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Philips Cinema 21:9 Platinum (58PFL9955H) review

Philips second-generation 21:9 TV adds 3D and LED backlighting

Philips cinema 21 9 platinum  58pfl9955h

Philips' high-end screens have long been renowned for their excellent hi-def pictures and the Cinema 21:9 Platinum continues that tradition. Feed it a Blu-ray movie and the TV revels in it. HBO's WWII series, The Pacific, looks simply stunning, with clear, sharp images free from noise, with well-resolved, bright, natural colours and some of the most captivating black levels yet seen from an LCD screen.

The result is a cinematic experience that'll have you engrossed. In particular, the rear-mounted LED system ensures that the light pooling often seen on edge LED models is practically non-existent, so there's little to complain about, even with stern test scenes like white text moving across a black background.

These images are achieved with the TV's Cinema picture preset, which seems pretty spot on (it even deselects Perfect Natural Motion – so you know you're watching your source material at the frame rate it was filmed). Anyone with a predilection for insanely saturated colours and artificial-looking smooth motion can call up the Vivid setting.

The engrossing nature of the Cinema 21:9 Platinum's pictures is increased by two further things – the Ambilight feature and the unique aspect ratio. Ambilight is, undoubtedly, a gimmick designed to help Philips shift some TVs, but it's one that works; the sympathetic lighting really does heighten your sense of immersion.

The same applies to watching widescreen 2.40:1 movies on this cinemascope screen. Using the Cinema 21:9 preset, the black bars disappear, the image fills the screen and everything just seems, well… bigger. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why it's so impressive, but believe us, it is. And purists not sure if they want their full HD sources fiddled with to fit the 2,560 x 1,080-pixel panel can stick with the pixel-matching 'unscaled' option. But where's the fun in that?

The good news continues with 3D. Pop on one of the two pairs of supplied 3D glasses (which aren't the most comfortable or stylish ones around), plug in a 3D deck and dim the lights and you'll be rewarded with one of the most impressive 3D displays around.

The Cinema 21:9 Platinum's blisteringly bright image works to overcome the darkening effect of the 3D specs and pictures are hardly blighted by the current 3D bugbear of crosstalk. The opening sequences of Monster House, where trees in the background often exhibit ghosting on other LCD-based 3DTVs are almost completely crystal clear.

One thing to note about the screen's 3D performance is that it's much better with Ambilight switched off. Even though Philips has adjusted its light emitting technology so that it doesn't cause flicker when the TV is watched with the active shutter glasses, here the effect proves a distraction. 3D requires you to focus on the TV's screen, and nothing else; the soft glowing halo only serves to draw attention to the artifice of the 3D experience.

Freeview pictures are the TV's weak link. With no integrated HD tuner, you're left watching low-res channels on a massive screen and that brings with it a few picture issues. For instance, mosquito noise is visible around the characters in The Sarah Jane Chronicles on BBC One, as well as some rather unsubtle colour banding.

Of course, Freeview was not devised to be watched on supersize TVs, so it's not the Philips' fault, but these defects serve to highlight the Cinema 21:9 Platinum's one major weakness – the lack of a Freeview HD tuner.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-C (MPEG4), DVB-S2, DVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports3
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyCinema
3D Type3D Ready
Brand NamePhilips
Screen Size147.3 cm (58")
Aspect Ratio21:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle176°
Vertical Viewing Angle176°
Memory Card ReaderYes
EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Analog TunerNTSC, PAL, SECAM
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)29 kg
Backlight TechnologyDirect LED
VESA Mount Standard400 x 300
Operating Power Consumption147 W
Standby Power Consumption150 mW
Dynamic Contrast Ratio10,000,000:1
RMS Output Power30 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
HDMI VersionHDMI 1.4
VGAYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand735 mm
Width with Stand1459 mm
Depth with Stand260 mm
Number of Common Interface1
CI+Yes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
3D TechnologyShutter
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
3D Glasses RequiredYes
Enhanced Refresh Rate400 Hz
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD)
Height668 mm
Width1459 mm
Depth71 mm
ColourBlack
Brightness500 cd/m²
Sound SystemSurround Sound
Maximum Resolution2560 x 1080
FeaturesAmbient Lighting, Favorite Channel Selection, Teletext, Auto-off
ManufacturerPhilips Electronics
Product Model58PFL9955H
Product NameCinema 58PFL9955H LED-LCD TV
Product LineCinema
Manufacturer Part Number58PFL9955H/12
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.philips.co.uk
Marketing Information

Be blown away by movies the way they're meant to be seen on the Philips 58PFL9955 LED TV. The ultra-wide TV with Perfect Pixel HD engine and LED Pro matches the 21:9 movie format perfectly and comes to life with immersive Ambilight and 3D.

Response Time500 µs
SpeakersYes
Weight (Approximate)26 kg