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76 Philips 42PES0001D ➜ £1,800 approx ➜ www.philips.co.uk

The external media hub connects via a single cable – goodbye clutter!

Home Cinema Choice awards 2009


Reviews 77

Think outside the box Philips has adopted a modular approach for its slimline Essence LCD. Mark Craven cuts the cable

T

he 38mm deep Essence LCD   sees Philips attempt at catching a slice of the skinny TV market. And the brand must   be taking it seriously – it’s even eschewed its unique Ambilight technology. With that USP discarded, the Essence (or the 42PES0001D, to give it its full model number) relies rely on its picture quality, super-slim design and modular build to catch punters’ eyes. That modular approach is two-fold. Firstly, the Essence ships with a boxy, black connectivity hub, which packs the TV tuner, three HDMI inputs, USB, an Ethernetworked multimedia player and other connective goodies. This plugs into the screen via a single cable, which also powers the TV – meaning you can have the Essence wall-mounted with only one wire dangling. Furthering the screen’s visual appeal is the 1/2in thick bezel, which is manna from heaven as far as   I’m concerned: when I watch TV   I don’t want to watch the actual TV. Secondly, the TV’s speaker bar   is completely detachable, so you   can opt to get rid of it you have an external sound system. The supplied wall bracket is well designed, too: if you don’t fasten the bracket to the wall completely level, you can slide the TV round on its fittings until it’s perfectly aligned.

Picture on the wall As with Philip’s other high-end TVs, the Essence utilises its Perfect Pixel HD Engine, 100Hz Clear LCD tech and Perfect Natural Motion tomfoolery to help deliver HD and SD sources that are smoother, cleaner, sharper, more colourful and, dammit, better than anyone else’s. Well that’s the idea...

Baz Luhrmann’s outback epic Australia has a sumptuous AVC 2.40:1 encode which the Essence displays with generally stunning results.  

The rich, earthy hues of war-era Oz are warm and seductive, with edges so sharp

you could skin a kangaroo on them. Black levels are also impressive, though maybe not up to the inky standard exhibited by Philips’   own LED-backlit 42PFL9803H.   The weird thing is, I achieved this   by rummaging around in the Philips’ cavernous picture processing menus and turning pretty much everything   to ‘Off’. Rely too much on Perfect Pixel HD Engine and its stablemates and you can end up with a right hash of an image: for instance, I found the 100Hz mode created a quite artificial-looking picture with objects that didn’t so much move as mysteriously float around. Of course, other picture tweaks, like Noise Reduction, work well – so it really is a case of suck it and see. Just be warned: you could end up sucking for a very long time... Standard-def performance is good enough, with punchy colours and deep blacks, and the speaker bar delivers credible sonics.

➜ Specifications

HD Ready: yes up to x 1080p24 HDMI: yes 3 HDMI inputs Component: yes 1 input PC input: yes D-Sub Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Brightness (claimed): 500cd/m2 Contrast ratio (claimed): 66,000:1 Dimensions: 982(w) x 662.5(h) x 38(d)mm Weight: 16.5kg Features: Two Scarts (both RGB); curved wall bracket included, external multimedia box; DLNAcompliant media player

➜ Tech Labs

AV/CV Product: A Full HD LCD with separate media box Position: Up there with the Aurea II in the Philips screen hierarchy Peers: Hitachi UT42MX70; JVC 42DS9;

A

The Philips claims a dynamic contrast ratio of 66,000:1; our standard testing protocol involves shutting down the dynamic contrast mode, but this relegates contrast to just 400:1, so we don’t advise you actually do this. Colour temp out of the box is 9,148K (Point A); using the adjustment features it’s possible to achieve a near perfect 6,511K Before calibration Colour temperature: 6,573K RGB: 90/99/136 Luminance: 32.30fL Contrast ratio: 444:1 After calibration Colour temperature: 6,511K (user) RGB: 100/100/100 Luminance: 43.29fL Contrast ratio: 404:1

Essentially excellent From an aesthetic point of view,   the Essence is possibly the sweetest screen Philips has yet produced. And, thanks to its unique design and discreet form, it’s dying to be wall-mounted. However, it also comes with a serious price tag and offers involved calibration options – in short, I wouldn’t regard this as a screen for ordinary Johnny Consumer. Audition if you’re man enough

 Verdict Philips 42PES0001  £1,800 Approx  Price check: www.techradar.com/579400 Highs: Excellent form factor and build; involving HD pictures Lows: Not user-friendly; separate media box not for everyone Performance: Design: Features:

Overall: awards 2009 Home Cinema Choice


Philips 42PES0001D LCD TV review