Philips finally embraces 3D with its flagship 9000 series television but with so many 3D TVs about, does it really stand out? T3 finds out...
While most big AV brands have been selling 3D TVs for months now, joining the 9000 series, the 46PFL9705H marks Philips’ 3D debut.
The company’s excuse is potentially a good one, though: namely that they haven’t wanted to release 3D TVs until they were totally happy with the results.
The only problem with this excuse, of course, is that it puts a major burden of expectation on the 46PFL9705H.
It gets off to a mighty fine start, at least. Its design is a true original, combining a sleek metallic finish with a slender rear end and, most distinctive of all, Philips’ Ambilight technology.
This casts coloured lights from the TV’s edges sympathetic to the colour content of the image being shown.
The 46PFL9705H is prodigiously well connected too, with highlights of four HDMIs, a USB and an Ethernet port.
The latter two jacks can handle all manner of multimedia file formats from USB sticks or networked DLNA PCs, and the Ethernet can take you online with Philips’ NetTV platform. Or you can used the set’s integrated Wi-fi system.
Philips 9000 Series 3D TV: Features and screen specs
Philips 46PFL9705H Specifications:
- Screen: 46-inches
- Resolution: 1920x1080p
- Type: Direct LED
- TV Tuner: Analogue and Freeview digital
- Connections: 4x v1.4 HDMIs, USB, Ethernet, Wi-fi, RF jack, Component, 2X ScartS, SD slot, headphone jack
- Audio: 30 Watt RMS 0
- Dimensions: 1088x671x69mm
NetTV’s biggest attraction is that it lets you surf the Internet at will via a built-in browser, rather than forcing you to stick with a selection of ‘ring-fenced’ content like most online TVs do.
The browser is pretty basic, but the online freedom it affords is still a great addition to the feature list.
The 46PFL9705H’s pictures are driven by direct LED backlighting, complete with local dimming - the premium LCD configuration. The set also benefits from the latest, LED-optimised version of Philips’ exceptionally smart, powerful Perfect Pixel HD video engine.
Philips’ debut 3D TV ships with a ‘3D kit’ included. This comprises two pairs of ugly but comfortable 3D glasses, and an external transmitter.
It’s a pity Philips hasn’t built the transmitter into the TV, but the transmitter is small enough to hide away reasonably easily. The only disappointment with the 46PFL9705H’s specification is its surprising lack of a Freeview HD tuner.
Philips 9000 Series 3D TV: 3D picture quality
The first question that has to be asked about the 46PFL9705’s 3D quality is how much it suffers with crosstalk - AKA double ghosting noise.
This has been the defining issue where 3D picture quality is concerned, since when it crops up badly, it makes 3D unconvincing and tiring to watch. And so far it’s been pretty clear that plasma TVs have suffered much less with crosstalk than LCD ones.
So it’s a big relief that the 46PFL9705H suffers less with crosstalk than any other 3D LCD TV. It crops us less often, and less aggressively. What’s more 3D pictures are brighter, sharper and more vibrant than those of most rivals - especially Panasonic’s otherwise excellent 3D plasmas.
However, even the might of Philips’ picture processing tools can’t suppress crosstalk as successfully as Panasonic’s plasma TVs. So you’re left with a choice between minimal crosstalk on the Panasonic 3D plasmas and a more vibrant, dynamic 3D picture on the Philips.
Philips 9000 Series 3D TV: 2D pictures and audio
The sets 2D performance, meanwhile, is uniformly outstanding, combining superlative colours; remarkable detailing/sharpness; peerless LCD motion handling and standard definition upscaling; and possibly the deepest, most natural black colours yet seen on an LCD TV.
Not that the 46PFL9705H only cares about pictures, either. A system of front-mounted dome tweeters and rear-mounted woofers also produces a soundstage of far more dynamism and power than anything heard from the vast majority of flat TVs.
Overall, while the 46PFL9705H might not remove crosstalk from 3D playback as comprehensively as we’d hoped, it remains the most accomplished LCD-based 3D performer yet.
A fact which joins forces with a huge feature count, gorgeous design, exceptional audio and mesmerising 2D pictures in making it quite simply one of the finest TVs money can buy.
Philips 46PFL9705H Release Date: Out now, find out more from Philips
Philips 46PFL9705H Price: Around £2100 online