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The first thing you'll notice about the Philips 42PFL7432D/37 (after struggling to plug your HDMI cable into a connector that's facing down and nearly impossible to see) is its Ambilight--two LEDs behind the set that bounce light off your back wall to create a visual setting around the screen. You can select the color of this light, or have the TV choose colors to match the on-screen image. Too bad Philips wasn't as clever about the light that comes out of the front of the TV.
Not that the images the 42PFL7432D/37 displayed were universally dreadful. It handled high-def details--from facial stubble to brick walls--as well as any set in our roundup. But its color management fell short of the best-performing sets', and overall the image looked somewhat dark.
These results are disappointing given that the 42PFL7432D/37 is one of only two LCD sets we looked at for our November 2007 issue's HDTV roundup that has a 5ms response time (other sets specified 8ms or higher), and that it had the best out-of-the-box setup wizard (Philips calls it the "settings assistant") in the group. The PC World Test Center didn't use this setup wizard, which shows you split pictures and has you pick which half looks best; instead our lab relied on the same calibration routine it used for all the other sets. But if you're inexperienced with television configuration or you don't want to spend a lot of time on it, this wizard may help you achieve a better image with the 42PFL7432D/37 than you would get from many other HDTVs.
The Ambilight and the excellent setup wizard aren't the only extras. The 42PFL7432D/37 comes with a headphone jack, so you can watch it late at night without waking up your kids (or your parents), and a USB port for connecting a camera (for viewing photos) or an audio player (for listening to music). It doesn't support picture-in-picture capability, though.
Philips's remote is long, thin, and backlit, and it has plenty of empty space around its few buttons. But that ease of use comes at a cost: The remote isn't programmable.
This story, "Philips 42PFL7432D/37" was originally published by PCWorld.
This model has many extras, including Philips's unique Ambilight feature, but its image quality was slightly below average.
- Excellent menu setup
- Cool ambient light feature
- Mediocre picture quality