The 46PFL9706 is not your common or garden flatscreen. It tub-thumps a couple of innovations which are unique to Philips: Ambilight, the brand’s patented mood-lighting system, featured here in two-strip Spectra XL mood guise, and a so-called Moth Eye filter, which borrows from nature to reduce onscreen reflections and create better contrast. Both work well. See all TV reviews.
The Moth Eye treatment consistently delivers deep blacks, but you’ll also need to invest in Philips proprietary cleaning kit to keep it clean of fingerprints. Visit Sony BRAVIA KDL-55HX853 3D LED TV review.
Aesthetically, the 46PFL9706 is Marmite. The brushed aluminium cabinet is decidedly chunky, stretching back 43mm, and has an unfashionably fat bezel. This is down in part to the fact the set uses a full LED backlight array, rather than edge-lighting. Connections include four HDMIs, component, Scart, Ethernet, two USBs (one of which can be used for timeshifting), PC VGA, phono stereo and optical digital, plus a CI slot. Wi-Fi makes it a breeze to get iPlayer. Visit Sony BRAVIA KDL-55HX853 3D LED TV review.
Philips’ Net TV portal is an basic affair, but at least includes BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Acetrax and Vimeo. File playback from USB is more polished, with all key video file types playable. You can't play MKV files on the 46PFL9706 from a NAS though. Plus, the Freeview EPG is rather dull-looking.
Image clarity is extremely high, particularly from HD sources – but you’ll need to spend time tweaking the TV’s menus. Philips picture processing notoriously emphasises edges. Our advice is to take the Sharpness setting to zero and disable Natural Motion for the best results.
The panel’s Clear LCD mode is well suited to fast moving sports, delivering a full 1080 lines of motion resolution. Unfortunately, moody movies reveal limitations with the 46PFL9706’s local dimming system, which often cause brightly lit items to halo unnaturally when caught against a dark background.
The 46PFL9706’s 3D is notable for its brightness and detail; but crosstalk double imaging is apparent. Two pairs of Active Shutter glasses are included in the box. On the plus side, audio quality is outstanding. The 20w sound system, built into the stand itself, creates a loud, well-rounded soundstage.