Customer Review

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One to watch., 8 May 2013
This review is from: Philips 37PFL4007T/12 4000 Series 37-inch Widescreen Full HD 1080p Smart LED TV with Pixel Plus HD (Electronics)
After my old CRT telly gave up the ghost, I spent a considerable amount of time deciding on a flat screen replacement. My requirements included LED backlighting, smart capabilities, 32-37" screen size, and above all good picture quality, in a 350 - 500 price range. I had no interest in 3D or other gimmicks.

My initial research online, including Which? magazine, all appeared to suggest that the Korean makes, Samsung and LG, were the best (Sony also got good reviews, but cost a lot more) within my price range. My own bias was towards Panasonic, as previous (non-TV) devices I'd owned from this manufacturer had proven very reliable.

Having narrowed down my list of candidates, I wanted to see the picture quality for myself, and then decide largely based on this. Initially I went to Currys, but they don't play live TV pictures, only having a loop of clips, which made every TV look like it had low resolution. I found that John Lewis did play live TV, so I travelled a bit further afield to one of their stores, and this proved far more useful.

The Panasonic picture quality was not atall bad, but a little disappointing next to most of the Samsungs, LGs and Sonys. The Sonys could be ruled out on cost. So it was down to the Samsungs and LGs. I preferred the LG, based on both resolution and a natural colour bias. One of the "rated" Samsungs was quite poor in these respects. Whilst going back and forth between the various TVs to try and pick a winner, a particularly sharp looking picture caught my eye, tucked away in the corner of JL's showroom. It was on a 37" Philips.

After double checking against the other TVs, changing HD channels, trying SD channels, and checking for motion blur, I still thought the Philips had the edge over my previous favourite, the LG, and all the other similarly specced TVs. Also, it was competitively priced with the LG and cheaper than the Samsungs, had amongst the lowest energy use, had flat fitting aerial/HDMI slots (for wall mounting), and looked better with a more subtle casing (than the LGs and especially the Samsungs). So, much to my surprise I decided on the Philips.

Once delivered, I found it simple to set up and fairly intuitive to use (although some of the menus are a bit labyrinthine). Having now owned it for about 6 weeks, I am still very pleased with the picture quality, especially after tweaking the settings to get a slightly more muted colour balance. As reported elsewhere, the EPG (electronic programme guide) is quite poor, whilst the sound quality (like most of the thin LED TVs with small, rear facing speakers) is sometimes a bit lacking. However, for me the EPG is not an issue, as I refer to the one on my PVR or the printed one in my newspaper. If you like anti-social levels of sound, you'll probably need a separate sound bar or other external speakers (with this or pretty much any thin TV).

To connect external devices there are a good number of USB and HDMI slots, and even a Scart one for VCRs. In some countries you can record and pause live TV by inserting a USB stick into one of the slots. But you can't in the UK (something to do with our type of broadcasts). This is not made absolutely crystal clear on Philips' websites, and some reviewers here and elsewhere have been overly critical as a result. I don't think this is fair, as Philips do state that the function doesn't work in all countries.

The smart TV function is easy to access and fairly quick to respond, but the choice of apps is a bit limited. There's your usual BBC iPlayer, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube, some lesser known film rental ones (Acetrax, Viewstar, Blinkbox), a browser, and a few other less desirable apps. The TV needs either a hard wired ethernet connection, or a Philips dongle (PTA01/00). The latter unfortunately has to be bought separately, but that's not unusual at this price point.

The supplied remote control, whilst better looking than the garish Korean or Japanese equivalents, was confusing, with nothing to differentiate the top from the bottom, and very similar looking buttons, making it easy to hit the wrong one. It's also doesn't sit that well in your hand (like all OEM remotes). You can alternatively use your iPhone or iPad as a remote (via MyRemote App) but this needs an internet connection, and is a bit of a gimmick (except when trying to enter text, say into the browser, as the App has a virtual keyboard). So I bought a Philips universal remote control (SRP5004) which is better in every way (and will work with nearly all tellies).

With reference to the MyRemote App, the ads for this telly suggested that you would be able to stream pictures and videos over from your Apple device, and see an EPG on your iPad. In fact you can do neither (the EPG function only works in countries with a certain type of broadcast technology, but not in the UK). You can however, link your You Tube account with the telly, so you can use the easier search capabilities on the computer/tablet but see the video on the larger TV screen.

I had a couple of teething problems, that had to be referred to Philips customer services. I'm pleased to report that they came back to me quickly on both occasions, and with a useful resolution. The first was a problem with the menu showing the Freeview channels shifting programmes around (resolved by a reset). The second involved a problem accessing the BBC Red Button site - when I pressed the red button on the remote, a TV menu came up instead. I was advised to wait about 15-20 seconds for it to load up after changing channels, which mostly resolved the issue.

Overall, though it's not perfect (but that reflects in the price), I'm very pleased with my Philips TV. Most owner feedback I've seen is also very positive, especially about the picture quality. Oddly this seems to contrast with its ratings on online reviews, who I can only assume are looking for different things than the average TV viewer. My conclusion is that it's best to make your own mind up by seeing the TVs in the shop.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 May 2013 14:06:26 BDT
Mr. R. Hine says:
How many hdmi and usb ports dose it have?

In reply to an earlier post on 30 May 2013 19:43:49 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 May 2013 19:45:53 BDT
wessenden says:
On the back it has 3 HDMI & 1 USB. On the side there is a further 1 HDMI & 2 USB. Also has all the usual VGA, aerial, scart, ethernet, headphone, digital audio out, and RCA audio sockets.
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