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37PF9986 - my review

Discussion in 'LCD & LED LCD TVs' started by Alan D, Nov 7, 2004.

  1. Alan D

    Alan D
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    I've had the Philips 37PF9986 for a week now and generally this seems an excellent TV.
    First the best points.
    The Picture: strikingly clear, colours stable, no visible smearing or lag with good sources. Black levels are fairly good (at least as good as LCD can be at the moment). On brighter material the screen really comes alive and is vibrant. Pixel Plus 2 is generally very good at normal viewing distances (I am only just over 9ft/2.6m from the screen - which is pretty much minimum accepted distance) - it does add something of a "video" feel to material from any source, so for video sourced material and even some film sourced material it can look amazingly clear. For true a "filmic" look, it is best to select the "Progressive Scan" setting. Active Control generally does a good job at adjusting picture parameters to suit your viewing conditions (it increases picture contrast etc when you are watching in a brighter room for example). I have generally left Active Control on maximum, as it seems to give the best results. Rapid motion appears to be handled well - (e.g. Match of the Day was very good tonight both via Sky and analogue - although I do have excellent analogue reception which helps).
    I haven't really given the sound on this TV a good testing yet as I mostly use a separate AV amplifier, but I did try the "Virtual Dolby" setting and this is quite effective (if something of a gimmick). I ordered the table top stand (or "pedestal") and the one supplied is the "swivel" type in silver-grey metal and a large flat glass base, which I have found very useful when attaching cables round the back (I'm not sure if they came with a "swivel" stand originally, but it is a definite bonus). I should say that the exact model number I have is 37PF9986/12 - I believe earlier models were 37PF9986/00 (?), I assume this indicates a slight update. A dedicated set of component inputs would be nice, although I should mention that I DID succeed in getting a 576p image via the component-vga-dvi adapters!! The picture was slightly offset to one side, but otherwise fine. (Note:I have only just taken delivery of a DVI equipped DVD player, and apart from a quick try, I haven't had time to explore the various picture settings. I'll report back on that another time). I should say that the picture via RGB Scart is generally excellent BTW.
    Now onto the less good points - the much vaunted Ambilight. It does cast coloured lights onto the wall behind the set - these appear to be fluorescent(?) - and as such they buzz - not a loud buzz, but a noticeable high "tizz", which varies with the intensity of the light. Is this a common problem? Any comments from owners of this and the 32" or 42" version? One of the reasons I wanted an LCD TV was to enjoy the "silence" of their operation - so this is a slight disappointment - so I have been leaving it switched off for most of the time, and using my own low-level ambient room light.
    My biggest gripe - and this is really inexcusable, is the awkward placement of the Scart sockets on the back - for such a large TV the 2 RGB Scarts are too close together, and it is virtually impossible to get two decent quality Scarts into the sockets side by side (certainly the usual "angled" variety - I have had to go out and buy slimline versions, which has added to my expenditure). Also the metal bar at the back of the set makes it difficult to place the cables without virtually bending them double. It has been a frustating and fiddly exercise plugging things in - surely this could be easily avoided with a little more thought at the design stage?
    One other very minor gripe (which I think has been noted elsewhere on the forum) is the lack of "volume indicator" on screen when raising or lowering the volume. It's surprisingly annoying not knowing where you are on the scale of volume, especially, as in this case that it seems to increase/decrease in very small steps - again surely something that could easily be improved. The only way to see the Volume setting is to go into the Sound settings menu, which is a bit of a faff when you just want to change the level.
    All in all a very good TV, it certainly has a touch of the "wow factor" when fed good source material - although physically quite "wide" - as the grey surround, with built-in speakers takes up a lot of space. This 37 inch model is 1125mm wide.
    Additional info:
    It comes with a good, weighty remote.
    Overscan appears minimal (using THX optimizer as a guide)
    No dead pixels (none that I've noticed anyway)
    Comes with basic printed manual and a fuller manual on CD-ROM
    Was supplied with a (3 female)phono to VGA cable plus a VGA to DVI adapter
     
  2. neiljones

    neiljones
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    I have had my set for two weeks. It has the 12 prefix.
    There is no sound whatsoever from the ambilight. Because I have mounted it on a Vogel tilt and turn bracket, when the set is set on an angle the right hand side is close to the wall but the left side may as well not be there. We have a medium sized lamp with a white shade and when switched off the ambielight bounces off the shade- a small portable white screen would solve the problem.
    I agree the two close scart sockets are difficult to access, and having two expensiver bulky scarts, I am reluctant to replace-if yoyu are starting from scratch there are now good scart sockets with the wires from the middle rather than at one end.
    The picture with scart on Sky, DVD and Video are excellent.
    As I have a very good sound system I am not bothered by the sound, which is no better than my seven year old "incredible sound " set which Philips introduced extolling the virtue of this old TV.
    I had to contact Philips dor the DVI Cable-a socket was included with the set together with an addendum explaining all the DVI settings-but having no equipment with the DVI facility I have not tried this system.
    What kind of DVD has this function-a recorder I presume. I have looked at the rear of many recorders in many shops but yet not seen a DVI connection.

    All the settings are very easy to access and understand and to date the picture is faultless-this set replaced a 36" Pixel Plus Mark 1 which had superb pictures-I am satisfied.
    NJ :clap:
     
  3. Tony B

    Tony B
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    I have had mine for 2 days now and my experience is quite similar - although I have no noise from the Ambilights.

    Watching Bad Company on ITV via Freeview some of the pictures were very impressive, also with this high-def video-like quality.

    So far, I have 2 disappointments:

    1. Black levels seem poor when the room lighting is low - this could perhaps be due to using Active Control - I do not notice the same problem when in natural light.
    2. Smart picture setting - I have defined a "Personal" setting as I do not like the factory defaults - although the setting is saved OK, when I change between sources the set reverts to one of the factory defaults. I have set the same default on each input source btw.

    On another point - I have not yet bought a dedicated DVD player (shock, horror..) currently using my Xbox for DVD playback. Can I expect a significant improvement when using a decent DVD recorder/player?

    TIA

    Tony B
     
  4. jgrg

    jgrg
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    Hi Tony,

    I think this is true of all LCDs. When an LCD pixel is black, it can't actually filter out 100% of the backlight. Your eyes can detect this stray light in the dark, but not when the room is well lit. You can turn down the backlight in a darkened room, but most LCDs actually look better in the light.

    James
     
  5. liteswap

    liteswap
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    Alan D, an interesting and useful review, thanks. However, the volume issue if you're using an AV system is a non-issue, is it not? The SCART issue sounds like a big problem though. If I bought one it could cost me an extra £100 in new leads...
     
  6. Alan D

    Alan D
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    Hi liteswap, glad you found the review useful. I may post some pictures soon of the connections on this set. I just mentioned the volume issue as it will affect those users who don't have separate audio kit. It is only a very minor gripe.
     
  7. martymac

    martymac
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    I am waiting for the delivery of mine today....so I have read all your comments with some interest.
    As always though, the expenditure continues....what would be the perfect DVD player to go along with this TV? Any suggestions would be most welcome. :lease:

    Martymac
     
  8. tobytronic

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    I've had this Tv for 10 days and got a Denon 2910 at the w/end. I tried rgb scart which was good and then got a 40quid dvi cable from maplin made by bandridge for profigold. I then output 576p, 720p, 1080i and all came up on screen with a small black border left and right with 720i.

    I agree with the black not looking so good when viewed in darkness but the picture is still OK but in daylight the set not better just the black appears blacker :rolleyes:

    the dvd was £485 which seemed a fair price but i have to admit some playing around in its menus is needed. I cannot comment on its audio performance yet as i've just sold my old kit and my denon 2805 isn't here yet so its been TV sound only which i think is v.good to say the spkrs are NXT's in fact regrdless it is good.
     
  9. tobytronic

    tobytronic
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    Also, the scart issue doesn't appear to be too bad you just insert them from left to right when looking at the set from behind and its fine. I have a QED sQart and an IXOS ingot scart (both side feeders) and they're fine.
     
  10. martymac

    martymac
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    Cheers Tobytronic,

    so would you suggest using the DVI cable as opposed to Scart for the DVD connection.
    The Denon 2910 seems to be mentioned quite a bit when talking about top of the range DVD players, would you agree?

    Marty
     
  11. Alan D

    Alan D
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    Tobytronic, have you had any problems with the picture being offset to one side when using DVI? I know there is a border round the picture on 720p, but I also have the picture shifted to the right, and slightly down when using 576p and 1080i. There is at least a 5cm black strip to the left of the picture. I am using a Denon 1910 with the Philips 37PF9986.
     
  12. jdl

    jdl
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    You can center the image very easy, with your remote control using the arrows inside the circle (the way you navigate through the menus).
    Very simple. :thumbsup:
     
  13. Alan D

    Alan D
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    Many thanks jdl - you have fixed my problem!
     
  14. gringottsdirect

    gringottsdirect
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    In case you haven't realised yet, it is an option to have a visible volume indicator on screen when raising or lowering the volume.

    Press MENU.
    Then SET-UP.
    GENERAL.
    OSD - Change from MINIMAL to NORMAL.
    Back to TV, then down to EXIT.

    :cool:
     
  15. Eyeball

    Eyeball
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    So did you get the DVI port to work????
     
  16. tobytronic

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    I have the black borders uneven in 1080i but didn't know it could be moved - nice one! havne't noticed it on 576p but haven't been using it on that setting.

    The DVi cable connection i am using has worked fine since i plugged it in. No set up - it just worked great. I may consider a better cable (wireworld) but i'll stay as i am for now. I'm still trying to ratioanlise cabling prior to getting my 2805 amp.
     

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