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Philips 42PFL7404 review

A few minor niggles fail to marr what is an impressive LCD TV

Our Verdict

Despite being pared down, by Philips standards, the 42PFL7404 is still a terrific if rather labour intensive television

For

  • Outstanding image quality
  • Reams of fine tuning

Against

  • No Ambilight
  • Limited viewing angle

After producing a stream of extravagantly specified premium TVs, Philips is finally catering for the less well off with the 42PFL7404, and we hope this doesn't mean too many cut corners.

It certainly doesn't look cheap: the glossy black bezel is extremely slender, and is dramatically offset by a transparent cowl curving forward around the TV's extremities. However, there's no sign of Philips' usual Ambilight technology.

The set lacks the extravagant fifth HDMI and Ethernet port of models higher up the range, but most users will likely find the four provided HDMIs and the multimedia-savvy USB port more than adequate.

As per every Philips TV these days, even the relatively affordable ones, the 42PFL7404 is stuffed with picture processing. The 'engine' here is called Pixel Precise HD – a system that's roughly half as powerful as Philips' flagship Perfect Pixel HD engine.

While the former can't handle as many pixels per second as its bigger brother, it still tackles such issues as motion blur, colour saturations, SD upscaling and noise suppression more potently than any other TV at this price range.

Performance

In fact, when fully optimised, the 42PFL7404's images can look sensational. The sharpness with which it presents standard and high definition is a joy to behold, especially as the provided motion processing removes practically all traces of judder and blurring from objects as they traverse the screen.

Colours are phenomenally intense, too, radiating off the screen with such force that we almost suspected they were trying to hide other problems such as a poor black level response, perhaps.

But, actually, the black levels are good by LCD standards, and while its pictures aren't as polished as those of Philips' awesome 9000 series (there's more grain and shimmering around objects with the motion processing engaged), they have nothing to be ashamed of. As long as you are careful with the set's many picture adjustments, that is.

Philips 42pfl7404

If you're too heavy handed with the noise reduction, pictures become soft. Conversely, too much motion processing can produce lots of distracting side-effects. And some of the sharpness tools can lead to graininess if set too high.

It only takes a little initial experimentation and a reasonable level of ongoing commitment to keep things looking tickety boo, though, and your efforts are always handsomely rewarded.

Add to all the picture glories some solid audio that's rather light on bass, and the 42PFL7404 adds up to a really compelling option for anyone whose budget points them towards the sub-£1,000 flatscreen price bracket.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeLCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Digital TunerDVB-T
Number of HDMI Ports4
Number of SCART Interfaces2
Product Family7000
Brand NamePhilips
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle176°
Vertical Viewing Angle176°
Analog TunerPAL, NTSC, SECAM
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)19.90 kg
RMS Output Power20 W
VGAYes
S-VideoYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
ColourGlossy Black
Brightness500 cd/m²
Comb Filter3D Y/C
Sound SystemSurround Sound
Product Series7000
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesAuto Program, Channel Labeling, Teletext, Favorite Channel Selection
ManufacturerPhilips Electronics
Product Model42PFL7404H
Product Name42PFL7404H 42" LCD TV
Manufacturer Part Number42PFL7404H
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.philips.co.uk
Marketing Information

Featuring the stunning pixel precise HD and fantastic invisible sound, enjoy the pleasure of the movies in your living room. This full HD 1080p display combined with a super slim design, ensures you're always part of the action.

Package Contents
  • 42PFL7404H LCD TV
  • Tabletop Swivel Stand
  • Power Cord
  • Quick Start Guide
  • User Manual
  • Warranty Certificate
  • Remote Control
  • Batteries for Remote Control
Response Time3 ms
SpeakersYes
Weight (Approximate)17.10 kg