surround
5) Clear LCD

Hope this helps.
Jean Pierre Battaille says: 03/28/2007 - 19:46

I am planning to purchase one of this HDTVs that are being reviewed here - preferably Philips, and I have one big unanswered question. With a recent video card supporting DVI/HDCP on a PC, will I be able to read mail on native 1920*1080 resolution on this TV ? On which ones can I do it ?
Thanks for very good reviews !
Jean Pierre Battaille says: 03/28/2007 - 20:02

BTW I am looking at buying the 37PF9731
Colin Tang says: 03/30/2007 - 06:35

@ Jean Thx for posting

We didn't review the 37PF9731, which can display 1920x1080 BUT cannot accept 1080p resolution, and so I don't know.

The latest true 1080p models from Sony, Samsung and Sharp with 1:1 mapping all support the best 1080p resolution if your graphics card is up for it.
Gary Brown says: 04/06/2007 - 04:23

Hi, have a new 42pf9731 on order as a replacement for a faulty pf9967.Philips have offered me to upgrade to the 9831 for another 127 pounds. Iam now confused. Which set do you think I should go for?
Gulfam Rashid says: 04/07/2007 - 10:29

thankyou for your briliant ang informative reviews. I myself have set my eyes on the 32pf9371 allthough I would have prefered the 37pf9371, but unfortunately it would be a bit to big for my room. I have noticed that there is no 32 inch tv that supports full hd whether that be 1080p or 1920 by 1080, is there any reason for this and are there any 32 inch tv with a full hd. thank you
Colin Tang says: 04/09/2007 - 07:07

@ Gary
I'm sorry but I didn't review the 9731 although I made a list of differences with the 9831 several posts above. This is not a recommendation but I would view the Clear LCD and 7000:1 9831 CR very favourably against the benefit of 1080 resolution of the 9731.


It's expensive and difficult to fit 1080 pixels to a 32 inch frame although I remember reading about a latest Hitachi LCD panel doing just that.