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Taming the Philips 32pf9830 - Review

Discussion in 'LCD & LED LCD TVs' started by cosmicblue, Oct 29, 2005.

  1. cosmicblue

    cosmicblue
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    After 24 hours with a new Philips 32pf9830 'TV of the year', a set that has the capability to deliver a truly appalling picture (to the point that it was close to being sent back) I can now understand why it got the What HiFi-Sound and Vision award.

    The challenge a new buyer faces is that many of the fancy digital picture enhancement features that correspond with the snazzy logos on the front of the TV actually detract from the picture quality (Big time).

    1st off this TV is beautifully made and just oozes quality from the heavy motorised table top stand sitting on a glass base through to the integrated NXT speakers which sound superb even when cranked up to the maximum.

    The 32pf9830 is also BIG, much larger than an average 32" TV, larger than most 37" sets - both in width and height.

    I bought mine from Ebuyer.com (better known for computer components) at a full £500 less than the local Philips shop.

    Assembly, the TV is actually pretty easy to assemble though you do need an extra person to help when you get the Panel out of the box and place on the stand support brackets (it is HEAVY).

    The TV has an auto-set up mode which presents a series of images, slit down the middle and asks you to select your preference for the appearance of the left or right side quality and then automatically changes the myriad of picture settings to suit. The jury is out for me on this one.

    As standard following this procedure the much vaunted Pixel Plus 2 HD (PP2HD) is turned on - this digital signal enhancement actually produces a dreadful picture. PP2HD creates a plasticy, wax like sheen over the entire picture - almost like you are viewing the screen through a sheet of cling film - it is especially noticeable on skin tones, and human hair gets a kind of matted effect. Horrid. Changing this from Pixel Plus 2 HD to the Movie Plus setting helps immensely.

    Next off, in standard settings mode all the blacks or either too black or the blacks are very grainy - pixellated, it seems that the Dynamic Noise Reduction (DNR) needs setting to Minimum, along with the Dynamic Contrast too. Next the Auto Colour Enhancement needs setting to off, and the Active Control function set to Minimum.

    The result is a pretty decent picture from a conventional TV signal and Freeview and a stunning picture from a DVD through a component input. I don't have an upscaling HDMI DVD player (yet) that will be jaw droppingly good I'm sure.

    My wife who has been fiercely critical of the image quality prefers the regular TV channels in 4:3 format - and I'm inclined to agree with her that the image quality is improved still further this way.

    Philips and the numerous reviews have made a big thing out of the Ambilight feature - the two light sources that illuminate the area behind the TV with dynamic shades of colour that are present on the screen at that instant. Initially it just seems like a whizzy toy, however and especially at night this does seem to make the viewing more relaxing - soothing almost.

    You will read reports that this set isn't equipped with a visible TV sound volume indicator - it is. As default the the On Screen Display (OSD) is set to Minimum format, changing this to its extended option also turns on the Volume indicator - looks like a thermometer tube.

    In summary, out of the box this TV's picture quality is absolutely awful - turn off or minimize the fancy picture features and then fine tune the colour/sharpness/contrast to suit your personal taste and you have an amazing picture.
     
  2. peahead

    peahead
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    Your philips lcd picture should improve still over the next week or so as the tv starts to settle in thats what i found anyway.
     
  3. Dazzle

    Dazzle
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    Nice review, but are you sure you've got your TV set up correctly, or it's not faulty, these features like Pixel Plus 2 HD and other features have won awards and been applauded in reviews.

    Maybe when your TV settles down it will show it true colours ;)

    Any chance of you making us jealous by showing a few pics :) lol
     
  4. marinecommando

    marinecommando
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    PP2 HD is also for Hi Def sources - it may be that normal digi tv or dvd are better without it. Mine should be here in a fortnight - i can't wait!!
     
  5. Scoobiesnacks

    Scoobiesnacks
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    I thought this tv is so much more than say a Samsung because of all its digital features. If they don't work why are they putting them on the set?? :thumbsdow
     
  6. marinecommando

    marinecommando
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    he hasnt tested PP2 HD witha hi def source yet!! give it a chance !! :-D
     
  7. richard plumb

    richard plumb
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    don't you then get the channel number permanently lodged in the corner of the screen? Thats what I had on my 30pf9975. blooming annoying so it had to go, along with the volume bar.
     
  8. Scoobiesnacks

    Scoobiesnacks
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    Apparently it stays on screen for 10minutes
     
  9. chambeaj

    chambeaj
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    yes - very frustrating that.

    I cannot think what was going through the heads of the Philips software engineers when they came up with that rediculous combination.
     
  10. fallenangle

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    Very useful thread. Most of that info is not what you could possibly discover unless you actually owned or could play around with the TV for some time.

    Stupid things like the channel id. staying on for 10 mins with some settings - just the sort of thing I want to know. I hate intrusive channel logos and things like menus taking up half the screen.

    BTW How many peronalised user settings can be stored? This is another feature never covered in reviews but when using a variety of different sources I find rather important.
     
  11. chambeaj

    chambeaj
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    Maybe the service menu allows the 10min timeout to be altered to say 10 seconds?
     
  12. cosmicblue

    cosmicblue
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    My guess would be that it is a marketing driven decision for technological leadership based on the principle of 'more being better'.

    Generally speaking that works for us chaps - the more knobs the better!
     
  13. cosmicblue

    cosmicblue
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    Personalised settings = 1, irrespective of the source.

    There are some 'Smart Picture' settings which involve making a single selection that automatically set the myriad of parameters (none of them are acceptable IMHO).
     
  14. cosmicblue

    cosmicblue
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    The sources connection ID does stay on for 10 minutes, but to be fair it is in tiny blue text in the upper left corner and says no more than EXT1 (I have the Humax PVR/Freeview box on this - one of two RGB Scart connections).

    The channel ID, signal type and Dolby details stay up for maybe 5 seconds - not long enough to be annoying.

    A couple of images are attached to show the differences - the picture is 4:3 format, taken without flash so a little blurred.
     
  15. cosmicblue

    cosmicblue
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    The edit failed to add the images....
     
  16. Scoobiesnacks

    Scoobiesnacks
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    I've seen a second one of these Philips tvs today , watching Gladiator from DVD and like cosmicblue I switched every picture enhancement off. The picture seemed ok, and better than the Panny 500 next to it (though I wasn't comparing like for like).

    I couldn't see Standard Broadcast on it though, so I'm still undecided. And I wasn't blown away by the picture either.

    My local House of Fraser reckoned this tv has Wi Fi (saying so on their price display). The chap in the store thought it had as well, even saying it could link to the new Philips HiFi WACS700. I wasn't aware that it has WiFi and I can't see it on the specification on Philips website or the manual. Anyone know if it does?
     
  17. fallenangle

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    Only one set of stored personalised options - not good for what I want from gaming orientated TV. It's one of the main problems I have with my current Sony CRT. Every game on every different console requires resetting everything from brightness to screen position. And, of course, the pre-sets provided are useless.

    Why all TVs can't save as many personalised settings as required I wish I knew. With all that processing power couldn't they put a little aside for memory purposes?
     
  18. cosmicblue

    cosmicblue
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    Scoobiesnacks - there isn't any Wifi in this TV, well at least nothing in the setup menus/manual to indicate it's existence.

    As an aside, we watched the Sunday 30th Nov - ITV1 broadcast of 'Creature Comforts', via Freeview - absolutley gob smacking quality; even my now exceedingly cynical wife was impressed.

    As an update to my original post - setting the Sharpness control to zero, improves the quality of black shades markedly - removing the grainy texture completely.
     

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