Philips 32PW9551/12 - Review

F

_Fae_

Guest
Hey,

I've been following the forums for a good while now, ever since I bought a Panasonic PD30 television in February (returned now after having given me a huge headache, I won't try to list the problems, honestly)... ;p

Anyway, I picked the Philips 32PW9551/12 as a replacement, which generated a buzz on many a forum but not so much here... I realise it isn't available in the UK yet but I thought I'd give you a review anyway for those who are interested (I'm from The Netherlands).

So, here goes;

(By the way, I don't have any components yet that has an HDMI out so I can't and won't comment on it yet. If that's all you want to read about you should stop reading! What's the point of feeding upscaled signals into a downscaling display anyway? Reality for us with no HD television here yet and for a good time to come.)

Coming out of the box I noticed it had a huge remote... not very intuitive either, but it does the job and I imagine it's going to be very difficult to, you know, lose it (don't you hate it when someone _who isn't you_ loses it?).

Anyway, carrying on... setting it up I already knew it was "fugly". I mean, the Panny PD30 looked pretty to me but this is just, a grey, unimaginitive blob. Philips can do better so no points for that.

Turning it on, I was happily surprised. I was expecting the factory settings to be a little... off, but it wasn't bad at all. I liked the Panny's Acuity detail enhancer for normal television but Pixel Plus looked better out of the box than Acuity did. The only problem I have had with Pixel Plus so far is that faces can smear a little during close ups. I can't really tell if this has to do with the interlaced nature of TV broadcasts or if it just can't handle it since it doesn't break up the screen during movement at all. After some fiddling with the settings, turning the sharpness from max to min already gave a far better result, toned down the brightness etc. and what really springs to mind to describe the image is steady. At times it's like you're looking at a photograph, I generally can't make out any dot-crawl or fine line twitter (if that's what you call it, I think it is.) The colour representation to me is very good, there's no convergence issues, no colour bleeding, very few geometry issues as well. I've also read reports of judder during slow screen pans etc. but at least for normal TV broadcasts there's no judder to be seen. The overall picture quality is great as well, I've had 4:3 CRT's, 16:9 TV's, up to 32in Sony's and the aforementioned Panny and this television honestly wins in every aspect so far. As an aside, the OSD menu works pretty well. It has big letters and laid out fairly simple. Easy to read with both numerical and graphical representation of values for picture settings.

Now then, on to RGB Scart. (Connected with a Panasonic DMR-ES10) Really the same comment as with normal TV broadcasts. Not surprisingly DVD's of course have better picture quality than normal television and it shows. I can't really find any negative properties with the RGB Scart connection picture quality and I think that's a positive aspect in itself. Playing content over RGB allows you to keep the Pixel Plus processing on and it delivers what it promises. I haven't watched a lot through RGB though, I bought it primarily for the component inputs so that's what I looked at the most, but before I delve into that, let's get the other Scart connection running.

This set has two Scart connections, only one of which accepts RGB. The other accepts S-Video and composite. Bad choice? I don't know, I connected my decoder for digital TV broadcasts to the second scart with a composite connection (Can only pick RGB or composite) and it's giving excellent results. All that is true for the normal TV broadcasts is true for the digital ones and more. On all the other sets I've used the digital signal looked better than analog but now I really feel as though it's DVD quality. I can't say it better than "steady as a rock". Composite video probably introduces some faults in the picture but I honestly can't make them out.

Alright then, the component connection. One word, gobsmacked! :smashin: always wanted to use that word! It just looks so amazingly clean. I know DVD's give you some picture noise, especially in the background but the set seems to reduce it. I don't really know if that's possible or if all the other sets just show it more, but, it gives an amazing result on the Philips. It just... works. So amazingly well in fact that while watching DVD's I sometimes felt my mouth hanging open. I'm sure it wasn't a pretty sight, but, who cares, right? The component input disables the digital picture enhancing options so I can't really tell what it does to the signal. Turns off Pixel Plus? I don't know and frankly, I don't care. It looks great and that's all there is to it for me. Now I know it accepts 480p and 576p, even though I wasn't particularly looking forward to it, I had to test it. I never really liked Pal progressive scan, 50hz for me is almost painful and it's no different here. Low frequency PC monitors hurt my eyes as well and I can't live with anything below 80hz there either. The picture doesn't look very different to me, I know in theory it increases the resolution on movement but I prefer 100hz interlaced pictures (I know, heresy!!). I think this explains the judder that has been reported as well. I think people have never seen 50hz progressive signals on a large screen and percieve the jerkiness inherent to progressive signals as judder on a CRT (as opposed to interlaced haze). I haven't tested 480p signals yet but I imagine it would be no different. I actually find NTSC's 60hz a lot more likeable for progressive signals. The TV also has a "double lines" mode built in that you can enable to deinterlace the signal. It just does a simple bob deinterlace, so, not recommended at all. I don't know why they put it there in the first place.

For closers, I have a few observations. First, the set comes with Pixel Plus image enhancement which interpolates extra lines from the available signal. It does all kinds of good things and according to the manual you can _turn it off_ and just use 100hz digital scan. Also, it has a demo mode that shows one side without PP and the other side with PP. Turning this on clearly shows the benefits of PP, however, I found something odd about the whole thing. I noticed or, failed to notice, a difference in picture quality between Pixel Plus and 100hz Dig. scan. It's pretty subjective of course, but I noticed that when Pixel Plus was _off_ and I turned on the demo, the side of the screen that supposedly showed 100hz dig. scan looks much worse than the quality with 100hz dig. scan actually is. This of course leads me to believe the set degrades the picture quality when the demo is on to try and make Pixel Plus look better. All in all not very important, but, well, odd. You could argue it's false advertising but, meh. What is much more deplorable to me is the shady language used in the manual for the HD prepared logo. It states the HD Prepared logo is a carefully guarded standard set by the EICTA which simply isn't true. The set is able to resolve an incoming 1080i or 720p signal and scale it to an SD screen. If it uses Pixel Plus processing for the HD signals at all is unclear to me and I'm unable to test it right now. I have read good reports about it's HD display quality and I'll undoubtedly see it in the future, but I can't right now. For those interested I can try to translate a review or two about this television that does delve into the whole HD thing though.

Final remarks... This set cost me 442 GBP (converted on xe.com) which is not a lot of money to pay for a television with this kind of picture quality. I bought it to watch DVD's and probably a PS3 in the future. It gives me a lot of flexibility and functions as a great stop-gap, like the English language so eloquently puts it. So far, this television is selling very well over here and maybe it will move manufacturers to make more HD Prepared or HD Ready CRT's, I know they can do it and it has to be economically viable for the European market, what are they waiting for? :lease:

I can't take pictures, but if anyone wants more textual info, just ask!

My verdict (Home Cinema Choice rip-off!)

Style : 2/5
Ease of use : 4/5
Featues : 5/5
Picture : 5/5
Sound : 4/5
Value : 5/5
Overall : 5/5 :clap:
 

big_jon_G

Standard Member
Thanks for the review Fae. I have checked other forums where this has been talked about including Spain, Germany, and here in Greece. While not HD Ready, it is one of the few viable options left for CRT buyers out there. Frankly I think you hit the nail on the head in that this TV is a perfect stop gap until something better comes along, especially for those that will not be getting HDTV right now and want excellent picture quality for their SD broadcasts and DVD playback.

I believe in another thread I read that the UK will get some Philips CRTs later this year, possibly HD Ready/Prepared? Reviews like yours certainly help them too.

Jon
 
S

schriss

Guest
I plan to buy this set in December. All I have read about it was good.
My brother once went shopping and had a chance to see tens of HD TV sets at once, including this one and he said this one rocked, only lost to plasma which had better colours.
Anyway, this TV is HD Prepared probably because you can't really count pixels on CRT, BUT people made closeup pictures of the screen and tried to count anyway :D I remember the result was not full 720 lines, but ~700, maybe that's why its Prepared, not "Ready".
People tested this set with Xbox360 in 720p mode and also in 1080i mode and reported that you CAN see the difference between 720p and 1080i, so this TV must have nice resolution anyway, otherwise I guess you wouldn't see difference.
Every post I read on "Philips 32PW9551 + Xbox360 in HD" was in short: "AWESOME", "ROCKS", "BEST PICTURE EVER", "BEATS EVERY LCD/PLASMA" etc. you get the idea.

Some advide it's easy to open (no stickers voiding warranty) and disconnect internal (weak) speakers and connect external more powerful ones - result is said to be excellent.

I think you can check Firmware version and other things by pressing 123654 on remote.

Service menu, geometry settings:
http://img153.imageshack.us/my.php?image=geometriakh2.jpg
 

riker71

Standard Member
I think this model would sell quite well but I suppose the question is whether Philips will release it over here, you would hope so, especially as samsung seem to have a lot of buyers of their HD Ready CRT desoite the big problems associated with their models. Philips are based in Netherlands so its normal they release it on "home territory" first. The more I research, the less I want LCD or even Plasma. I dont mind about having a TV that is 1-2 foot deep if the pic quality is good on all sources and reliable.
 
S

schriss

Guest
I think this model would sell quite well but I suppose the question is whether Philips will release it over here, you would hope so, especially as samsung seem to have a lot of buyers of their HD Ready CRT desoite the big problems associated with their models. Philips are based in Netherlands so its normal they release it on "home territory" first. The more I research, the less I want LCD or even Plasma. I dont mind about having a TV that is 1-2 foot deep if the pic quality is good on all sources and reliable.

LCD technology never was good enough for me, still using 19" Brilliance as my monitor (capable of 1920x1080 resolution and higher). Plasma too pricey. Will wait for new stuff like that OLED that Samsung showed, 0.01ms seems nice, only problem it's only 262K colors right now. Other stuff that is going to hit stores in few months is "laser" TV, no idea how it works/compares.

I'm going to get this Philips TV and hope it will serve me in next 5-10 years.
 
S

schriss

Guest
Google for that Samsung geometry problems before you decide to get it. There is a reason why Philips does not have such short tube.
 
S

schriss

Guest
I'm buying this Philips in 1-2 months max, will take pictures and try to record a video (640x480 30fps Camera)
 
S

schriss

Guest
Poland, and there in plenty of stores to choose from when looking for this TV set. Price is 381 pounds.
 

philaitman

Novice Member
From the horses mouth.
Thank you for your recent e-mail.

With regards to your query we can advise that there are no plans to release this TV in the UK.

TV has been released in France and Holland but no plans for UK release yet.


We trust that the information provided will be of assistance.

:thumbsdow

Looks like we won't be seeing this one over here.
 
D

del8

Guest
Hi

I got mine a month ago and now it has started to make a high-pitch noise (well within hearing range and very annoying)

The noise comes and goes (over time) and for some reason it disappears if the screen/picture is mostly white :confused:

As the problem comes and goes I'm not sure if I want to return it for repair. I guess this is not particular to this model. Does anyone know what causes it ?
(especially as it disappears with white colors...)

Apart from the noise I really like it :)

PS: One thing that is not in the brochure: When using the HDMI interface the image enhancing features are bypassed (OK for DVD's, but not so good for watching tv-recordings from my HDD recorder)


PPS: It has also been released in Norway
 

freak1942

Standard Member
This PHILIPS television 32PW9551 is now Euro 629 in the Netherlands at a big shop-store.
Euro 100 down within two month.

Regards
freak1942
 
S

schriss

Guest
I have just bought it :D
When you switch between Pixel Plus and Digital Scan, notice that menu changes it's size, this means screen resolution changes. This suggests that Pixel Plus displays the picture in higher resolution. Both options require different Sharpness settings to display almost identical picture.
Personally I chose Pixel Plus, adjusted sharpness and I'm happy with results.
I have then connected my DVD via Component and was switching between RGB Euro and Component - couldn't see the difference other than the fact that Component means 50Hz.
I will try the same comparison using some reference video files showing test picture, maybe I will notice the difference then. Until then I prefer RGB Euro in case of my DVD player.
For Digital TV I use HDMI as it looks very good. Couldn't see the difference between Component and HDMI but didn't test it on static screens, it was during a movie.
 

Goggleyes

Standard Member
Hi there,

I'm desperate for a replacement for my Philips 32PW9509 bought just over 2 years ago. A great set, not perfect, but IMHO infinitely better than any 32" panel I've seen working with a non hi-def signal.

Lightning caused the rather premature demise of my original set, so I'm quite prepared to invest in a similar model. Not sure I'll be able to stretch to the additional cost of a surge protector though - I jest.:suicide:

Reading this thread the 32PW9551/12 seems to fit the bill perfectly. Strange that Pixel Plus 2 is not being offered on the 9551 as it was on the 9509, but I must admit to always preferring Movie Mode which by all accounts was Pixel Plus 1.5 - I assume this is what's being provided on the 9551.

I'm thinking of getting a set shipped over from France, can anybody think of a problem with this ?

Am I right in thinking that modern sets are compatible across all mains voltages and broadcast standards in Europe ?

Thanks
 
L

lazarusbf

Guest
Hello
i've also bought this tv a month ago and now i'd like to adjust the geometry with the (hidden) service menu.
i've got that grid alignment picture (on a dvd) for the settings but i can't find explanations for all those options
after googling this, i only find topics/forums in dutch, can someone help in english maybe please ?

i'd really be grateful if someone posted a link or a summary explaining all options from the service menu (as for geometry alignment, i can only find one which moves the bottom half of the grid from up to down but nothing for the other half or the sides)

thank you

PS this tv works superbly with the Xbox360 on YUV ! :clap:
 

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